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American Vanguard Corp. (NYSE:AVD) and its subsidiary Amvac Chemical Corporation today announced plans to introduce a new crop protection product that inhibits the growth of sprouts on potatoes. This new product (trade name SmartBlock™) provides safe and highly effective control of potato sprouting during storage.

Originally licensed from Washington State University, Amvac Chemical has developed and tested this technology over the last five years. Efficacy trials conducted worldwide have demonstrated excellent product performance when used individually or in conjunction with existing treatment methods.

SmartBlock is a “green” biopesticide, a naturally-occurring molecule that has an environmentally friendly toxicity profile. The active ingredient is already approved in numerous countries as a direct food additive and flavoring agent in many processed foods.

Several versions of the product are under review, including a 98% active formulation which is designed to be used in current thermal fogging systems in potato storages;and two emulsifiable concentrates for the direct spraying of fresh market potatoes.

Because SmartBlock functions to inhibit sprouting after it commences, this technology gives storage managers great flexibility regarding when to begin potato sprout control and how many (or how few) treatment applications are required to achieve desired results.

The regulatory dossier for SmartBlock formulations has been submitted as a joint-registration package in the United States and Canada, and approval is expected by the second quarter of 2011. Additional registrations will be sought in other key markets including Japan and select countries in the European Union.

Kyle Coleman, the Commercial Product Manager for SmartBlock commented: “Among its many appeals, SmartBlock can provide superior protection with targeted applications, and requires no additional capital equipment investment on the part of customers and can be easily substituted as a viable replacement to CIPC (chlorpropham). It is highly effective for sprout control and we anticipate that product acceptance will be excellent.”

Dr. John Immaraju, the Global Project Manager for SmartBlock commented: “SmartBlock represents a totally new approach to sprout control in potatoes and our field trials thus far have been very successful in the USA, Canada, Japan and several European countries. I will be making a presentation on this technology at The International Potato Processing and Storage Convention in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 22-24, 2010. A summary of the product’s features/benefits and a synopsis of recent test results will be presented at the conference.”