The World’s First White Leaf Sugarcane Rapid Testing Kit

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Press Release             

The World’s First White Leaf Sugarcane Rapid Testing Kit

Government-private research initiatives benefit sugarcane farmers. 

Bangkok, Thailand, August 5, 2008 – The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) of Thailand and Mitr Phol Research and Development Center Co.,Ltd., a progressive research and development arm of the Mitr Phol Sugar Group announce they have successful developed the world’s first White Leaf Sugarcane Rapid Test Kit for the sugarcane plantation. The technology is expected to help reduce the amount of financial loss to the sugarcane sector as a result of white leaf disease which is estimated at Baht 1,000 Million per year. 

“Thailand is one of the major producers of sugar for the global market. Therefore, it is necessary for the national Agricultural and Food Cluster to give serious consideration to helping maintain this status quo” said Prof. Dr. Morakot Tanticharoen, BIOTEC Senior Advisor (member of NSTDA). “The joint collaboration with Mitr Phol R&D Center provides an opportunity to better understand the need of the sugar industry. We will continue to collaborate to explore and improve other options for white leaf disease eradication such as breeding technology to build disease resistance”. 

“White leaf disease is often compared to cancer or HIV virus in human. You never know if or when you will contract it, until it is often too late” said Dr. Pipat Weerathaworn, R&D Director for Mitr Phol Sugarcane Research Center Co., Ltd in Chaiyaphum province. “The rapid test kit is very efficient as it only take 10 mins to detect if the sugarcane plant has the disease or not”. 

The rapid test kit is expected to go on sale locally prior to the end of 2008 and will also target overseas clients. Initial introduction to clients in India was very positive. The technology has been transferred to Innova Biotechnology of Thailand for mass manufacturing. 

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About BIOTEC
The National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), founded in 1983, is one of four technology centers under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), an autonomous government agency. The Center is a leading research institute in Thailand and the region, with over 30 laboratories and 150 principle scientists conducting basic and applied research covering a wide spectrum from agricultural science to biomedical science and environmental science. BIOTEC has three research units located at Thailand Science Park and about ten specialized laboratories situated in universities and government agencies across the country. More information about BIOTEC is available at http://www.biotec.or.th
 
 
About Mitr Phol R&D Center
Mitr Phol group has five modern sugar mills with total crushing capacity of 113,000 tcd. The management of Mitr Phol recognized the importance of Research in sugarcane for sustainable development of their sugar industry and the upliftment of their sugarcane farmers. Mitr Phol Sugarcane Research Center was formally registered on 23 rd of June 1997 to cater to the need of sugarcane research and transfer of appropriate technology to cane farmers. More information about Mitr Phol R&D Center is available at http://www.mitrpholresearch.com/about_company.htm
 
 
 
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Posted on 08 August 2008.

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