BASF developing corn varieties resistant to fungal disease
By MATTHEW WEAVER
BASF is expanding its research on corn that is genetically modified to be less susceptible to fungal disease.
Corn production suffers from yield loss due to fungi that cannot be addressed by conventional breeding or fungicide sprays, company media relations manager Fran Castle Rowland said.
The company sees a good market opportunity for traits to help minimize yield losses, she said.
"Fungal resistant corn varieties will provide a new solution for farmers who grow corn in high disease-prone areas by protecting the crop from certain diseases," Rowland said.
In the past, BASF Plant Science has worked on fungal resistance in soybeans, potatoes and wheat, she said.
The fungal wheat project was designed for Europe only, Rowland said, and stopped last year, when the company moved its global headquarters to Research Triangle Park, N.C. It will not be applicable to the American market, she said, but provided good research experience and knowledge to apply to the fungal corn project.
The corn project is in its early stages. BASF is making yield protection a focus of its business strategies. Rowland said the first product will likely be out after 2020.