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science Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D

This special World Water Day issue focuses on why water matters to Syngenta and how we can all make a difference Working with local farmers in India to save water and increase rice yields No-till agriculture is helping conserve water in China Water and manufacturing – how waste water is dealt with at Münchwilen Special article – an external perspective on climate change

Spring 09


Contents Water and Syngenta – we can all make a difference

03

Water: It matters to you, it matters to the planet, it matters to Syngenta

04

Invinsa® is 1-MCP (One Magnificent Crop Protector)

06

The Syngenta Foundation, improving rice yields and saving water in India

08

Pesticides in streams from urban and residential use – a new challenge

10

There’s a better way of assessing risk

14

Grass roots water conservation in red soil China

16

Waste water matters too

18

Saving water by sowing drought-resistant seeds

20

It’s no go unless you pass the water test

22

External perspective – Possible impacts of climate change on global agriculture

24

Out and about

28

Fellows new and old! – Interviews with recent Fellows’ promotions

30

Tips to save water in the home

31


Water and Syngenta – we can all make a difference This edition of Science Matters focuses on water and is published in-sync with the United Nations’ World Water Day which falls on the 22nd March each year. Water is a critical resource for us all. 70% of the world’s fresh water consumption is used by agriculture; it is essential for life, for our well-being as individuals, for all of our customers and for Syngenta as a company. Syngenta is involved in the wider debate on the sustainable use of water in Agriculture. In January, our CEO Mike Mack presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos in a session on Water, Food and Energy. We are also involved in the UN CEO Water Mandate and the World Business Council for Sustainable Agriculture which influences the wider dimension of global water policies. Droughts, water shortages and the reality of climate change, mean that it is increasingly important to apply our science to address how we increase yields and improve crop quality to feed an ever increasing population with less water. This edition gives an insight into a wide range of water related issues, ranging from the chemistry and physical properties of water (Eric Clarke and John Delaney) to global issues, like water use in China (Jeff Au) and the Syngenta Foundation’s efforts in India (Sharafat Ahmad). Drought will become an important issue for world agriculture to overcome and articles by Chris Zinzelmeier, Gustavo Gonzalez and Sherif Ayoub illustrate Syngenta’s research into minimising water use in crops via the development of drought tolerant crops and agrochemicals like Invinsa™1. Protecting the environment is key to securing and preserving access to clean water. Syngenta has an important role to play by applying our know-how to ensure water courses are not polluted, in training farmers in the safe use of our products and by promoting the use of good agronomic practices like managed field margins. Sophisticated modelling techniques feed directly into our environmental safety assessments and help us give advice on the safe use of our products to farmers. Paul Hendley’s article on urban streams is an example of how we are working to protect local environments. Manufacturing is the largest user of water in Syngenta. Urs Gysel illustrates how we are using technology, and changing our ways of working, to reduce water use and minimise waste in our manufacturing processes at Münchwilen. Quality of life is also important with sport, gardening and home care being central to much of our well being. Our Lawn and Garden Business is working hard to optimise water by breeding new flowers that are drought resistant, through innovations like Invinsa™, and working with partners to reduce water use in sports grounds and golf courses. I believe that, although water is considered a global issue, it will require local solutions to address specific, regional agronomic conditions, financial resources and technologies applicable to local crops and cultures. There are individual efforts we can all undertake to make a difference to the amount of water we use. I was delighted to read so many Syngenta Award stories last year that followed a water reduction theme, especially the extraordinary success at SBI where the whole site community was involved. Syngenta is in a unique position to ensure that the supply of food, feed and fuel is sustained in an uncertain world. Combining our global reach with our innovations, such as the development of drought-tolerant crops, together we can make a difference, both as a company and as individuals, to optimise water usage, while increasing crop yields and quality. I hope you agree that this “water” edition is an illustration of our commitment to ensure we succeed. I am sure we will. Sandro Aruffo Head of Research & Development 1

Invinsa™ is a trademark of AgroFresh Inc

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

03


Water

It matters to you, it matters to the planet, it matters to Syngenta

This edition of Science Matters focuses on water and illustrates some of the science and technology which Syngenta is applying to ensure a sustainable food supply for an uncertain future. By Stuart John Dunbar and John Emsley.

World Water Day The United Nations (UN) has designated 22nd March of every year to be World Water Day (WWD). This followed from the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, and the first WWD was observed in19931. In 2005 WWD was chosen as the start of a new initiative: the UN Water for Life Decade, which is designed to give a high profile to programmes focusing not only on water but on women and poverty. An earlier ‘water decade’ ran from 1981 to 1990 and it brought clean water to one billion people and sanitation to around 100 million, but the job was really only half done. There are still around one billion people for whom clean drinkable water is not available at the turn of a tap, and around 2.5 billion people are denied access to the basic sanitation which we in the West take for granted.

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Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009


The new initiative recognises that fresh water is a critical factor in alleviating poverty because it increases the food supply, but it acknowledges that this must be part of sustainable agriculture. Challenges like this will be all the greater as the world population continues to grow and as climate change takes effect. It is predicted that this will result in between 50 and 80 million additional people being at risk of hunger in Africa alone2. In this issue of Science Matters we highlight some of the ways Syngenta is helping the UN to achieve its target. Water and you Just take a minute to think about water. The human body is 65% water and plants contain even more – for example, maize is 80% water. Have you ever thought how much water you need every day? You know to drink several glasses of water to stay healthy and hydrated, and depending on how active you are and the temperature of your surroundings, you will need between one and four litres of water a day. But this is only a tiny fraction of the water that you are relying on.

It takes up to 4,000 litres of water to produce a litre of milk, and as much as 11,000 litres to produce just one hamburger. In his book When the Rivers Run Dry, Fred Pearce estimated that, on average, a Westerner needs 100 times his or her body weight in water every day just to produce the food they eat.3 Clearly access to a plentiful supply of clean water is important because it provides the food we eat, which keeps us healthy. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a reliable supply of this vital resource, and it really is vital. A person can live for weeks without food but only a few days without water and, even when water is available, it may be a lifetheatening resource. Every year more

than five million people die from waterrelated diseases and 84% of them are children aged 0-14. Water is a resource we must all take an interest in and preserve. Ten years ago Pearce noted that the maximum available supply of water to the people of the world is 1,400 cubic metres per head per year. However, those in the West consume 2,500 cubic metres per person per year, and he concluded: “If the rest of the world wants to live as we do we have a problem.” We really do have that problem now. We need to solve it by reducing demand and recycling water, and Syngenta is doing its share as part of the solution.

agriculture, which reduces water run-off, and by researching crop varieties which need less irrigation – or even none at all. As this year’s Syngenta Awards Finalists from SBI demonstrated, the company and its employees are also working hard to conserve water on its sites, reducing further the drain on this valuable resource. In fact, this copy of Science Matters is printed using water reduction technology, including a completely chemical and water free printing plate making process. In addition, all water used in the actual printing process is recirculated and new water is only added to replace that lost by evaporation. 1

The decision is contained in Chapter 18 (Fresh

Water Resources) of UN Agenda 21. 2

Planet Earth is literally awash with water and the numbers are staggering. There are around 14,000,000 trillion cubic metres (tonnes) of the stuff and we know that it covers 70% of the globe. In volume terms there are 14 billion cubic kilometres of water in total, of which 25,000 (0.00017%) is in freshwater lakes and inland seas. Because water is volatile it has been endlessly evaporating, condensing and dissolving rocks for billions of years so that most of it is now a saline solution particularly rich in sodium chloride. While some life forms have adapted to living in this, those which inhabit the land have not, and they need fresh water. They rely on the 100 trillion tonnes of rain which falls every year, and while this seems a lot, it tends to fall heavily in some areas and hardly at all in others. This fresh water has to meet several needs but the second most important one – after drinking water – is agriculture, which consumes around 70% of that which is available. If savings could be made with this, it would release fresh water for other uses where it is badly needed, and it could even relieve some of the water shortages which afflict certain areas – and that applies even to the USA.

‘Climate change and world food security: a new

assessment’ Martin Parry, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Ana Iglesias, Günther Fischer, and Matthew Livermore published in Global Environmental Change, vol. 9, supplement S52-67, 1999. 3

Fred Pearce When the Rivers Run Dry, Eden Project

Books, 2006

Stuart John Dunbar is Editor of Science Matters. He joined the company 24 years ago as an Insect Electrophysiologist.

