Saturday, June 03, 2006

GMO Pundit's Technology Stoush: Updated survey of advances in farming technology.

This post, updated regularly, collects news on emerging farm technologies and innovation.

Regular digests of these items, and posts on major developments occur at the GMO Pundit Main page.

Index to the stacked stoush of items or links to GMO Pundit post, with latest additions added at the top of the stack:
  1. Acceleration in soybean yield increase due to marker assisted breeding? November 2006
  2. Rapid trait development by site-directed mutagenesis announced by Cibus, CA, November 2006
  3. Agricultural innovation may enable biofuel demand on corn to be met. November 2006
  4. YieldGard Plus Corn and Drought Tolerance. Oct 2006
  5. High value output irrigated farms use water better in Australia. Sept 2006
  6. No-till farming with GE soybeans prevents soil erosion in Oklahoma. Sept 2006
  7. Vistive Soybeans -Lo-Lin Monsanto De Kalb- hit Canada. Sept 2006
  8. A range of second generation (stacked trait) insect protected GM cottons move towards the markeplace. Aug 2006
  9. Drought tolerance research by big Agbiotech corporations. Aug 2006
  10. GM trees for biofuel. Aug 2006
  11. Marker free Golden Rice developed. Aug 2006
  12. Catalytic antibodies enable new approach to herbicide tolerance. 15 Aug 2006
  13. Insect protected cow-pea research for Africa starts at CSIRO. Aug 2006
  14. Waterproof rice gene identified. Aug 2006
  15. Drought resistant corn in Israel. Jul 2006
  16. Water efficient GM cotton research trials in Australia. Aug 2006
  17. Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. 2006
  18. Readable overview on long term liquid biofuels (eg bio-octane) research in the US. July 2006
  19. World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing. July 2006.
  20. Fructose conversion to hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) a potential bio-diesel additive, with new catalyst.
  21. GM cereals that have phytase enzyme for better iron and zinc nutrition. Jun 2006
  22. Butanol enters as a serious contender in UK biofuels via DuPont and BP. Jun 2006
  23. Lactiva and Lysomin: Helping to Save Lives By Improving Oral Rehydration Solution, provided by GM rice made by Ventria. May 1 2006
  24. Scientists develop new crankcase lube oil from plants. June 2006
  25. Chinese scientists develop salt tolerant tall fescue grass. June 2006
  26. Corn color may be valuable tool for N-fertilizer management.
  27. Precision Farming Tool InTime for Australian Cotton.
  28. Syngenta Starch Hydrolysis Technology Adds Value to Corn Grower's Output & Reduces Costs of Ethanol Biofuel, Jun 2006
  29. Salt-loving weed offers grain of hope for wheat June 2006
  30. Transgenic GM Brinjal, Mustard, and Potato Crops Move Towards Market in India May 2006
  31. Bollgard II approved in India - In Time to Reinforce Season-Long Protection? May 2006
  32. Transgenic Eucalyptus and Poplars: ISRAELI RESEARCHERS STEM THE TIDE OF DESERTIFICATION, May 2006
  33. GM cassava has 'super size' roots, May 16 2006
  34. A GM wheat that prevents Altzheimer's disease? Resveratrol Rich May 2006
  35. Saltol gene for salt tolerance and Pup1 for better phosphorus uptake by rice, April 2006
  36. Anti-freeze gene from antarctic grass protects against frost, April 2006.
  37. Secrets of Resurrection from Africa: Bringing Plants Back from Death Inducing Drought, April 2006
  38. CSIRO (Australia) has developed a new experimental wheat variety with the potential to provide benefits in the areas of bowel health, diabetes and obesity. 28th February 2006.

Irrigated farms generate one-quarter of Australia's ag output

Australia Wednesday, 27 September 2006

This item says that irrigated farms generate one-quarter of the gross value of Australia's agricultural production, according to a joint report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Productivity Commission.

The gross value of irrigated production was $9 billion in 2003-04.

Irrigated horticulture made up 52pc of the gross value...

The report found that irrigated farms with a higher value of production incurred lower ongoing irrigation expenses relative to their irrigation water use.

They were more likely to recycle irrigation water and use irrigation scheduling equipment...

The collaborative arrangement between the ABS and the Productivity Commission was the first of its type between the two organisations.

Its success demonstrates the potential for research and analysis of ABS data sets.

SOURCE: National news from Rural Press weekly agricultural papers, updated daily on FarmOnline.

