BASF indirectly supports biofuel crops, says executive

09 June 2010 23:54  [Source: ICIS news]

CHICAGO, Illinois (ICIS news)-- BASF indirectly supports the development of biofuel crops by increasing crop yields but is not aiming for that market, a company official said on Tuesday.

"BASF is indirectly supporting biofuel development by increasing yields of crops such as soybeans, corn and sugarcane through the use of plant biotechnology but we are not developing any genetic traits for industrial crops," said Peter Eckes, president of BASF Plant Science, during the company's Agriculture Summit in Chicago.

Eckes said corn productivity in the US was up 40% and soybean productivity up 30% because of the use of plant biotechnology compared to yields from 20 years ago.

"Through the use of plant biotechnology, energy used in farming is down 60%, while irrigated water use is down 20-50% compared to 20 years ago," added Eckes.

BASF said it was working with US plant biotechnology company Monsanto to develop the first ever biotech-based drought tolerant corn, which was expected for launch in 2012.

BASF's 2009 research and development (R&D) spending for plant biotechnology was at €155m ($184m), which accounted for 11% of the company's total 2009 R&D expenditures, said Eckes.

BASF also spent 25% of its 2009 R&D budget on the company's crop protection business, which included active ingredients for fungicides, herbicides and insecticides.

($1 = €0.84)

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By: Doris de Guzman
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