He is currently a Senior

Syngenta Fellow and Group Leader of Biochemistry working in the Bioscience Section at Jealott’s Hill Dr John Emsley was a lecturer in Chemistry at King’s College London for 22 years and produced more than 100 original research papers. He became a full-time science writer in 1990 and was Imperial College’s Science Writer in Residence from 1990-97, during which time he wrote a column for The

Independent newspaper called Molecule of the Month. He held a similar position in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. He has several popular science books to his name, including

The Consumer’s Good Chemical Guide which won the Science Book Prize of 1995. His most recent one is Molecules of Murder. His books have been translated in most major languages and, in 2003, he won the German Chemical Society Writer’s Prize. In 2006 he became the first recipient of the Science Communications Award of the Society of Chemical

Syngenta is sensitive to this issue and is investing heavily in ways to cut water demand by encouraging non-till

Industry. He has also taken part in many radio and television programmes.

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Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

05


Invinsa is 1-MCP TM

(One Magnificent Crop Protector)

Syngenta, in cooperation with AgroFresh, is developing InvinsaTM, an agrochemical which promises to increase crop yields by as much as 10% while cutting the demand for water for irrigation. Syngenta’s Gustavo Gonzalez and Sherif Ayoub are responsible for seeing that this remarkable product becomes a major global benefit in the next few years.

06


InvinsaTM protected plants grow taller and produce more of their marketable crop even on farms which would normally rely on irrigation. Its use in the coming years will benefit such regions by reducing their demand for water. InvinsaTM may well come to play a major part in the world’s battle to conserve this essential resource. When plants are under stress they produce a simple hormone: ethylene (aka ethene, C2H4). This tells the plant to stop growing or to come to fruition more rapidly, both of which reduce crop yields. The kinds of stress that plants wrestle with are acute shortages of water, prolonged heat waves, not enough nutrients in the soil, and too high a plant density, all of which might cause C2H4 to be generated. This reduces photosynthesis during the growing phase and stimulates ripening at a later stage. As a result, yields of kernels, pods, or bolls are reduced, farmers lose income, and the world’s needs are not met. So what does ethylene do? It enters dedicated receptors on plant cell membranes and triggers them to act. This effect has been known in the UK since the 1800s when leaks of town gas, which contained a little ethylene, would cause premature leaf drop from city trees. Of course ethylene can be used positively for ripening fruit like apples that have been harvested and stored while they are still green. They can then be made ready for market as required.

collaboration between scientists in the USA, Europe and Israel. They were Edward Sisler of North Carolina State University, Margarethe Serek of The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University of Denmark, Eve Dupille of the Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos, Valencia, Spain, and Raphael Goren of the Hebrew University of Rehovot, Israel.

So far there have been 16 patents issued to cover the use, manufacture, and delivery of 1-MCP (and related compounds) with a further 22 patents pending.

While clearly 1-MCP gas can be used in confined spaces, when it comes to using it in the field a different method of delivery is needed. Alliance scientists have found a way to address the problem. The gist of the invention is to trap the gas inside α-cyclodextrin molecules. These watersoluble carbohydrates are easily made from starch and they have a band-like molecular structure which is able to wrap around smaller molecules. In this way the 1-MCP can be delivered to where it is needed. Meanwhile, research into other formulations is progressing and field trials are planned for crops grown this year, with the emphasis on maize, soya, wheat and cotton, not only in North America but also in other regions and countries. Invinsa™ is a trademark of AgroFresh Inc.

1-MCP has been registered in 30 different countries for post-harvest use, and in the USA, Chile, and Argentina even for pre-harvest use. It is currently marketed as SmartFreshSM Quality System designed to prolong apples in storage and as EthylBlocTM, designed to ensure longevity of cut flowers, the latter use being accepted in South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Sales of InvinsaTM products in 2007 were around $70 million and according to Gustavo Gonzalez it promises “justharvested freshness and high quality”.

SmartFreshSM is a service mark of Agrofresh Inc. EthylBlocTM is a trademark of AgroFresh Inc.

Gustavo Gonzalez is Global Business Manager for Invinsa™. He graduated from Boise State University in

the

USA

with

a

Bachelor

of

Business

Administration / International Business plus he has undertaken several post-graduate studies from INSEAD, Northwestern (Kellogg) and Purdue

In the 1990s, researchers discovered that a simple hydrocarbon known as 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) could block the ethylene receptors thereby preventing the normal response to this gas.

Gustavo: “InvinsaTM has the potential to boost agricultural yields globally. In North America it could find use on eight million hectares of corn, soybean, cotton, cereals and vegetables, and sales are expected to start next year. In South America it could be applied to six million hectares from 2011 onwards, and beginning in 2012 it could well be utilised on around ten million hectares in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Pacific countries. I am anticipating sales could eventually exceed $500 million within ten years.”

They found that bananas exposed to only 1 ppt of this gas would delay ripening for a further 12 days. The lifespan of flowers could be correspondingly lengthened. The effect of 1-MCP came as a result of

Syngenta acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to distribute a sprayable formulation of 1-MCP under the trademark InvinsaTM from Rohm & Haas and its subsidiary AgroFresh in March 2008.

Universities. He joined NK® Seeds in 1985 and has been part of Syngenta since its inception His colleague Sherif Ayoub has a PhD in Pesticides Management from Cairo University. He joined the company in 1986, and eventually became Head of Research at Syngenta’s R&D station in Egypt. He moved to Basel in 2006 as Global Technical Manager and in October 2008 he joined the Global Marketing InvinsaTM team.

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Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

07


Less – more rice

Sharafat Ahmad explains how the Syngenta Foundation worked with local organisations and farmers in India to improve rice yields and save water.

Low and unstable rice yields and lack of employment during the dry season are problems known to many in rural India. Illiteracy and economic insecurity of farmers, coupled with a weakened public extension service and overall under-development in certain regions of India, has kept many farmers, especially resource-poor smallholders, virtually cut off from scientific developments that can help increase agricultural productivity and generate income. The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture established Syngenta Foundation India (SFI) in 2005 to respond to these challenges and to improve the livelihood of smallholders through sustainable innovations in agriculture. Marco Ferroni and Partha DasGupta from the Syngenta Foundation decribe how the Foundation has been working in cooperation with farmers and local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), to establish agricultural and rural development projects in India. Marco explains, “Between 2005 and 2007 SFI established four projects in three states to help farmers develop a sustainable rice programme – the Chandrapur and Jawhar projects in Maharashtra, the Kalahandi project in Orissa and the Bankura project in West Bengal.

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Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

In these locations SFI introduced the technique known as System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to improve productivity.” This article focuses on the Kalahandi project in Orissa, based on an independent evaluation commissioned by the Foundation to assess the outcomes of the four projects. The box on the next page details the principles of SRI. Although proposed in 1983, testing of the system did not occur until some years later. The productivity of SRI is under debate between supporters and critics of the system. Proponents of the method claim that SRI practices lead to healthier, more productive soil and


plants by supporting greater root growth and by nurturing the abundance and diversity of soil organisms. SRI is a step-by-step method of rice cultivation essentially involving the transplanting of no more than two-week old single seedlings 25 cm apart, growing them under alternate wetting and drying. As paddy fields are not continuously flooded, there are water savings estimated between 25 to 50%. However, intermittent flooding means that increased weeding is required, for example using a rotary weeder while facilitating oxygen supply to the roots.

practice and learning. As a result, there have been big improvements in terms of the area under improved varieties, grain production and productivity.” Rice productivity increased by 25% from the pre-project status due to farmers adopting recommended technology. The area under production using hybrid paddy varieties that followed the SRI technique increased by 25% to 15 acres in the project communities, up from 12 acres before the project. Productivity increased by 15% as a result.

SRI does not require the purchase of new seeds or the use of new high-yielding varieties, although higher yields can be obtained from improved varieties. While chemical fertilizer and agrochemicals can be applied, their use is not necessarily required.

can affect the very rigid transplanting schedule under rain-fed conditions. However, we are working to address all these issues through more intensive outreach programmes in which training will include demonstrations integrated with meetings at trial plots to allay these concerns which are expressed by both smallholders and larger commercial farmers.” This Syngenta Foundation India-led initiative has shown how working in partnerships with local farmers can make a big difference to rice production and farmers’ livelihoods. Water is not plentiful during the growing season, and savings of 25-50% in water use are very welcome. The Syngenta Foundation, building on these successes, is forging ahead in India with the aim of reaching ever-growing number of farmers. What is SRI? The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a method

SRI does require skilful management of the factors of production and, at least initially, more labour, particularly for careful transplanting and for weeding. The net result, if done properly, is reduction in plant populations, seed costs savings, proliferation of tillering, vigorous plants with a stronger root system, early emergence of earheads, increased number of bold grains per panicle and, hence, higher yields. SRI is a work in progress, with improvements continually being made, including better implements and techniques that further reduce labour requirements. In Kalahandi, farmers already grew rice and it was very important to work with local knowledge and experience to get everyone on-board with the project. “We worked with local smallholders to introduce the SRI technique,” Partha explains. “We listened to the farmers’ local experience and knowledge which, alongside group training and visits to demonstration sites using SRI techniques, ensured we could share best

As a result of the project, it is estimated that average gross income received by the farmers grew by 15% for highyielding paddies and by 27% for hybrid rice with SRI techniques.

of increasing the yield of rice produced in farming. It was developed in 1983 by the French Jesuit Father Henri de Laulanie in Madagascar. The principles are: • rice field soil is kept moist rather than continuously saturated, minimising anaerobic conditions, as this improves root growth and supports the growth and diversity of aerobic soil organisms; it also saves water; • rice plants are spaced widely in an optimal way to permit more growth of roots and canopy to keep all the leaves photosynthetically active; • rice seedlings are transplanted when young, less than 15 days old with just two leaves, quickly,

Partha says, “These are very heartening successes, showing the potential of SRI. Despite these local successes, we still have challenges ahead. The adoption of SRI remains limited across India. Farmers appreciate the value of SRI techniques due to its lower seed rate, less water requirements, higher number of tillers as well as higher productivity, but more work needs to be done. Key constraints that farms face are availability and training of hired labour during the peak season for the crucial phase of transplantation of seedlings before the seedlings get too old. There are also difficulties in motivating hired labour to be extra cautious in uprooting the tender seedlings for transplanting. Finally, the weather can play its part; the monsoon

carefully, and shallowly to avoid trauma to roots and to minimise transplant shock.

