BASF Plant Science will again conduct field trials this year with genetically optimized potatoes which are undergoing the EU approval process.
The field trials will take place at various sites in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.
In addition to the starch potato Modena, the company will also be planting its late blight resistant variety Fortuna.
As potatoes can only be stored for short periods, they are usually multiplied every year. Besides multiplication, the aim of the current cultivation is to test and document the performance of the potato varieties under different environmental conditions as well as the resistance characteristics of the Fortuna potato.
The field trials will be conducted in the state of Sachsen-Anhalt in Germany, in the provinces of Sk å ne and Halland in Sweden, as well as in the provinces of Gelderland, Drenthe and Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands. In total, genetically optimized potatoes will be planted on less than one hectare.
BASF is convinced that plant biotechnology is a technology of the future. But in the mid-term, BASF does not see any opportunities for the commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants in Europe. Therefore, BASF announced in January 2012 that it would concentrate its activities on the main markets in North and South America as well as the growing markets in Asia and halt the development and commercialization of all products that are targeted solely for cultivation in the European markets. However, to keep strategic options open, all ongoing approval applications and variety protection processes for the Amadea, Modena and Fortuna potato projects are being continued.
“To maintain all options for our potato varieties, we will continue, as announced, the approval processes already underway and the multiplication of seed material for that purpose. As in previous years, we will take all measures in close cooperation with the competent authorities while conducting the field trials,” said Dr. Peter Eckes, President of BASF Plant Science.
The decision to halt the commercialization of potato projects solely for the European market is part of the reorganization of BASF Plant Science. The company will concentrate its activities on the attractive key markets in North and South America. The headquarters and management of BASF Plant Science will be moved from the agricultural centre in Limburgerhof, Germany, to Research Triangle Park, Raleigh, North Carolina.