Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) wheat to be commercialized in Australia
Apr. 10, 2012
The Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) and CSIRO announced that the world’s fourth largest seed company, Vilmorin & Cie (Vilmorin), has taken a license to access technology that aims to reduce the amount of Nitrogen fertilizer used by Australian growers for their wheat crops.
This technology was sourced by ACPFG and CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship (working though CSIRO Plant Industry) in 2007 from Arcadia Biosciences Inc (Davis, California) for the Australian market.
Nitrogen fertilizer production uses large amounts of energy and excessive use of nitrogen has sometimes led to environmental problems in many regions. It is currently the largest single cost for cereal growers.
This license brings together leading Australian wheat research groups with the largest European wheat seed company.
“This is an exciting development and represents an important milestone for ACPFG.” said Michael Gilbert, ACPFG’s General Manager. “ACPFG was established to develop and deliver new technologies for the benefit of Australian farmers and improvements in nitrogen use efficiency has been a major target. CSIRO has been a valuable partner and now we have a respected European company to help us further develop and deliver the technology”.
“Wheat has recently attracted strong international interest as an important staple crop and Vilmorin has had a long standing commitment to wheat seed research and development”, said Dr Bruce Lee, Director of the CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship. “CSIRO has always had a long-standing commitment to wheat so this is an excellent partnership and we are looking forward to exploring the applicability of this technology to wheat”.
Emmanuel Rougier, CEO of Vilmorin, said “In 2008, we made a strategic investment in Australian Grain Technologies, the largest wheat breeding company in the country. This licensed technology will complement that investment, and we aim to make GMO wheat integrating the NUE technology available to every Australian grower that wants it. Globally, we invest over 15% of our revenue in research and are strongly committed to the international development of innovative new varieties of wheat”.
Wheat is the largest acreage crop in the world. It is the staple food for 35 percent of the world’s population and represents 20 percent of the total protein intake. Increasing global food production is needed as the population approaches 9 billion by 2050.
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