Sharafat Ahmad is Communication Manager for the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. He holds Masters in Business Management from University of Geneva and Environmental Assessment from London School of Economics. Previously, he has worked for CPGmarket.com (Nestlé/Danone), the International Labour Organization, the United Nations and the Mission of Pakistan to the World Trade Organisation.

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Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

09


Pesticides in streams from urban and residential use –

a new challenge

10


Californians opening their morning paper are more and more often reading headlines and “opinions” about some “urban creek” in the State reportedly degraded by the presence of pesticide residues. Similar concerns are being raised across Europe. Is this media exaggeration or a real issue? Paul Hendley provides some background about residues arising from urban pest control and the challenges and opportunities for Syngenta.

The simple answer is that while the facts on these issues are often poorly reported, there are some important questions related to residues of “urban” pesticides getting into water bodies that Syngenta and others are working hard to answer. What are “urban pesticides” and urban creeks? Simply put, urban chemicals are the compounds used to control pests on (e.g. head lice!) or around humans (e.g. rats, ants, mosquitoes), their habitations (e.g. termites and noxious weeds in schoolyards) and recreational areas (e.g. turf and garden products). Many of these products are insecticides and their social and

public

health

benefits

are

considerable. These compounds are

domestic waste and sediment from

from all types of water bodies and, by the

often applied by you and I and our

construction areas are also getting into

late 1990’s, they were finding that

neighbours, but commercial applicators

the same water bodies.

streams draining urban areas had numbers

(e.g. golf course superintendents and Pest Control Operators) probably apply

What has changed?

the majority of these chemicals. Urban

Ten to fifteen years ago, if a pesticide was

creeks can be found in most suburban

already approved for agricultural uses, it

and

levels

of

pesticide

detections very similar to those seen in

and urban areas in the US and Europe;

was typically a simple matter to get it

they are generally small and range from

registered for an “urban” use. No

eyesores sheltering shopping carts and

additional evaluation of the potential for

old car tyres to beautiful settings in public

the compound to impact surface or

parks.

groundwater was conducted since it was assumed that the intense evaluation for

Needless to say, while pesticides are the

safety from agricultural uses covered all

focus of this commentary, increasingly it

other potential uses. However, since

is recognised that a very wide range of

1992, the US Geological Survey (USGS)

anthropogenic chemicals (e.g. caffeine,

have been conducting a massive national

pharmaceuticals and contraceptives,

survey of the condition of streams across

personal care products, fertilizers etc),

the USA in which they analyse samples

fig.1

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

11


agricultural streams (see figure 1). Similar

system due to impermeable “hard”

on

results have since been seen in local and

surfaces (roads, roofs, driveways etc)

weekend days or monthly visits) without

national monitoring programs in Europe

coupled with the fact that drains are

considering forecasted rainstorms.

and elsewhere. More recently, residues of

designed

and

• Homeowners often clean up spills and

insecticides have been found in the bed

everything in it quickly without loss to

driveways by hosing them down. In dry

to

transport

water

constrained

opportunities

(e.g.

sediments of California’s urban creeks at

streams in order to avoid flooding etc.

areas such as California, there is also the

relatively high levels.

These processes tend to “flush” pesticide

phenomenon known as “urban drool” whereby lawn irrigators are not properly managed and give rise to daily runoff events from front yards. • Homeowners often fail to store, handle and dispose of products as required on the label. In contrast, agricultural applications are typically made by trained applicators who tend to store, handle and dispose of products correctly, who are thoroughly cost conscious and do not intentionally apply compounds when their efficacy may be reduced by rainfall. Additionally, the vast majority of chemical is placed at a distance away from field “edges” and is therefore less likely to move off-target. Moreover all rainfall runoff is modified by the ability of tilled soils to infiltrate water and so the fraction of rainfall that runs off

As expected, public reporting of these

on surfaces into streams. Additionally,

agricultural land is much lower than for

detections is frequently slanted to

many urban pesticides are intended to be

hard surfaces. Probably even more

address Non Governmental Organisation

used to directly treat walls and driveways

importantly, the application of pesticides

(NGO)

as well as plants and grasses and the

to soil and plants typically leads to much

pesticides. Nevertheless, these water

fraction that can potentially washoff the

lower runoff/washoff fractions than for

and sediment detections have been

impermeable surfaces is quite high. A

concrete or wall materials.

confirmed and, as a result, industry and

third factor is that the chance of “mis-

academic

application or inappropriate use” of urban

agendas

to

scientists

lobby

are

against

seriously

addressing the challenge of learning

pesticides is higher; there are several

it is important to realise that while the science

more about how the compounds get into

reasons for this;

of pesticide runoff and transport through and

streams and how to minimise their

12

These observations may appear obvious but

across

soils

was

developed

across

occurrence.

• Homeowners

What makes pesticide transport from urban uses different?

(the “more is better” approach).

and when to use compounds as well as the

The magnitude of the residues found is

• The areas treated are often small and so

lack of training mean that predictive

surprising since the total mass of

they have a lot of “edge”. Whenever

modelling for urban pesticide transport has

pesticides used for agriculture greatly

applications are made near an “edge”,

not been well developed.

are

not

trained

decades, there is no equivalent supporting

applicators and often are not financially

science base for urban uses. Moreover the

concerned in the same way as farmers

human element impacting decisions on how

exceeds that used in urban uses and

the chance for off-target movement is

thus similar detection frequencies were

high (e.g. a few lawn granules falling on a

What makes this more complicated

not expected. Urban pesticide transport

driveway or in a gutter are prone to get

than agricultural uses?

is not straightforward but one key

washed off into the drains).

There are many stakeholder groups with

difference is the very high percentage of

• Homeowners and pest control operators

understandable agendas regarding urban

rainfall that runs off to the storm drain

(PCOs) typically make applications based

chemicals. They fall on all sides of the

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009


issue and their goals conflict. Our industry has to find new ways to understanding and alleviating as many concerns as possible. • Consumers and public health officials need to control pests and diseases • The

public

is

concerned

about

“chemicals” and their local environment • Storm water officials are responsible for storm water to be non-toxic to animal life when it enters lakes and streams • Water and sewage treatment officials are responsible for ensuring no regulated chemicals leaving their plants after treatment of domestic water/waste What are we doing about this? Syngenta, as a leader in the Pyrethroid Working Group (PWG), is conducting

What can we do to minimise urban

• Higher water runoff due to the extent of

novel studies to quantify how much

chemical transport?

hard surfaces in urban areas contributes

different chemistries and formulations

As always, there are two elements –

to higher pesticide transport from urban

wash off various types of hard surfaces

education and technical change. There is

uses.

and lawns under California conditions

a really good opportunity for some of our

(figure 2).

formulation

chemists

to

improve

• Modifying application approaches and

formulations to retain efficacy but

formulations offers opportunities for

minimise washoff and to replace the

effective use with reduction of residues

popular granular formulations with less

moving to water.

mobile bur equally consumer friendly alternatives. Similarly, we have to find ways

of

helping

the

consumer

understand to how to choose, use and dispose of their urban pest control products safely and with a mind to fig. 2

reducing water exposure. This presents an exciting opportunity for the next few

Several challenging studies are under

years. Paul Hendley is a Senior Syngenta Fellow in Product

way to investigate how compounds

Safety in Greensboro. He is excited by using linking

move in stream water sediment and how

Take home messages

exposure

well insecticides are removed in water

• Residues from urban pesticide uses are

technologies to extend the results of monitoring

treatment plants. In addition, supporting

frequently found in streams, typically at

monitoring programs to investigate

very low levels. These are stimulating

residues

public and industry efforts to reduce

and

aquatic

community

structure in urban streams have been

modeling

approaches

with

spatial

conducted in Urban and Agricultural settings to meet Regulatory Needs. He applies these approaches to Syngenta pyrethroids as well as Atrazine. Paul was hired at Jealott's Hill in 1975 and then worked Syngenta in Goldsboro (NC) and Richmond (CA)

exposure.

before moving to Greensboro.

underway for the last three years. Surprising results are emerging that

• Syngenta and others are trying to

indicate that lawn uses are probably

identify

ways

to

reduce

sm

residue

minor contributors to urban transport

occurrence while maintaining the social

whereas some of the direct treatments to

public health benefits from using these

hard surfaces lead to more transport than

chemicals

we had expected.