Genetically engineered soybeans spur crop increase

- ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jim Stafford, 13 Sep 2006

Braman Okla. - Jim Curl slowly brought his pickup to a halt just south of the Kansas border and surveyed a lush, green field filled with healthy soybean plants.

As he pointed out the weed-free growth of the soybean crop, Curl described how it had its origins in the bitter winter of 1995-1996. That's when winds that came sweeping down the plains blew out his wheat crop and tons of soil with it.

"We went into the fall of '95 when we planted wheat with hardly any moisture at all," Curl said. "I hired a guy to run a packer on it to break the clods, and that was the wrong thing to do. It set it up to blow all winter."

Blow it did, with the wind taking the crop and the topsoil.

Curl changed his farming practices in the spring.

The Braman native, who farms land that his family has owned since the Land Run, adopted a no-till farming method and experimented with a new product developed by Monsanto Corp. known as "Roundup Ready" soybeans. Curl began a crop rotation that included wheat, corn and soybeans.

Roundup Ready soybeans were introduced in 1996 by Monsanto. They are genetically altered to be resistant to Monsanto's Roundup weed killer. That allows farmers to plant the beans and then spray the fields with Roundup herbicide to control weeds.

"I planted 26 acres that year in a Johnson grass-infested bottom land that normally you couldn't grow a crop on," he said.

Curl was a dealer then for the Garst Seed Co. but switched to Monsanto-owned Asgrow when the test plot thrived. Today he operates the Asgrow Seed Center in Braman.

In a no-till crop rotation, seeds are planted into a field where the residue of the old crop has been left unplowed. A different crop is planted behind the just harvested crop, such as soybeans behind wheat.

"I aim to get three crops in two years," said Curl, 53.

The weed-free fields surrounding his Braman farm testify to the effectiveness of the genetically-altered soybeans. The no-till concept has gained widespread acceptance in wind-blown northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas, he said.

Kay County, where Curl's farm and seed operation is, has blossomed into one of the top soybean producing areas of Oklahoma.

For example, the county produced 220,000 bushels of soybeans from 8,100 acres in 1996. Kay County farmers produced 1.4 million bushels from 43,500 acres in 2004, and 1.15 million bushels from 49,500 acres in 2005.

"There has been a huge, huge increase in no-till," Curl said. "I sold enough (Asgrow seed) to plant 14,000 acres this year, most in Kay County, and some in Grant County and also in Sumner County, Kansas."

Oklahoma produced 8.7 million bushels of soybeans from 290,000 acres in 2004 and 7.9 million bushels from 305,000 across in 2005. The nation's top-producing soybean state is Iowa, which yielded 532.6 million bushels last year.

The growth of the crop in Oklahoma and in Kay and Grant counties is part of a westward expansion of soybeans in the United States, said Bob Callanan, communications director of the St. Louis-based American Soybean Association.

"They have been moving farther west over the last 10 years or so and have been replacing wheat in some areas," Callanan said. "That ability to control weeds with a fairly environmentally friendly herbicide that dissolves into the environment fairly quickly has led to farmers being able to dramatically increase their use of no-till and minimum-till farming."

No-till farming not only helps keep the topsoil intact in windy areas but saves on fuel costs because it frees farmers from having to plow and replow their fields, Callanan said.

For Oklahomans, the bio-engineered soybeans have provided farmers with a high-demand crop alternative that is used in a variety of products. Curl said soybeans are used in producing a fuel additive, a widely used printing ink, soy milk and in all kinds of food ingredients.

As Curl's pickup slowly rolled past weed-free fields loaded with soybeans along the Chikaskia River just south of the Kansas line, he recalled his father's efforts to grow soybeans in the same fields in the 1960s.

"My dad was one of the few trying the new crop in this area," Curl said. "The only weed control was to harrow at 4-to-6 inches high followed later with in-row cultivation. The common varieties, of course, had no (weed killer) resistance. Technology has changed everything."

Catalytic antibodies active in plants

15.aug.06, Dow Jones via Checkbiotech

Daniela Kenzelmann

Catalytic antibodies are novel blood proteins selected for their ability to selectively bind to theoretically predicted transition state molecular structures that occur transiently during chemical reactions. They make possible the creation of novel catalytic abilities from the protein products of the immune system, antibody proteins, which are not generally considered to have catalytic activity, but which by laboratory experiments can be evolved to bind particular small molecules.

Dow Jones report Israeli scientists have found a novel strategy to confer herbicide-resistance to plants. The new approach uses catalytic antibodies which can destroy certain types of herbicides because of their specialised binding ability.

