BASF Plant Science Assigned Patent
BASF Plant Science has been assigned a patent (8,338,661) for transgenic plants with increased stress tolerance and yield. The abstract of the patent published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office states: “Polynucleotides are disclosed which are capable of enhancing a growth, yield under water-limited conditions, and/or increased tolerance to an environmental stress of a plant transformed to contain such polynucleotides. Also provided are methods of using such polynucleotides and transgenic plants and agricultural products, including seeds, containing such polynucleotides as transgenes.” The patent application was filed on July 11, 2008.

Certis USA Receives Expanded EPA Tolerance of New Biofungicide
Certis USA LLC has entered into an agreement with Kaken Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, Japan, to introduce a new polyoxin D zinc salt formulation to the U.S. market under two trade names: TAVANO 5% SC Fungicide for use on grapes and small fruits including strawberries and OSO 5% SC Fungicide for use on citrus, cucurbits, fruiting and leafy vegetables, potatoes, and numerous other crops. Polyoxin D zinc salt was first registered for food use in the United States in late 2008. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently expanded the tolerance exemption to include polyoxin D zinc salt residues in/on all food commodities. “The EPA’s expanded tolerance exemption facilitates the development of the new formulation for use on all crops. In addition, the pending petition to the National Organic Program, if approved, will facilitate the use of polyoxin D zinc salt in organic food crop production,” says Tim Damico, executive vice president NAFTA for Certis USA.

Syngenta Vegetable Seed Plant Receives GSPP Accreditation
Syngenta has announced that its vegetable seed processing plant in Pasco, Wash., is the first site in North America to receive Good Seed Plant Practices accreditation. Syngenta will strive, in the coming months, to transition all active greenhouse tomato seeds supplied in North America to be GSPP accredited. GSPP is an independently-audited hygiene and prevention protocol that significantly reduces the risk of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis in tomato seeds while assuring the traceability of seed. For young plant growers, GSPP certified seed means significantly reduced exposure to the bacteria. “As one of the international leaders in crop protection and the breeding of high-quality seed varieties for the professional market, Syngenta has taken a leadership role as one of the key initiators of GSPP,” says Motti Schramm, Syngenta tomato portfolio manager. “With GSPP, Syngenta and its partners reach the ultimate level of hygienic measures to significantly reduce the risk of Cmm infection in tomato seeds.” To ensure strict adherence to GSPP, all Syngenta employees and partners involved in the production and processing of tomato seed at the Pasco site have been trained on GSPP protocol.

DAS and M.S. Technologies Announce Soybean Brand
Dow AgroSciences LLC and M.S. Technologies LLC have unveiled Enlist E3 soybeans as the brand name for the industry’s first-ever, three-gene herbicide tolerant soybean. The technology is anticipated to be launched in 2015 pending U.S. and import country approvals. According to DAS, Enlist E3 soybeans will be brought to market in high-yielding varieties, widely available in multiple brands for farmers who want improved weed control and high yields. “Enlist E3 soybeans will enable exceptional weed control delivered from the Enlist System, combined with the latest advancement in soybean technology,” says Tom Wiltrout, seeds and traits strategy leader with DAS. “Enlist E3 soybeans will be offered throughout the industry, providing seed companies and soybean growers another choice to advance their weed control and deliver improved yields.”


Syngenta Completes Tender Offer for Devgen NV
Syngenta has announced that, upon closing of the initial acceptance period of its bid for Devgen, 94.11 percent of the total shares in Devgen have been tendered under the terms of the offer. Syngenta has confirmed that all conditions of its offer have been fulfilled and the bid has now become unconditional. If Syngenta acquires at least 95 percent of the shares in Devgen, it intends to proceed with a simplified squeeze-out in order to acquire by rule of law the remaining shares and warrants. Syngenta will request the delisting of Devgen. The prospectus relating to the tender offer and the Devgen board memorandum of response recommending the offer have been approved by the Belgian Financial Markets and Services Authority.

EFSA Updates Risk Assessment of Insect Resistant Maize Bt11/MON810
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of the European Food Safety Authority compiled its previous risk assessment conclusions and risk management recommendations on genetically modified insect resistant maize Bt 11 and MON810. EFSA considered the validity of these two events’ assessment despite relevant scientific publications published from 2005 onward, in case of the former, and 2009 onward, in case of the latter. EFSA explained that none of the publications reported new information that would invalidate the previous conclusions made by the EFSA GMO Panel on the safety of maize Bt11 and MON810. Therefore, the EFSA GMO Panel considers that its previous risk assessment conclusions on maize Bt11 and MON810, as well as its previous recommendations on risk mitigation measures and monitoring, remain valid and applicable.

Russia Cancels Temporary Ban on GM Maize NK603
The Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare has canceled a temporary ban on the import in the Russian Federation and circulation in the Russian Federation of genetically modified maize NK603. The Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences has performed safety assessments of GM maize NK603 tolerant to glyphosate and the analysis of results of post-monitoring for the entire period of use of the product in the human diet. Currently GM maize NK603 is registered and approved for use in the diet of the population of 17 countries including the European Union, the United States, China, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, Canada, and others.

Over the entire period of use during safety assessments no adverse effects of GM maize NK603 on human health were found, thus the import ban of GM NK603 has been cancelled.

Vietnam Approves Syngenta Corn Trait
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved the field testing of Syngenta’s genetically modified corn MIR 162, a GM corn resistant to lepidopteran insects. The trial is aimed to clarify issues on environmental safety and impact of the GM corn on target and non-target hosts/species in two consecutive seasons from December 2012 to 2013, on selected areas in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

Serbia Accedes to 1991 UPOV Convention
Serbia has announced its accession to the 1991 UPOV Convention and will become the seventy-first member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants on January 5, 2013. The purpose of the UPOV Convention is to encourage the development of new varieties of plants by granting breeders an intellectual property right on the basis of a set of clearly-defined principles. To be eligible for protection, varieties need to satisfy certain conditions, such as being distinct from existing, commonly-known varieties and sufficiently uniform and stable.

European Unitary Patent in Effect
The European Parliament has established a new set of patent rules entitled “European Patent with Unitary Effect.” With this new ruling, the industry and public researchers now have the option to protect th
eir intellectual property with a single application, resulting in one title valid throughout the EU, which will cut costs and promote innovation, specifically for small- and medium-sized companies. While such an exemption was already protected in national legislation in Germany and France, it was not available to breeders of the remaining 25 member states, causing legal uncertainty and strong concerns for smaller breeding companies. “This is a true milestone in our quest for clarification of the interface between patents and plant breeders’ rights,” says Garlich von Essen, secretary general of the European Seed Association.