Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bayer CropScience Inaugurates New Labs for Vegetable Breeding Research

Continued investment in vegetable seeds:

Monheim, Germany, and Leudal, Netherlands, June 7, 2012 – Bayer CropScience today celebrated the expansion of its center for vegetable research and development in Leudal, the Netherlands. With an investment of EUR 12 million, the existing research building almost tripled in size to now match 6,400 square meters. It is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories for seed technology, cell biology and molecular breeding research as well as high-throughput biotech services. 

At the opening ceremony, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers highlighted the Group's commitment to horticulture and healthy food. “We aim to provide growers and consumers across the world with answers for resource-efficient production as well as with healthy and flavorful vegetables,” said Dekkers. “Bayer vegetable seeds, sold worldwide under the Nunhems brand, are an important cornerstone in our strategy, and we are determined to remain at the forefront of innovation in this market,” added Sandra E. Peterson, CEO of Bayer CropScience.

“Our work focuses on making the best possible use of nature’s genetic resources, and continues to enlarge the traditional plant breeder’s toolbox,” explained Johan Peleman, Head of Research and Development Vegetable Seeds. “In our Integrated Breeding programs, skilled breeders work closely together with scientists to develop innovative characteristics into commercial varieties.”

On the occasion of the opening Douwe Zijp, head of the Bayer CropScience vegetable seed business, and Aalt Dijkhuizen, Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen University and Research Center, announced a joint educational initiative for high schools across the Netherlands. In this project, Bayer CropScience and Wageningen supply tomato seeds and detailed instructions for a hands-on genetics experiment. By sowing the seeds and evaluating the characteristics of the young plants, students are made familiar with the basic principles of plant breeding. "The thriving vegetable industry needs the younger generation’s curiosity and imagination to sustain it. We hope that this school project will help to ignite a passion for plant breeding in the students," emphasizes Douwe Zijp.

Many successful products have emerged from the Bayer CropScience research and development programs already: Tomatoes that put an end to soggy sandwiches by holding on to their juice after cutting, melons that change their color when they have reached optimal flavor and ripeness, or mild-flavored onions with a longer shelf-life. 

In addition to the facility in Leudal, Bayer CropScience has a second vegetable research center in Davis, California (USA). Both centers work in close alignment with 26 vegetable breeding stations spread across the world, and two additional high-throughput service centers in the US (Brooks, Oregon) and India (Bangalore). 

The vegetable seed business of Bayer CropScience operates under the brand name of Nunhems. Its portfolio consists of some 2,500 varieties in 28 vegetable crops, including leading varieties of carrot, cucumber, leek, lettuce, melon, onion, pepper, tomato and watermelon. With more than 1,700 employees, the unit is present in all major vegetable production areas in the world.

About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 7.255 billion (2011), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 21,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available

Claudia Steger, Tel. +31 475 599 168

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