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BASF applies for European approval for Fortuna


November 1, 2011
By Press release

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November 1, 2011, Limburgerhof, Germany – BASF Plant Science
recently applied for EU approval for Fortuna, a genetically optimized table
potato. Fortuna has a wild potato’s natural protection to late blight, a
disease causing severe problems in agriculture.

November 1, 2011, Limburgerhof, Germany – BASF Plant Science
recently applied for EU approval for Fortuna, a genetically optimized table
potato. Fortuna has a wild potato’s natural protection to late blight, a
disease causing severe problems in agriculture.

The application for approval covers commercial cultivation
as well as use as food and feed within the EU. In the next step of the approval
process, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will assess the safety of
Fortuna for humans, animals and the environment.

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BASF Plant Science started research efforts on the
disease-resistant potato in 2003. Fortuna has been tested in field trials for
six years and has been subjected to extensive safety assessments. Market
introduction is expected for 2014 and 2015.

“Fortuna provides decisive benefits for agriculture”, says
Peter Eckes, president of BASF Plant Science. “The processing characteristics
of Fortuna are as good as the parent variety. In addition, Fortuna offers
complete protection from one of the world’s most persistent potato diseases. By
coupling Fortuna with modern plant protection measures, we are now in a
position to offer a food that is produced with a highly sustainable method.
Consumers ultimately stand to benefit from this too.”

Fortuna represents the further development of one of
Europe’s leading potato varieties for the production of french-fried potatoes.
The researchers at BASF Plant Science have given Fortuna complete resistance to
late blight. Late blight is the most important potato disease in the world and
is caused by the fungi-like pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Up to 20 per cent
of annual harvests the world over are lost to this disease. Farmers expend a
huge amount of time and effort into fighting Phytophthora.

The two resistance genes transferred to Fortuna come from a
South American wild potato and were originally discovered by Dutch scientists.
Despite more than five decades of intensive effort, plant breeders using conventional
methods have not managed to cross both resistance genes jointly and
successfully into an agronomically high-performance potato variety.


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