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

13


There’s a better way of assessing

The clamour for ever-more testing of genetically modified (GM) crops results in masses of data, much of it is of little value when it comes to assessing risk. Indeed, it is counterproductive if all it does is add to the regulatory burden and provoke controversy. Alan Raybould explains how Syngenta’s approach is more effective because it is based on a sound scientific principle: search for black swans. 14

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009


Alan Raybould likes to quote the philosopher Karl Popper’s insight that science advances by challenging an hypothesis, not by trying to prove it by collecting evidence in its favour. Popper’s famous example is the hypothesis that all swans are white; this is tested by searching for black (or non-white) swans. It’s Alan’s role to develop environmental risk assessment strategies for Syngenta’s biotech products, and one of his current projects is assessing GM droughttolerant maize, and that’s where he says Popper’s theory should be applied. Alan: “You cannot prove that use of a GM crop is safe but you can be confident that the crop poses a low risk if you have searched hard for harmful outcomes and found none. To be effective, risk assessment has to be based on a rigorous search for black swans (harmful outcomes) and not by gathering a large flock of white ones. It is important to recognise the similarities and the differences between basic scientific research and risk assessment. Both activities formulate and test hypotheses. In research, informative hypotheses make precise predictions and then can be tested. In risk assessment, informative hypotheses are variations on a single negative hypothesis which is that the proposed activity will not cause harm. For risk assessment, it is not necessary to predict exactly what will happen, only whether it is likely to be harmful.” Alan’s view is that many studies of GM crops are irrelevant for risk assessment because they test detailed hypotheses of no change, not hypotheses of no harm. Without a definition of harm, predictions of change that arise from growing a GM crop simply trigger more research to refine the predictions. This increases the costs of development, meaning that fewer GM crops are developed and consequently environmental benefits may be lost. Alan’s objective is to minimise the amount of new data needed, while at the same time satisfying regulators – and Syngenta – that use of a particular GM crop poses low risk.

Alan: “People claim that risk assessment should be completely ‘objective’ or ‘scientific’. This incorrectly implies that what is harmful can be discovered by scientific research, and in any case harm is subjective. Another mistaken belief is that we can prove the safety of a GM crop; thus, the more data we collect, the more we can be assured of safety. Both ideas increase the clamour for more data. We can reduce data requirements by agreeing about what we regard as harm, and investigating pathways by which our GM crop could cause it. We can then test hypotheses that in each potentially harmful pathway there is at least one link in the chain that is absent. A few rigorous tests of such hypotheses can be far more effective in demonstrating low risk than lots of studies that merely investigate change.”

Syngenta is developing a GM maize which maintains its yield during droughts. How do you demonstrate that this crop poses low environmental risk? Alan: “The first step is to test the hypothesis that genetic modification has not unintentionally introduced potentially harmful differences from non-GM maize. The key word is harmful; so you look for agronomic differences that indicate greater potential for “weediness”, or for changes in concentrations of compounds that affect nutritional quality. There really is limited value in screening for changes that you cannot plausibly link to harmful effects.”

concern about drought-tolerant maize is that it could invade dry areas where nonGM maize is unable to grow, and thereby cause damage to natural plant communities. This requires the GM maize to disperse to those dry areas and compete with existing vegetation. The need is for carefully controlled studies which test for there being no increase in seed dispersal and no competitive advantage of the GM over the non-GM maize. In other words it’s a search for black swans. Confusing GM risk assessment with ecological research can lead to many unnecessary field trials that look for effects that lab studies have failed to detect. Alan summarises his view of testing thus: “Ecologists often reject GM risk assessment studies as ‘unrealistic’, because hypotheses which are based on the presence of an effect in the laboratory are often found to be false in the field where other factors are more important. In research you are more likely to find black swans in the field than in the lab. However, in risk assessment, hypotheses predict the absence of effects that could lead to harm; thus, black swans are usually more likely to be found in the lab.” What is clear is that GM risk assessment can learn from ecotoxicology, and from the risk assessment that is carried out on pesticides. And to sum up Alan’s view: if you can’t find the black swan in the lab, don’t go out into to field and start counting white ones.

Alan Raybould is a Syngenta Fellow. He has a first degree in botany from the University of Manchester and a PhD in genetics from the University of Birmingham. Alan then worked for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology for 12 years, before joining

It is also necessary to test whether the intended genetic modification is likely to have harmful environmental effects. One

Syngenta in November 2001. Alan is a recognised expert in environmental risk assessment of GM crops.

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Grass roots

in red soil China

China has 7% of the world’s arable land but has to feed more than 20% of the world’s population. However, the area under cultivation is decreasing due to urbanisation, so it needs technology to increase output and to make agriculture sustainable. In the past 20 years, no-tillage farming has been introduced which provides economic, social and environmental benefits. Jeff Au and his team are promoting the benefits of Syngenta’s herbicide Gramoxone® in no-till agriculture.

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According to Jeff: “It is a long march to develop and promote conservation agriculture in China although the environmental benefit is significant. The majority of growers are smallholders and what they want to see are financial benefits.” Jeff initiated a major project in 2003 which was designed to generate data about water and soil conservation and nutrient loss, by comparing the various ways in which weeds could be dealt with. The project was undertaken in the mountainous upstream areas of the Yangtze river, where soil erosion was a problem. The research involved two peach orchards and two tea plantations on markedly sloping land. The plots were weeded in different ways: by hand; by cutting and mulching; or by applying either Gramoxone® or glyphosate or a combination of the two. Six plots were marked out in both the orchards and the plantations and these were surrounded by a retaining wall which directed run-off to a tank, the contents of which could be analysed. The benefits of using a herbicide soon became obvious. For example, water run-off from land with a slope of 25 degrees and weeded by hand was 427 m3 per hectare per year, whereas using Gramoxone® it was only 224. Loss of topsoil using traditional farming was 227 tonnes per square kilometer compared to only 132 tonnes with Gramoxone®. ®

Gramoxone has unique attributes, namely broad spectrum, fast action, rainfastness, and the fact that its active agent, paraquat, is deactivated on contact with soil so it presents no threat to the new crop. Weed burn-down before seeding is the key factor to success of no-tillage technology, and field work can begin 1-3 days after spraying. Along the Yangtze river, the annual notillage pattern is as follows: first the crop is wheat or canola (rape) in autumn, then rice in summer, then one or more crops of vegetable – either tillage or no-tillage –

which can be followed by leaving the land fallow for a month or two. Then it’s finally back to wheat or canola again. In the traditional rice growing, the soil is flooded with water during the transplanting. Water is saved in no-till rice growing and there is an estimated saving of 113 kilogram of water per Mu of paddy field (equivalent to 670 m2) The yield from such a field will be 400–500 kg of rice. No-till farming has three effects: (1) on the soil, the improvement of which provides a better environment for rice root development; (2) crop physiology which provides a good balance between vegetative and reproductive growth, leading to higher grain weight; and (3) in the planting which takes the form of early planting, transplanting with soil on root, and transplanting in a shallow position instead of the conventional deep planting underwater. There are also other benefits. Farmers usually burn the straw of rice but now it is returned to the field and increases organic matter in the soil. If the rice straw is laid on the no-tillage wheat soil bed after the seed sowing, it also inhibits the re-germination of weeds during the growing period and eliminates the use of other herbicides.

breaking toil of weeding by hand. The active ingredient is paraquat which only affects the green parts of plants sprayed, and because it has no effect on trees it can be used to weed areas of olive trees, coffee trees, and grapevines. Red China In the southern parts of China there are 2.18 million km2 of red soils, which account for one fifth of the country's land area where 480 million people live. These red soil areas have 28 million hectares of cultivated land providing half of the state's total agricultural output and feeding nearly half the population. The red soil regions are important for forests, fruit trees, cash crops and cereals, but there are constraints on food production due to soil infertility, acidity, and aridity.

