Biotech Updates

Producers See Commercial Opportunity for GM Potato Starch

April 18, 2008

Leading European starch producers, AVEBE, Emsland and Lyckeby, confirm their interests in amylopectin starch obtained from the genetically modified (GM) potato Amflora. They are now calling on the European Commission to approve the GM potato for commercial cultivation in Europe. Amflora was developed by BASF Plant Science.

Conventional starch is composed of the carbohydrate polymers amylose and amylopectin. Compared to amylose, amylopectin is more water soluble and with higher bonding capacity. For many technical applications, such as in the paper, textile and adhesives industries, only amylopectin is needed; separating the two starch components is uneconomical. Gerben Meursing, Commercial Director AVEBE pointed out that “plant biotechnology is the key to the future of the potato starch industry.” Amylopectin starch is expected to provide an additional €100 million (US $160 million) per year to the European starch potato industry and associated farmers.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) declared that BASF’s Amflora line is as safe as non-GM potatoes with regard to its effects on the environment.

Read the press release at