Ecogen Inc. is entering the agricultural arena in China with anagreement to evaluate potential biopesticides through thegovernment's China National Green Food Corp.
The corporation, a division of the Chinese Ministry ofAgriculture, was founded to improve the quality of foodproduction in China and to develop products that use natural,environmentally compatible ingredients. It is the commercialarm of the China Green Food Development Center, whichmonitors and promotes nutritional and hygienic standards. Foodproduced with these standards is sold through national outletsand Green Food service centers.
Ecogen and China National Green Food will support research anddevelopment activities of Ziniu Yu, a professor at HuazhongAgricultural University in Wuhan. Ecogen will evaluate morethan 1,000 strains of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a soilbacteria that produces an insecticidal protein, which Yu hascollected in China. Yu is studying the effect of these strains onthe Japanese beetle and on Heliothis, a worldwide cotton pest.
Ecogen has one of the largest libraries of insecticidal Btstrains worldwide, containing more than 9,000 strains.
John McIntyre, vice president for business development andinternational distribution for the Langhorne, Pa., company(NASDAQ:EECN), called the region a "significant marketopportunity."
The relationship might also allow Ecogen to more efficientlyship products to distributors throughout Asia.
Environmental concerns are expected to increase in China, andthe agriculture industry there may alter farming practicesunder the influence of the Green Food agencies, according toGreen Food and Ecogen representatives.
-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor
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