Plant biotechnology at BASF
At eight sites in Europe and North America, BASF Plant Science has around 700 employees developing crops with clear advantages for farmers, consumers and the environment. Plant biotechnology enables us to give crops desired characteristics through the targeted transfer of genes. In comparison to conventional breeding methods, this makes available a much larger repertoire of genetic traits from a variety of organisms. Research expenditures for BASF Plant Science amount to around €150 million annually.
In 2010, we received approval in Europe for the first product in our pipeline: Amflora®. Amflora is a potato with an optimized starch composition for use in various industrial applications. In Amflora fields in Sweden in 2010, we found some plants of another genetically modified potato variety. We quickly identified the cause of the comingling and took measures to prevent it from occurring again.
As a partner to leading seed companies, we research and develop traits such as higher yield, drought tolerance or disease resistance. We offer seed companies solutions ranging from development to end product, depending on the characteristics and the crop. Together with our partners, we bring the seeds to market. In addition to crops that offer farmers higher and more secure yields, we develop plants that can improve nutrition or be used as renewable raw materials.
There is a controversial discussion about plant biotechnology, particularly in Europe. We take our social responsibility seriously: We enter into close dialogue with farmers, politicians and consumers to explain the benefits of the processes used as well as our products, and we strive for greater acceptance of plant biotechnology.
Research and development
- Expanding our cooperation with Monsanto: development of higher-yielding and stress-tolerant wheat
- Cooperation with Bayer CropScience: development and commercialization of hybrid rice seed
- Cooperative partnerships with KWS Saat AG (sugar beet) and CTC (sugarcane) to develop plants with higher yields and better drought tolerance
BASF Plant Science cooperates with a number of research institutes, universities and biotechnology companies worldwide. Since 2007, we have been working with Monsanto to develop higher-yielding and more tolerant corn (maize), soybean, canola (oil-seed rape) and cotton plants. In 2010, we expanded this cooperation further and are now also working on the development of higher-yielding and stress-tolerant wheat. The launch of the world’s first corn that can survive drought periods without reduced yields is expected in North America in 2012. At the end of 2010, we started a cooperation with Bayer CropScience. This long-term collaboration aims to develop and commercialize hybrid rice seeds that enable yield gains of 10% or more over conventional seeds. The first product from this project is expected to be launched by 2020. Our other cooperation partners include KWS Saat AG and the Brazilian research center CTC (Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira). We are working with them on the development of sugar beet (KWS) and sugarcane (CTC) with higher yields and better drought tolerance.