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GM potatoes: BASF at work

(05 March 2010) After a nod by the European Commission to cultivation of the controversial genetically modified (GM) potato developed by the BASF chemical company and known as Amflora, a speaker for the company has announced plans to apply for approval for two further varieties of GM potato.

The company stated its intention to seek approval presently for a successor to Amflora. This new variety also produces amylopectin starch that is advantageous for specific industrial processes such as the manufacture of paper.

For the Amflora successor, a different variety of potato was genetically modified. A BASF spokesperson indicated application "soon" for approval of this yet-unnamed potato. BASF also intends to apply for approval of its ‘Fortuna’ potato by the end of the year. Fortuna has been genetically modified towards resistance to a mould disease that repeatedly has led to high harvest losses. The potato is intended for use in the industrial manufacture of foodstuff such as potato chips and crisps.

Beginning in April, Amflora will be planted on 20 hectares in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, on 80 hectares in Sweden and on 150 hectares in the Czech Republic. According to media reports, the fields in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Sweden are dedicated to seed production. The fields in the Czech Republic are used for commercial aims with an unnamed partner.


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