Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera corn trait, entered in the Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology category was awarded the winner at the annual 2010 Agrow Awards ceremony in London, England.
The Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology category is a benchmark for the most practical application of a novel biotechnology to the advancement of crop protection or agriculture. The award provides Syngenta with global recognition for excellence in the agricultural industry.
The Agrisure Viptera trait is an insect management tool developed by Syngenta. It protects corn crops against corn earworm, black cutworm and Western bean cutworm as well as other pests. It is expected that U.S. corn growers can recoup an estimated 238 million bushels of corn and $1.1 billion in annual yield as well as reducing grain quality losses due to pest damage. The company says the trait is available in hybrids from three different seed companies – Garst, Golden Harvest and NK Seeds. It will be available through other licensing agreements.
“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and is another validation of the global recognition of Syngenta’s success in delivering leading edge biotechnology solutions for growers’ problems,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of Syngenta Biotechnology R&D. “We’re focused on providing our customers outstanding technology that will keep their farms successful.”
At the awards event, Greg Warren, J.D., and David O’Reilly, Ph.D. accepted the award for Syngenta.
Speaking while accepting the award, Dr. Warren said spoiled milk in his refrigerator led to the discovery of the new trait, after he returned from a week-long vacation. I found the milk in my refrigerator had soured, and I wanted to take a sample to my lab to see if any bacteria could be isolated from it,” he said. In the lab, Dr. Warren said isolated a number of bacteria species, “one of which ended up being the Vip3A protein, which has activity against black cutworm, the targeted insect we were interested in. We discovered that the protein was proven not just active against the targeted insect but a whole range of insect pests.”
Dr. O’Reilly, Viptera project manager, said “The way the Vip3A protein was discovered sounds like an accident, but … the project team was deliberately testing a wide variety of materials that might harbor bacteria with novel toxins. And, as you can see, this strategy paid off very well.”
More information about the Agrisure Viptera trait and hybrids that contain the trait, can be seen at the website www.agrisureviptera.com.