Jeff Au is a graduate of the National Taiwan University, where he majored in plant protection and entomology. In 1984 he began working for ICI, now part of Syngenta, and he is now Head of the Regulatory & Technical Division and based in Pudong, near Shanghai. His objective is to

Jeff: “More work will be needed as we discover more about the saving that can be made on labour, fuel, cattle, fertilizer and water. There is now increased awareness of no-till in agricultural production at all levels of land management, including government. The partnership with the crop protection industry is important in securing the mutual benefit to be gained in developing this kind of conservation agriculture.”

encourage no-till farming in China by demonstrating that it conserves water, minimises soil erosion, reduces labour and fuel costs, and increases crop yields. Working with Jeff are Lian Huang, whose speciality is no-tillage growing technology in Sichuan, and Cai Yang, who deals with no-tillage rice but in southern China as well as no-tillage corn growing on sloping fields. Also on the team are Ducai Liu, who looks after no-tillage technology for cotton, wheat, canola and rice in the Yangtze river area, and Xinsuo Hu, whose focus is no-tillage corn for the Yellow river delta.

Gramoxone®… … has been helping farmers around the world since the 1960s and is now used by millions of growers in more that 120 countries. It offers three benefits: (1) extremely safe to crops; (2) no residues to be found in the crop; and (3) the weed roots remain intact, contributing to soil conservation. And it replaces the back-

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Waste

matters too The days of macro pollution of Swiss rivers and lakes are long gone; today micro pollution is the environmental issue. Syngenta’s Münchwilen Technology and Projects (T&P) site has been successfully dealing with its waste water and meeting its obligations for many years thanks to dedicated solutions and a team of specialists. Directing Syngenta’s efforts at Münchwilen is Urs Gysel.

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Waste water treatment is high on the agenda at Münchwilen where waste water undergoes state-of-the-art treatment so it can be safely discharged to the sewer system, although some requires special treatment at offsite waste water facilities. Failing either of these options then it is destroyed by sending it to the incinerator. Dealing with waste water requires a combination of efficient processes and specific pre-treatment so that the company can fulfil its social responsibility to protect the aquatic environment.

possible impact of micro-pollution. Syngenta Münchwilen not only monitors all its waste water, but we are also actively searching for ways to reduce water consumption in process development and at site level.”

Urs: “Authorities are now demanding better waste water treatment. There is a shift from regulating the effluent to demanding to know what effect any pollutants it contains will have on the aquatic environment. Our answer is better awareness and research into the

“Within Syngenta, Münchwilen is a global development centre, and a strategic site, and is part of the global organisation of

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009


Technology and Projects. Its main role is the integrated development of chemical processes and products for Syngenta Crop Protection. Waste water management is a key part of the company’s manufacturing process.” Five functions are located at Münchwilen and each uses water differently. These are Chemical Process Development, Formulation Development, Analytical Development and Product Chemistry, and Site Services. Each makes an important contribution to the design and development of new products. The small HSE team is involved in different ways. One is operational involvement with waste management on-site. Another has investigators looking to find the best way to ensure the waste water is legally compliant and that its disposal is done in the most cost-effective way. Their work involves close collaboration with the pilot plants and the development chemists. Chemical pilot plant procedures have to be signed off by HSE before starting up.

Water on site is segregated according to its use and degree of pollution. Cooling water is taken from the Rhine, supplied by the Sisseln production site of DSM Nutritional Products, at a rate of 254,000 m3 per year, and is returned to the river, but not before it has been checked twice, once before it leaves the site and then again before it goes back into the Rhine. Mains water is used only when necessary but still accounts for 16,400 m3 per year. Some of this is drinking water (2,700 m3 per year) and it exits via the sewer system to be treated at the municipal waste water treatment plant which is on the German side of the Rhine. The rest is used for manufacturing processes, laboratory research and for cleaning. Waste water from these activities ends up as two different water streams; low level contaminated water and a more contaminated water stream. The latter

comes from the process plant and is collected separately. Both streams are sent to the fully automated waste water pre-treatment plant. This was built in 1991 and even today it is still state of the art.

support the development chemists to develop specific waste-water treatments and we also use external specialists to find the best solution before the process is handled over to the production sites.

So what is the science behind the water clean-up? First there is neutralisation and flocculation, followed by biological treatment to break down any degradable, soluble organic content it contains by passing it through three in-series fixed-bed bioreactors (each 30 m3).

This arrangement guarantees to control the acceptable burden of 100 g of a single waste substance per day and is achieved by the care and high level of expertise of all employees on the Münchwilen site. Monitoring is performed using GC/MS analysis to give additional information about the behaviour of intermediates, degradation intermediates or active ingredients which may pass through the pre-treatment plant at a low level. If these analytical techniques uncover a micro pollutant then measures have to be taken either at source or by introducing special cleaning process such as additional sedimentation.”

Next there is a separation step to remove the bacteria which is done by micro filtration. It is then passed down two towers filled with activated charcoal. After a final neutralisation step a lot of this water (13,700 m3) can then be discharged to the public sewer system. The degree of elimination of pollutants is 90–95% based on its total organic carbon. Pre-treatment may be required to remove undesirable compounds by extraction or by stripping-off volatile solvent traces before sending it to the pre-treatment plant. Occasionally the quantity of waste water and its organic pollutants is too high for the pre-treatment plant so it goes to an off-site water treatment plant.

Thanks to Urs and his team at Münchwilen, the problem of waste water is dealt with and every care is taken to minimise water waste to ensure that the environment, into which it is finally discharged, is properly protected.

Urs Gysel has worked in the industry since he obtained his PhD in 1991 from ETH, the Swiss Federal Technical Institute in Zürich. From there he went to Sandoz in Muttenz, and in 1997 he moved, with the merger of Ciba and Sandoz to form Novartis, to Münchwilen where he was employed as a development chemist whose job included process

In the early steps of development of a manufacturing process, the waste water is sent to the incinerator. The reason is that the necessary data concerning the toxicology and properties of the substances it contains are as yet unknown. Degradation tests and analysis are not an option because at this stage there are on-going changes to the process and the things being discharged. Urs: “During process development, HSE

(scale-up) development and plant introductions. In addition he became the environmental officer at both Münchwilen and Schweizerhalle. Today Urs is based at Münchwilen as Head of HSE (Health, Safety and Environment).

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Saving by sowing drought-resistant seeds

All over the world vast amounts of water are used to grow crops. Syngenta scientists have modified maize (corn) so that it has a built-in tolerance to drought and should be launching this in the next few years with even better strains to follow by 2016.

Tremendous variation for drought tolerance exists within both elite and wild (aka landraces) maize. However, selection for improved drought tolerance has always proven to be difficult for plant breeding because Nature rarely cooperates with drought scientists. The locations, timing, and severity of drought stress vary from year-to-year which makes it impossible for breeders to select for this challenging trait. So how do you create the drought conditions necessary for testing new strains? That was the problem facing Chris Zinselmeier who is Program Leader of the Water Optimisation Project at the research facility at Slater, Iowa. Today the company has MSE (managed stress environment) facilities which can do just that. Chris: “In order to carry out reliable drought simulation and crop testing we needed to identify locations where it did not rain during the growing season and where the only water the crop received was the water delivered via irrigation. These MSE locations provide control so that reliable and efficient screening can be replicated over time so we could make selection gains.� The development of MSEs has been led by Hua-ping Zhou in the Traits and Technology group, and the various MSE sites in North and South America now deliver consistent and reproducible drought stress for the project teams to use for screening germplasm.

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So-called dryland corn, which is grown without irrigation, can yield around 150 bushels per acre1 whereas when it is irrigated then this can be 250, such is the importance of water. If it were possible to increase the yield of corn by planting a more drought-tolerant variety then yields might well increase with less irrigation needed and this would clearly be of benefit not only to US farmers, but wherever drought is a threat. The number one priority was to identify native trait genes which could be linked to a plant’s ability to survive lack of water, then to introduce these into elite maize and check whether it gave the desired result. Potential candidate genes were identified and grouped into sets. One


resistance and glyphosate tolerance with additional traits being added in 2012. Chris: “The goals for the native traits water optimisation project are (1) to deliver validated gene sequences and verify them in elite germplasm; (2) to deliver tools to Product Development which enables selection of optimal genes; (3) to use markers/optimal genes in the development of commercial germplasm; and (4) to continue to develop managed stress environment trials that can ensure the reliable delivery of target drought stress treatments in test sites both in the US and in Chile.”