Traditionally, herbicide-resistant crops were generated by breeding under selective pressure or crossing with herbicide-resistant species. More recently, genetically modified plants can be generated for this purpose.

Prof. Ehud Keinan of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and his collaborators at the Hebrew University in Rehovot demonstrate in “Herbide-resistance conferred by expression of a catalytic antibody in Arabidopsis thaliana” that so-called catalytic antibodies can be used to confer a new trait to plants. Other approaches to achieve a similar goal include gene shuffling techniques developed by Maxygen in the USA that allow rapid gene evolution in the laboratory.

Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. 2006


The following tables provide the data obtained by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in the June Agricultural Survey for 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Randomly selected farmers across the United States were asked if they planted corn, soybeans, or upland cotton seed that, through biotechnology, is resistant to herbicides, insects, or both. Conventionally bred herbicide-tolerant varieties were excluded. Stacked gene varieties include those containing GE traits for both herbicide tolerance (HT) and insect resistance (Bt).

* Genetically engineered corn varieties by State and United States, 2000-2006

* Genetically engineered upland cotton varieties by State and United States, 2000-2006

* Genetically engineered soybean varieties by State and United States, 2000-2006

* All tables in one Excel workbook (multiple worksheets)

According to NASS, the States published in the following tables represent 81-86 percent of all corn planted acres (depending on the year), 89-90 percent of all soybean planted acres, and 81-92 percent of all upland cotton planted acres. See more on the extent of adoption.

The acreage estimates are subject to sampling variability because all operations planting GE varieties are not included in the sample. The variability for the 48 corn States, calculated by NASS using the relative standard error at the U.S. level, is 0.8-1.8 percent for all GE varieties (depending on the year), 1.6-2.1 percent for insect-resistant (Bt)-only varieties, 1.9-3.8 percent for herbicide-tolerant-only varieties, and 2.5-10.8 percent for stacked gene varieties. Variability for the 31 soybean States is 0.4-0.8 percent for herbicide-tolerant varieties, depending on the year. Variability for the 17 upland cotton States is 1.0-2.2 percent for all GE varieties, 4.6-5.1 percent for insect-resistant (Bt)-only varieties, 2.6-3.8 percent for herbicide-tolerant-only varieties, and 2.4-4.2 percent for stacked gene varieties.

Redesigning Life to Make Ethanol

Genetically engineered organisms can more efficiently produce ethanol from cheap and abundant sources of biomass, such as agricultural waste. It could make ethanol cost competitive.

By Jamie Shreeve

Among biofuels, ethanol is the established front-runner, but various types of microbes also produce hydrogen, methane, biodiesel, and even electricity -- which means they could be genetically engineered to produce more of these resources. At the University of California, Berkeley, bioengineer Jay Keasling and his colleagues are proposing to design organisms that pump out a fuel no natural microbe makes, one that offers some alluring advantages over ethanol: gasoline. Its virtues as a fuel are proven, of course, and the ability to produce it from waste wood and waste paper, which Keasling thinks is feasible, could reduce countries' dependence on foreign oil. And unlike ethanol, which is water soluble and must be transported in trucks lest it pick up water in pipes, biologically generated octane could be economically piped to consumers, just like today's gas.

"Ethanol has a place, but it's probably not the best fuel in the long term," says Keasling. "People have been using it for a long time to make wine and beer. But there's no reason we have to settle for a 5,000-year-old fuel."

In the short term, some advances in biology and engineering are needed before fuels made from biomass will be practical and competitive with fossil fuels. But in the longer term, says Venter, "we're limited mostly by our imagination, not by the limits of biology."

International government officials and investment analysts to highlight biofuels opportunities at world congress



The European Association for Bioindustries

Washington, DC -- Investment opportunities in the growing industrial biotechnology sector will be one of the topics of the plenary sessions at the third annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing. The Congress, to be held July 11-14, 2006 at the Toronto Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, is jointly hosted by EuropaBio the EU association for bioindustries, the US Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), BIOTECanada, The American Chemical Society, the National Agriculture Biotechnology Council, the Agri-Food Innovation Forum, and the Chemical Institute of Canada.

The World Congress will feature five plenary sessions:

Wednesday, July 12 at 12:00 p.m.

Thomas C. Dorr, Under Secretary for Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, is scheduled to welcome attendees to the World Congres

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello all.

Found a parody of the Monsanto logo being used for protest tee shirts:

I got one (before they take em off)