Syngenta Agrisure Viptera Trait wins Agrow Awards “Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology” honors

Syngenta has received a prestigious Agrow Award in recognition of the company’s new Agrisure Viptera corn trait in the Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology category. The award was presented at the annual 2010 Agrow Awards ceremony in London, England, on Nov. 2. Agrow is a leading provider of news, analysis and data for the global crop protection industry.

The Agrisure Viptera trait is a novel insect management tool that protects corn crops against a variety of harmful pests, including corn earworm, black cutworm and Western bean cutworm. With this ability, the trait can help U.S. corn growers recoup an estimated 238 million bushels of corn and $1.1 billion in annual yield and grain quality losses due to damage from these pests(1). The trait is available in hybrids from Garst®, Golden Harvest® and NK® Seeds and will also be made available through licensing agreements.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and is another validation of the global recognition of Syngenta’s success in delivering leading edge biotechnology solutions for growers’ problems,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of Syngenta Biotechnology R&D. “We’re focused on providing our customers outstanding technology that will keep their farms successful.”

The award was accepted for Syngenta by Greg Warren, J.D., and David O’Reilly, Ph.D.

Dr. Warren recalled that spoiled milk he found in his refrigerator led to the discovery of the new trait.  “After returning from a week-long vacation, I found the milk in my refrigerator had soured, and I wanted to take a sample to my lab to see if any bacteria could be isolated from it,” he said. “I isolated a number of bacteria species, one of which ended up being the Vip3A protein, which has activity against black cutworm, the targeted insect we were interested in.  We discovered that the protein was proven not just active against the targeted insect but a whole range of insect pests.”

“The way the Vip3A protein was discovered sounds like an accident, but it was hardly the case,” said Dr. O’Reilly, Viptera project manager. “The project team was deliberately testing a wide variety of materials that might harbor bacteria with novel toxins. And, as you can see, this strategy paid off very well.”

The Agrisure Viptera trait won in the Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology category, which is a benchmark for the most practical application of a novel biotechnology to the advancement of crop protection or agriculture. The award provides Syngenta with global recognition for excellence in the agricultural industry.

For more information about the Agrisure Viptera trait or hybrids containing the Agrisure Viptera trait, contact your local Garst or Golden Harvest dealer, NK retailer, leading independent seed company, or visit

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