What Syngenta has been able to achieve by re-introducing native traits to existing maize will also be extended to GM maize. This will allow other ways of combating water stress to be built in.

such set was composed of 96 genes. Work on that started in 2003 and it has been screened under MSE and this has identified genes which were shown to deliver an extra 9 bushels per acre under drought conditions. In a couple of years Syngenta is on track to be offering its new varieties to farmers all across the Corn Belt. This effort is led by Chris and team mate Tom Prest (MGD scientist, Slater, Iowa) and they will soon have data quantifying the value of these genes in the novel germplasm currently being developed. The initial germplasm pool will be limited but widely adapted. The new seed will be introduced with a complement of transgenic traits such as corn-borer resistance, rootworm

The selection of GM strategies, led by Mike Nuccio and Xi Chen at SBI, will concentrate on flowering and ear development, root growth and uptake, transpiration through leaves, and photosynthesis. Plants are particularly vulnerable to lack of water at the flowering stage, and this is the current focus of the research. Later in the cycle, roots are the key to survival, so ways of improving root growth, root biomass, and root depth, along with improved nutrient uptake might be incorporated. Water loss from leaves is also a factor and reducing this might well be possible by reducing the density of stomata, from which water escapes. Then of course there is photosynthesis itself which ideally should continue as normal. Not all this research will be done at Syngenta. Chris: “We have established links with university researchers and are seeking industry partners for the native traits and GM projects, 15 such links have already been established. The GM Water Optimisation Project has an objective to deliver a 25% yield bonus over conventional hybrids under drought conditions and yet there must be no yield

penalty under normal, full irrigation, growing conditions. What we hope to achieve could be one of the biggest water-saving efforts in US farming, and around the world in areas where drought is an ever-present threat.” The native traits team has a commercialisation sub-team with the remit of water optimisation and this is led by Wayne Fithian. They have developed a valuation model for water optimisation across a range of environment types. A network of managed stress environment sites was established in 2007 with three of them in Chile and all with drip-tape irrigation to enable the control and measurement of water delivered to any section of the site at any growth stage. An automated irrigation system has been designed and installed at LaSalle. Land has also been leased at Gilroy, California, for the 2008 trials, and a new testing station has been opened at Sutherland, Nebraska. By 2016 Syngenta aims to have available GM strains which will be even better at growing under drought conditions. To demonstrate that these new strains will produce the hoped-for benefits requires research facilities to prove they work, and that is just what Syngenta now has. 1

Maize is measured not by weight but by volume, and an Imperial bushel is equivalent to 36.4 litres. Land in the US is measured in acres, equivalent to 0.40 hectare. Thus 150 bushel per acre is equivalent to 13,650 litres per hectare.

Chris Zinselmeier did his PhD at the University of Minnesota studying agronomy and plant genetics and graduated in 1991. He then did a post-doc with drought physiologist Dr. John Boyer in 1994, after which he went to work for Pioneer Hi-Bred® from 1995 to 2006. Chris joined Syngenta in April 2006 and now he’s leading a team whose aim is to make a significant contribution to reducing irrigation in the US Corn Belt, where water is limited and yet the demand for maize is increasing as both a food resource and for bioethanol. Pioneer Hi-Bred is a trademark of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

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It’s no go unless you pass the

The solubility of an agrochemical is of primary importance and one of the first properties which needs to be assessed. However, measuring this is slow using traditional methods, so Syngenta relies on the programs developed by Eric Clarke and John Delaney which quickly predict the water solubility of promising leads.

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Solubility in water is arguably the key physical property that has to be assessed at all stages in the development of bioactive compounds. For a drug or an agrochemical to have a biological effect it has to be available at an effective concentration at the active site of the target species. This invariably involves its solubility in aqueous media such as blood in mammals and xylem sap in plants. Even before a bioactive compound is optimised for use, its solubility in water – or lack of it – will have played a role in screening. This information will impact on its selection for progression, on its formulation options, and on the overall assessment of its movement, as well as on its metabolic, toxicological and environmental profiles. And that’s where Eric Clarke and John Delaney enter the picture. For any biologically active product, whether pharmaceutical or agrochemical, the water solubility required is dependent upon its permeability, which reflects its uptake within the organism, and its potency. For a drug of average permeability and potency the minimum solubility requirement is generally around 50 parts per million (ppm)1, although it can be as low as 1 ppm for compounds of high permeability and high potency. For most herbicides, systemic fungicides, and insecticides, solubility exceeds 1ppm. The table shows the wide range of water solubilities measured for some active ingredients in commercial products. Active ingredient Water solubility (ppm) Activity

azoxystrobin

6

fungicide

metalaxyl-M

26,000

fungicide

lambda-cyhalothrin

0.005

insecticide

thiamethoxam

4,100

insecticide

fluazifop-P-butyl

2

herbicide

S-metolachlor

480

herbicide

Both low and high solubility in water are important for agrochemicals; low solubility could limit performance of a fungicide or insecticide to those effects which arise from direct contact, while high solubility could lead to variable field performance and regulatory issues. Low solubility might impinge on their potential

for systemicity, i.e. movement within the plant, while high solubility might affect their rain-fastness and leaching to ground water following application to foliage and soils. Assessing the solubility of a chemical is not as easy as it seems. In principle, the water solubility of a compound can be measured by analysing its concentration in a saturated solution. However, this is time consuming. Even so, the Physical Chemistry Team at Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre, in the UK, measures around 500 such solubilities a year. Eric: “What complicates things are factors such as compound purity, physical form (oil, gum, solid), molecular form (isomerisation), ionisation (acidbase) and hydrolytic stability. All can influence the values obtained and this leads to a considerable number of anomalies in published data.” John also appreciates the problem: “Clearly this is very frustrating to a computational chemist seeking to build a credible predictive model for solubility based on theoretical principles. The challenge was to find a reliable alternative way of determining solubility values.” The Physical Chemistry Team used to deploy a high throughput solubility method based on a light-scattering technique using serial dilutions in water of DMSO stock solutions of the chemical concerned. However, this method is no longer used due to inconsistencies in the data attributed to problems with stored DMSO solutions and the relatively low concentrations involved of 1 to 100 ppm.

Eric: “The measurement of melting points can be a stumbling block because a compound submitted for initial screening often comes as a ‘high energy’ amorphous gum rather than as a ‘low energy’ crystalline solid, although this changes towards the latter as research progresses.” Syngenta now uses a 4-parameter computation method called ESOL which was developed by John following a critical review by Eric of the in-house solubility database. The log P input is ELOGP, which is the average value obtained from three distinctly different approaches. Both the ELOGP and ESOL methods have been peer reviewed and are widely acknowledged as high quality prediction methods for log P and water solubility. They simply require the input of chemical structures and the method, known as Solstice, is accessible via the Syngenta web. 1

Parts per million are equivalent to micrograms per

millilitre (µg/ml) which is like 1 drop in a 50 litre fuel tank. At the average molecular weight of 300 for an active concentration would be 100 µM at a solubility of 30 ppm. ingredient in agrochemical products the molar

Eric Clarke joined ICI Paints Division as a schoolleaver in 1970 and by part-time study obtained a degree in chemistry. Then from 1975 he worked at the Cancer Research Campaign Gray Laboratory, and in 1980 obtained an MPhil. He re-joined ICI in their Plant Protection Division in 1986 and is now a

The classic way to calculate water solubility is to use the so-called General Solubility Equation (GSE).This combines melting point as a measure of the energy required to break the crystal lattice, with the octanol-water partition coefficient, P, expressed as logP, which reflects a chemical’s affinity for lipids relative to water. The GSE relationship shows that solubility decreases by a factor of 10 when either the melting point increases by 100°C, or when logP increases by 1.

Senior Physical Chemistry Consultant and Project Leader. John Delaney graduated from the University of Leeds in 1986 with a degree in biophysics and went to work for the molecular modelling group at ICI Plant Protection Division. He is now a Computational Chemistry Consultant.

