ABIC to take practical approach

The word biotechnology is often associated with genetically modified organisms but the industry is out to show it is more than that.

The Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference planned for Sept. 15-18 in Calgary hopes to draw about 300 scientists, agribusiness and farmers who want to learn more about how to feed the estimated nine billion people the world is expected to have in 50 years.

“There has been some consumer resistance to biotechnology,” said Art Froehlich, one of the event organizers.

“The focus on this year’s conference is more practical than in the past,” he said.

Sessions are split into human and animal health, plant breeding and energy components. There are also sessions offered on investment and business aspects of starting up a biotechnology company.

There will also be more discussion on the benefits of using natural products rather than chemically built formulas for improved health or plant development. That includes better disease resistance, nitrogen fixing and water uptake using compounds that are found in nature.

“Life science companies like Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta are using more natural materials rather than chemical compounds,” he said.

Other topics include environmental remediation to clean up ground water and energy sites as well as development of new crops for food security as the world climate changes.

In addition Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of the Kansas City-based Center for Food Integrity will address the conference about the lack of public information and failure to educate people on the benefits of biotechnology.

For further information visit: www.abic.ca.

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