McGill University of Montreal and Becker Underwood of Ames, Iowa have signed a commercial licensing agreement. The agreement grants Becker Underwood exclusive rights to patented nitrogen-fixing technology developed by a team of McGill researchers. The technology involves a fatty acid compound shown to be highly effective in stimulating rhizobia to produce the substances needed for increased nodule formation and greater nitrogen fixation. In Western Canada, this is important for pulse crops such as lentils and peas, as well as alfalfa. Becker Underwood anticipates commercial availability of its first products incorporating this patented new technology for the 2010 spring planting season. Additional new products utilizing the technology are expected in 2011 and beyond. Although the company is based in Iowa, it has a major plant in Saskatoon. Back in 2000, Becker Underwood purchased the Saskatchewan-based company MicroBio RhizoGen. Becker Underwood claims to be the leading global producer of inoculants and this new technology from McGill should be another boost for the company. I’m Kevin Hursh.

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Kevin Hursh, PAg, CAC