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Possible impacts of

on global agriculture Dennis McLaughlin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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An external perspective As an innovation in this and future editions of Science Matters, the editorial team will be asking key leaders from outside the company to give an external perspective on the magazine’s theme. This time Dennis McLaughlin from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) talks about his research on water, agriculture and climate change Climate change is often associated in the popular imagination with warming temperatures, melting icecaps and rising sea levels. Somewhat less attention is typically given to an impact that could have especially important consequences for humanity – changes in global agriculture. The current global distribution of crops reflects a complex interaction between climatic factors such as the intensity and timing of precipitation and seasonal variability in temperature as well as soil and plant properties, topography and competition for ecological niches. This interaction of many uncertain and changing factors makes it difficult to predict how agriculture will be affected by climate change, particularly at continental and regional scales. Before considering what might happen in the future it is useful to review what has happened in the recent past. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes in their most recent report (WG1, AR4) several trends that are relevant to agriculture (IPCC, 2007): • There has been an accelerating warming trend in global mean surface temperatures over the last 100 years (currently about 0.13 °C per decade), with increases greater over land. Extreme temperatures (lows and highs) have also increased and the number of frost-free days in mid-latitude regions has increased. These temperature changes are consistent with observed changes in ice cover and sea level. • Precipitation has generally increased in extra-tropical regions over the last 100 years but it has decreased in the tropics

since the 1970s. Drier regions include the Sahel, the Mediterranean, southern Africa, parts of southern Asia, and (recently) Australia. Since the 1970s droughts have generally become more intense, of longer duration, and more widespread. • Global and regional potential 1 evapotranspiration values (which are estimated indirectly from other meteorological variables) do not reveal any clear trends. Streamflow records show significant variability over historicalperiods and also do not generally display any obvious trends. Although historical observations do not present a clear picture of changing agricultural conditions on a global scale they do confirm the impression that decreasing rainfall and more severe droughts have had an adverse effect on agriculture in regions such as the Sahel and some parts of Africa and Asia. These regional shifts in climate could reflect the impact of land use changes as well as the greenhouse gas emissions. In order to go beyond historical observations to predictions we need to consider the physical and ecological processes that control climate. This is typically done with the aid of general circulation models (GCMs). These models rely on established physical principles such as conservation of mass, momentum, and energy. But there are significant differences in the way these principles are applied and in the amount of detail used to describe factors such as clouds, vertical variability in the oceans, the carbon cycle, and the role of vegetation in land-atmosphere interactions. These differences lead to variability in the predictions generated by different models. The IPCC AR4 report describes climate forecasts from a number of GCMs developed by different international research organisations. The models have been successfully tested by checking their ability to reproduce direct observations over the historical record

(generally 100-200 years) as well as indirect observations from the distant past (thousands to millions of years). However, most modellers (including those who wrote the IPCC report) agree that GCM predictions are better suited for revealing global scale trends than for identifying specific changes in particular regions. The global scale climate predictions described in the IPCC AR4 report are consistent with the historical trends summarised above. They indicate that it is likely that temperature will increase, more on land than the ocean, with the largest increases in polar regions. Heat waves will be more intense and of longer duration. Global precipitation will increase overall but with greater regional variability and with more extreme events (droughts and floods). Predicted changes in precipitation have important implications for agriculture, at least as important as likely changes in temperature. Figure 1 (on the next page), from IPCC (2007), gives a consensus picture of predicted changes in global December-January-February (DJF) precipitation (upper half) and in JuneJuly-August (JJA) precipitation (lower half). These changes are obtained by comparing predictions from all the IPCC models for the 1980-1999 baseline period to those for the period 2080-2099. Drier growing season conditions are likely in much of the subtropics, with notable exceptions in east Asia, east Africa and north-western South America. Although the details might be debated, GCM predictions of precipitation, temperature, droughts and storm frequency suggest that there could be significant shifts in crop patterns. Generally speaking, growing conditions are likely to become more favourable in northern latitudes and east Asia and less favorable in parts of Africa and central Asia. The specific nature of agricultural changes in much of North America, Europe and the Amazon is uncertain. However, it appears that climate change may have adverse effects on some

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critical less-developed regions that support populations highly dependent on subsistence agriculture. It is instructive to consider in more detail how climate models differ in their predictions of the hydrologic fluxes most relevant to agriculture. As an example, Ng (2008) used predictions from five different GCM’s to examine climate impacts at a dryland cotton-growing site in the US Southern High Plains (SHP). The GCM predictions were combined with a land surface model that keeps track of soil moisture, groundwater recharge, and evapotranspiration during the growing season. The five models are classified by their predictions as “Wet” (wetter than today throughout much of the year), “Intense” (unchanged annual precipitation but higher intensity during Spring and Autumn), “Seasonal” (unchanged annual precipitation with wetter summers and drier winters), “All Dry” (somewhat drier throughout the year) and “Driest” (much drier winter with a wet August).

Figure 2 shows that all the models predict significant changes in important hydrologic fluxes, including precipitation, growing season actual evapotranspiration (crop AET), and groundwater recharge. However, the specific nature of these changes differs considerably across models. In the “Wet” case higher precipitation gives higher crop AET and significantly higher groundwater recharge, reflecting intensification of the hydrologic cycle. On the other hand, in the “Seasonal” scenario approximately the same increase in precipitation gives an increase in crop AET but a decrease in recharge. The “Driest” scenario gives a dramatic 80% decrease in recharge in response to a 25% decrease in annual precipitation. Ng suggests that the strong correlation of crop AET with precipitation indicates that the SHP study site is moisture, rather than energy, limited. As a result, crop AET is more sensitive to precipitation change than to temperature change. Climate-

induced changes in crop productivity may depend on factors other than moisture and temperature, including increased levels of atmospheric CO2 and changes in soil nutrients or other environmental factors that are indirectly related to climatic conditions. Nevertheless, an analysis of moisture availability provides important insight about the prospects for dryland agriculture.

Figure 2. Percent changes in average annual hydrologic fluxes between the periods 1980-1999 and 2080-2099, from five typical climate models (Ng, 2008).

Ng’s results indicate that the hydrologic and agricultural effects of climate change depend greatly on the timing and intensity of precipitation. If rainfall shifts from the winter to the growing season most of it will be taken up by crops, increasing crop AET but reducing recharge. If rainfall increases in the winter and spring before crops mature a greater percentage is likely to go to recharge. Groundwater recharge is an important source of water for irrigated agriculture, especially in semi-arid parts of Africa and India. Recharge in such areas tends to occur in relatively infrequent (episodic) pulses after especially intense rainfall. Slight changes in the timing and intensity of rainfall can have a disproportionate impact on both recharge and soil moisture. The dramatic differences in the predictions of five typical models from the IPCC family of GCMs suggest that it is not yet possible to identify the effects of climate change at regional scales. Climate models are being continually improved and new data sources are

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Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009


becoming available. But it is also possible that the amplification of extremes observed in the recent past and forecast for the future may make accurate predictions even more difficult. So, what can we say now, considering that GCM predictions are uncertain and diverse? There appears to be broad agreement that there will be significant changes in the average intensity, amount and seasonal distribution of rainfall. Together, these changes are likely to be accompanied by major changes in global cropping patterns and farming practices. In addition, it is likely that extreme events, especially droughts and severe storms, will increase in frequency and severity. This could increase the risk of crop losses. Major seasonal shifts in rainfall could make it necessary to move to irrigated agriculture in areas where dryland farming is currently feasible. This could increase dependence on groundwater supplies and require increases in water storage (either surface or subsurface) so rains during the nongrowing season can be captured for use during the growing season. New crops, increased risk from climatic extremes and greater dependence on irrigated agriculture will all make life more difficult for farmers. Although the underlying climate changes will take place over an extended period (perhaps a few generations) it will take time for farming communities and industry to adapt and uncertainties will make longterm planning difficult. The best way to prepare for climate change is to increase the robustness of vulnerable agricultural systems now, as a hedge against a range of possible futures. This implies a move towards greater diversity of crops, with an emphasis on hardiness and adaptability, especially in heavily populated regions where local production is important for survival.

for robust crops and energy efficient practices could present an opportunity as well as a challenge for industry. There will likely be demand for new products and a competitive advantage for those who are best able to cope with change.

Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning (eds.)], 2007. Figure 1 is from the IPCC Climate Change Report Chapter 11 FAQ11.1 Figure 1 Page 865. Ng, Gene-Hua Crystal, Probabilistic estimation and

If current climate models are correct the climate will change in coming decades even if stringent measures are taken to reduce carbon emissions. There will probably be major shifts in global crop patterns and farming practices by the end of this century. Fortunately, IPCC predictions suggest that these changes will be manageable, so long as the agricultural community takes a proactive stance that emphasizes robustness, flexibility, and food security.

prediction of groundwater recharge in a semi-arid environment, PhD dissertation, Dep. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT. 2008. 1

Evapotranspiration is a term used to describe the

sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the earth's land surface to the atmosphere. Evaporation accounts for the movement of water to the air from sources such as the soil, and water. Transpiration accounts for the movement of water within a plant and the subsequent loss of water as vapor through stomata in its leaves. Evapotranspiration is an important part of the water cycle.

References Christensen, J.H., B. Hewitson, A. Busuioc, A. Chen, X. Gao, I. Held, R. Jones, R.K. Kolli, W.-T. Kwon, R. Laprise, V. Magaña Rueda, L. Mearns, C.G. Menéndez, J. Räisänen, A. Rinke, A. Sarr and P. Whetton, 2007: Regional Climate Projections. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel

Dennis McLaughlin is the H.M. King Bhumibol

on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M.

Professor of Water Resource Management at the

Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) His principle

Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University

research

Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York,

assimilation, water and agriculture, and real-time control”

interests

include

environmental

data

NY, USA.

sm IPCC, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth

In the long run, agricultural practices will probably also need to deal with higher fossil fuel and fertilizer prices, particularly if policy measures are taken to discourage carbon emissions. The need

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

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Out and About Our intrepid reporters, Carolyn Riches and Ashley Collins have been tracking down some more interesting things which Syngenta people have been involved in.

