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New Zealand mulls cereal biocontrol

The New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has received an application from the New Zealand plant technology company, Grasslanz Technology (Palmerston North), and the government-owned research firm, AgResearch, to release the endophyte fungi, Neotyphodium spp, to improve the resistance of cereal crops to pests and diseases. Many grasses have associated Neotyphodium spp endophytes that produce insecticidal alkaloids such as lolines and peramines, the applicants point out. Their use is intended to reduce pesticide use and increase farm productivity. The companies plan to use strains that are not toxic to mammals. The application is open to public comment until January 14th 2014.

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