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Biological products changing definition of seed treatments

Company launches inoculant.

November 29, 2007  By Bruce Barker

Traditionally, biological products have been viewed as seed inoculants such
as rhizobium inoculants for pulses, or a phosphate solubilizing soil fungus
Penicillium bilaii from Philom Bios sold as JumpStart and found in TagTeam.
While many companies have conducted research into other biological products,
they are only now starting to hit the market.

Lloyd Dyck, CEO (left), and Manas Banerjee, director of research
and development, with Brett Young's new products.

Brett Young Seeds, a privately owned seed company with its head office at Winnipeg,
has moved beyond its traditional seed research to introduce a new class of biological
products to the marketplace. In 2001, Brett Young created a new research and
development division focussed on plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR).

"Our recent accomplishments were the development of the Microbiology and
Biotechnology Laboratory, and the development of a new PGPR inoculant (BioBoost)
for canola, which is the first PGPR inoculant registered in Canada by the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)," says Dr. Manas Banerjee, director of research
and development for Brett Young. "This inoculant has been expanded to soybean
(SoySuperb) and under experimentation for corn, alfalfa and peas."


What is PGPR and how does it work?
Rhizobacteria in the rooting zone colonize plant roots and stimulate plant growth.
These rhizobacteria are called plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, or PGPR
for short. PGPR may have several effects on the plant, including symbiotic nitrogen
fixation, effect on nodulation in legumes, hormone production, effect on nutrient
uptake by roots, enhanced plant growth by siderophore production, and enhanced
plant growth by biocontrol activities.

Brett Young's registration of BioBoost on canola in Canada was obtained on
the basis of five separate trials in 2002 and eight trials in 2003. The active
ingredient of the product is a bacterium called Delftia acidovorans RAY209.
In the 13 trials, BioBoost averaged eight percent better yield for an average
1.9 bushel per acre canola yield advantage.

BioBoost is available in a peat-based formulation, with a five month shelf
life. It is Helix fungicide compatible.

A second product, SoySuperb was exempted from registration in the US. SoySuperb
is the world's first commercial growth promoter that combines Brett Young's
PGPR technology and nitrogen fixing Bradyrhizobium in one inoculant.
Banerjee says the company is working on registration for Canada, but the Canadian
registration process takes much longer than the American process.

SoySuperb is a peat-based seed inoculant that boosts soybean growth, development
and yield. At 10 sites in university testing in the US, SoySuperb had an average
7.3 percent higher yield than the un-inoculated check.

Brett Young believes there is enormous market potential in North America and
other parts of the world for increased crop production via a biological treatment
like PGPR inoculants. The current market potential of BioBoost to be applied
in canola is about 13 million acres in western Canada and 1.3 million acres
in the northern US. With the emphasis on biodiesel generation from canola, the
Canadian canola acreage is expected to be about 16 million acres within five
years with some expansion in the US canola acreage as well. Beyond North America,
there is a huge European rapeseed market for the product BioBoost as well.

Banerjee says the potential market for SoySuperb is even bigger. The 75 million
soybean acres in the US and 2.5 to 3 million acres in Canada are their initial
focus for SoySuperb. Beyond North America, a large market exists in Latin America,
especially in countries like Brazil and Argentina. "Because these are new
innovative products, the upcoming challenge is to go into the market by focussing
our opportunities in the inoculant industry," says Banerjee.

In 2006, Brett Young introduced BioBoost in widespread farmer demonstration
trials in western Canada, and limited farm demonstration trials of SoySuperb
in the US. The planned commercial launch of both BioBoost and SoySuperb will
be in 2007. The company also is working on growth promoters for forages and
turfs, and hopes to release them commercially some time in the future. 


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