Mexican authorities have approved the use of Mycogen Corp.'sgenetically engineered bioinsecticide MVP in 18 crops, the SanDiego company (NASDAQ:MYCO) announced Thursday.

MVP controls black diamond moth larvae, which ingest thenaturally occurring Bacillus thuringiensis toxin when theynibble on leaves that have been sprayed with dead bacteriacontaining the protein. The toxin is harmless to humans andwashes off without leaving a residue.

Mycogen engineered the proprietary CellCap method ofinserting the toxin gene into bacteria that are then killed andsprayed on the crops.

MVP was approved for commercial sale in the U.S. by theEnvironmental Protection Agency in 1991. Mycogen iscollaborating with the Royal Dutch Shell Group to register thebiopesticide internationally, and the Mexico registrationapplication was filed through Shell Mexico, S.A. de C.V.

Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage grown for export to U.S. foodprocessors will be targeted first for MVP use in Mexico, saidJerry Caulder, Mycogen's chairman, president and chiefexecutive officer.

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