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Agrimarketing : May 2008 Supplement
12 AgriMarketing ¦ May 2008 eight different herbicide-tolerance and insect-protection genes. The product will include both above- and below-ground insect pro- tection systems, including Dow AgroSciences’ Herculex I and Her- culex RW technologies; Monsanto’s YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2 and YieldGard VT PRO technologies; and two established weed control systems, Roundup Ready and Bayer CropScience’s Liberty Link. INTENSIVE R&D PROCESS Bringing a biotech product from con- cept to reality can require several years, millions of dollars, and count- less hours of research, screening, testing and re-testing, both in the lab and in the field. Monsanto’s process begins with the discovery of a desired trait that will be beneficial to a farmer and tracks through four subsequent phases. Those phases include “Proof of Concept,” which involves gene opti- mization and crop transformation; “Early Product Development,” in which the trait is developed more fully through large-scale transforma- tion; “Advanced Development,” which is highlighted by trait integra- tion and data generation; and finally, the “Pre-Launch” stage, during which Monsanto begins the regula- tory process and seed bulk-up, so that once that new product is proven and approved, it is ready to provide to the farmer. Monsanto’s trait pipeline has produced 18 commercial products. These products continue to benefit farmers, and the company’s current research aims to build on those bene- fits by focusing on two primary areas: • Agronomic benefits that deliver in-seed benefits like herbicide tol- erance, disease resistance, insect protection and yield protection — improvements that increase farmer productivity and reduce input costs. • Value-added benefits that enable American farmers to support the growing food, feed and fuel demands of end users of their crops, such as processors and con- sumers. This research is focused on nutritional enhancements in oil and dietary components for con- sumers in the food industry, as well as greater efficiency for ani- mal feed processors, ethanol and biodiesel plants. Some of the promising technolo- gies the company reports that are currently advancing through its R&D pipeline include: • Dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans. Monsanto researchers are using biotechnology to develop traits that provide tolerance to dicamba herbicide. They will be tolerant to pre- and post-emer- gence (over-the-top) applications of dicamba, which provides effec- tive control against most broadleaf weeds. • Omega 3-soybeans are being developed through biotechnology to produce oil with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid traditionally found in fish. It is anticipated that the oil will be used as an ingredi- ent in a wide range of food appli- cations, giving consumers new options for omega 3-rich foods — and a further opportunity for farmers to deliver health benefits to consumers. • Vistive III soybeans will provide an oil profile similar to olive oil, with lower saturated fats, lower trans fats and improved stability. Monsanto’s first generation of Vistive soybeans, introduced for the 2005 growing season, can reduce or eliminate trans fats in processed soybean oil. Vistive oil is now being used by over 100 food companies to meet growing con- sumer demand for better diets. • High-oil soybeans are targeted to increase oil content in soybeans to improve oil crushing yield to help processors meet the growing demand for vegetable oil for food and bio-fuel. • Monsanto scientists are also work- ing on higher-yielding crops, including corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. The objective is to boost the intrinsic yield potential of hybrids and varieties through the insertion of key genes. Higher- yielding crops create additional harvestable yield for farmers, increasing their productivity to help meet demands for food, feed, and fuel. • Nitrogen utilization corn offers the potential to boost yields under normal nitrogen conditions or sta- bilize yield in low-nitrogen envi- ronments. This technology is designed to provide improved consistency and could offer farm- ers one way to reduce agriculture’s impact on the environment. • Drought-tolerant corn and cotton are designed to enhance yield sta- bility under limited water condi- tions. These products are intended to be part of a family of water uti- lization traits that will offer the 2008 NAMA MARKETER OF THE YEAR /R&D Pipeline continued from page 10 (more on page 15) Biotech trait development at Monsanto’s Chesterfield, MO, research facility.