CHINA — Origin Agritech Ltd. has received approval for six new nutritionally enhanced corn varieties from China’s National Crop Variety Approval Committee.
The Beijing-based agricultural technology company has been developing new corn varieties that have been genetically engineered (GE) to have balanced amino-acid content using its CRISPR technology. The approval of these new corn varieties is a highlight of this breeding technology.
AOYU 728, for example, has unique characteristics such as resistance to stem rot, ear rot, southern rust 891 and small leaf spot, all of which improve resiliency and yield.
The other five that received approval are varieties with different nutritional components, one containing 45% more folic acid and other hybrids with significant increases in vitamin E, phenolic compounds, and other nutritional value-added characteristics.
“We continue to accelerate the pace and efficiency with which we are creating revolutionary new corn varieties and getting them to market,” said Dr. Gengchen Han, chairman of Origin Agritech.
He added that this is translating into continued big customer wins and fast growth for the company. This is expected to continue as the company recently established a new wholly owned subsidiary on Hainan Island, China, to increase nutritionally enhanced corn production.
Origin Agritech has already started receiving orders for its hybrid corn. On Aug. 2, the company announced that it had received a US$35 million hybrid corn order from Muyuan Foods Co., Ltd., China’s largest hog farming company, as part of a five-year, 1 million tonne purchase agreement.
In May, the company also entered into a supply agreement with Yunnan Feeding Company under which it will purchase 20,000 metric tons of Origin’s nutritionally enhanced corn (NEC).
In crop seed biotechnologies, Origin Agritech’s phytase corn was the first transgenic corn to receive the Bio-Safety Certificate from China’s Ministry of Agriculture. Over the years, Origin has established a robust biotechnology seed pipeline including products with glyphosate tolerance and pest resistance (Bt) traits.
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