June 25, 2018
IDEN BIOTECHNOLOGY DEVELOPS NEW LINES OF CORN TOLERANT TO LOW TEMPERATURE STRESS
In response to the growing global demand for agricultural products, the seed market uses modern and conventional technologies to develop new varieties with higher yield, resistant to stress and sustainable crop cultivation management.
The challenge of the agri-food sector is to improve agricultural productivity through a combination of genetic and conventional improvement, to create crop varieties with higher productivity and resistance to stresses such as drought, salinity, pests and diseases. This is the context frame for the development of the Ag-MARF R & D project funded by the Government of Navarra with the main objective of developing new varieties of corn, tolerant to abiotic stress caused by low temperatures.
Corn is one of the most important crops worldwide with a cultivated area of 178 million hectares, 400.000 hectares in the case of Spain. The world production of corn in 2018 is expected to reach 1,048.5 million tons (FAO 2017). The development of stress tolerant varieties that guarantee high agricultural yield is related to the global human goals linked to climate change, the increase in population and the need for an evolution towards a more sustainable agriculture.
Cold stress affects many producers worldwide on a yearly basis. Corn requires temperatures between 25ºC and 30ºC, meaning that sudden drops in temperature and late spring frosts severely damage the crop, affecting productivity.
The main development processes affected by low temperatures are germination, emergence, early plant development, flowering and grain filling. These development processes are affected as a result of changes in cell membranes, the photosynthetic capacity and the absorption of nutrients and water derived from exposure to low temperatures at different stages of development, ultimately resulting in a decrease in production.
Throughout two years of project execution, has progressed in the development of improved corn lines with stress tolerance caused by low temperatures.
On a commercial level, thanks to the successful execution of the Ag-MARF project, IDEN hopes to establish strategic commercial alliances to introduce corn varieties with tolerance to cold stress in the international market. These varieties may reduce losses in production due to the negative effect on germination and emergence and / or flowering and grain filling, depending on the geographical area of interest.
This project contributes to the positioning of IDEN as a leading European company in the development of solutions for the farmer.