Unexpected find brings poppy power “This is a novel, world first use for Moddus®,” says Matt Sheriff, Field Crops Strategic Market Sector Leader (APAC). Syngenta scientists have been working in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline to develop an unexpected use for Trinexapac-ethyl, (Moddus® 250EC), a Syngenta plant growth regulator. Applied to poppies (Papaver somniferum) in Tasmania to prevent lodging, routine plant analysis has also shown it enhances the content and yield of thebaine – a raw material used in the production of many high value analgesic preparations and related medicinal compounds.

in 2008 surpassed all forecasts, with production lines running at full capacity. But what happens if part of the supply chain breaks down unexpectedly? This nightmare came true for the EAME Supply Chain last year. The Polytrin (profenofos and lambda-cyhalothrin) production line suddenly went out of service just as a strategically important tender for the Eastern European Markets had to be delivered.

Moddus® prevents lodging in poppy and enhances thebaine production From left to right: Kurt Bächtold, Markus Käser, Toni Trotta and Ralf Hermann stand next to the first batches of Polytrin

Moddus® changes the alkaloid profile. “This is a good example of applied crop enhancement (ACE), and good news for Syngenta, our collaborators and the grower,” says Mike Robinson Technology Analyst, Jealott’s Hill, UK. Tasmanian production satisfies 50% of licit world opiate requirements, with the demand for thebaine reaching values of $2,000 (Australian) per hectare. Moddus® also shows positive effects when applied to sugar cane (lengthening the growing period and enhancing sugar yield) and to ryegrass (improving seed set and yield by 25-70%). Mike: “Our challenge is in understanding the effects and how to make them viable. It shows great potential beyond Crop Protection Research.” Fast route to success The demand for crop protection products

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“Having evaluated the options, the best commercial solution was to engage the Münchwilen Synthesis Pilot Plant,” says Robert Haessig, Head of Process Technology (Münchwilen). This is normally used for piloting new chemical processes, small-scale production and third party manufacturing. Fast acting EAME teams (including expertise in Logistics, Formulation and Analytics) sprang into immediate action to bring the Pilot Plant up to the standard required for the large-scale Polytrin insecticide production. “Involving the Plant Operator Team throughout meant we quickly solved issues, e.g. Health and Safety, and were highly motivated to deliver,” says Ralf Hermann, Münchwilen Pilot Plant Assistant. Flexibility and co-operation between key departments was paramount. “We delivered one workflow process in five days (normally four weeks) and the first batch of Polytrin was analysed for quality in just 15 days!” exclaims Ralf. Within three weeks, customer demand had

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

been met with 60 tons of safely produced Polytrin. To find out more, contact Ralf Hermann. The future’s bright (and bushy) …especially for Syngenta Poinsettia Breeders at Hillsheid, Germany. “Poinsettia breeding and production is very intricate,” says Katharina Zerr (Plant Breeder, Hillsheid). "Genetic variation is very low. Also, plants require precise conditions of 18-20ºC, plus less than 12 hours daylight to flower. This makes it difficult to breed for new characteristics such as colour, and explains why most poinsettias on sale are red or white." But Katharina and her colleagues have the technology and expertise to make a difference. New colour varieties are developed by exposing young cuttings to irradiation, causing a mutation in the colour genes. The plants flower, and fresh cuttings are taken from those with the desired traits. “We’ve bred purple, pink, orange and even spotted red-white poinsettias!” Katharina continues.

The spotted red-white (Glitter) Poinsettias have been bred by Syngenta Flowers (Hillsheid, Germany

Bushier plants are also being developed at Hillsheid. Cuttings from plants that have that have poor branching are grafted onto root stock infected with a phytoplasma, which enhances branching. Katharina: "Syngenta Flowers sells 30 million poinsettias in Europe alone – a quarter of the total European market. To


maintain these sales we're developing a host of new colours and shapes." The 'new-look’ poinsettias will be hitting Europe’s garden centres over the next few years. To find out more, contact Katharina Zerr. More beans for Brazil Getting the timing of herbicide application right in dry bean crops can really make a difference to yield for Brazilian subsistence farmers. Syngenta worked with the Paraná State Government to set up demonstration plots as part of project ‘More Beans’(Mais Feijão). Here, bean farmers saw that a single early application of Fusilade® (Fluazifop-p-butyl) or Flex® (fomesafen) can increase yield by three times. Brazilian bean growers view Syngenta crop protection demonstration plots

Fusilade® and Flex® control both grass and broadleaf weeds. The weeds need to be sprayed when they reach the right growth stage. This enhances the efficacy of the herbicide active ingredients and gives the best performance. Flex® also has soil activity, so provides control over a longer period. And a better yield means a better income. In 2007 alone, project ‘More Beans’ meant that 2,400 Brazilian dry bean farmers benefited from the extra crop to support their families. The success of the project has meant that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank want to expand the concept in Africa and Latin America. Contact Nemora Reche for more information. A bountiful harvest for Enzymes business The Syngenta Enzymes Business is celebrating another successful regulated Corn Amylase harvest, the third in three years and one of the largest in company history. The Corn Amylase output trait holds the potential to improve efficiency and productivity of dry grind ethanol plants, and producing large amounts of grain while still under US Department of Agriculture oversight is critical to proving the technology commercially.

By expressing an enzyme called “alphaamylase” directly in corn grain, Syngenta scientists have developed a novel approach to improving production of ethanol. Alpha-amylase works by converting starch to fermentable sugars and allows for a more rapid conversion of starch to sugar. Lowering both water and energy use, Corn Amylase will improve the bottom line of processing plants and help to improve the carbon footprint made by ethanol production; making the industry more sustainable.

environmentally and agriculturally Sustainable Management Practices (SMPs) that directly benefit waterfowl and wildlife.

Syngenta and Ducks Unlimited Canada partner together to protect waterfowl habitats

Combines harvest regulated fields of Corn Amylase in October 2008

A total of 2.7 million bushels of Corn Amylase were harvested from 15,000 acres this year at an average of 180.2 bushels/acre. Over the past three years, a total of 4.2 million bushels of regulated Corn Amylase grain have been produced, enabling a critical full-scale commercial trial at a 40 million gallon ethanol plant. A second trial began in January. “We are excited about the potential of Corn Amylase and optimistic about the final push toward the first commercial planting in 2010,” says Neal Briggi, Head of Enzymes, SBI. “With this technology, Syngenta is positioned to be on the forefront for the next generation of renewable fuels.” Most impressively, however, all of this effort was completed without a single accident or stewardship issue! Partnering with Ducks Unlimited Syngenta Crop Protection, Canada is continuing to build upon their partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). Ducks Unlimited, an international wetlands and waterfowl conservation group in Canada and the United States, approached Syngenta in 2003 as a possible partner to help solve land and water management problems.

Examples of sustainable management practices include summer and winter remote livestock watering systems, wetland restriction fences, and development of comprehensive grazing plans. Additionally, the restoration of drained wetlands and the incorporation of winter wheat into the farmers’ crop rotations are also part of the program. Syngenta works with participating growers to host tours of their farms to showcase the adopted sustainable practices and has organised other fund raising events for DUC to bring awareness of the program. Through the recognition given to the company by DUC, Syngenta has been able to further demonstrate our sound commitment to our customers, government and the environment.

Carolyn Riches has worked at Syngenta (UK) for seven years and has worked alongside the Jelaott's Hill Internal Communications team for the last 18 months as Communications Officer. Prior to this she had a role in R&D, specialising in early herbicide detection for the Jealott's Hill Discovery Biology group Ashley Collins has been with Syngenta for over

Embarking on a multi-year partnership for the promotion of agri-environmental sustainability, Syngenta and DUC have created a shared vision of economically viable farms, soil conservation, biodiversity and the protection of water quality. With two main projects in Saskatchewan and the Maritimes, Syngenta Canada works closely with DUC to promote and demonstrate

three years working as both a scientist and as a science communicator. In the past year, she has split her time providing communication support for the Syngenta Fellows and working in the Protein Plant Analysis Group at SBI, supporting the biotech pipeline.

sm

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009

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fellows new and old! Interviews with recent Fellows’ promotions

2009 welcomes four new Fellows and congratulates three on becoming Senior Fellows. Find out who’s dealing with data and who’s venturing into new territories as they explain the focus of their scientific challenges… Mark Seymour – newly appointed Fellow (Jealott’s Hill, UK) “We’re very good at generating complex data sets. My challenge is to ensure they contain the required information and then find ways to extract what we need."

Stuart John Dunbar – Senior Fellow (Jealott’s Hill, UK) “Working with my colleagues on fruit ripening and toxicology is great! My new challenge is to decide the next systems biology project with the University Innovation Centre at Imperial College London.”

Jean Paul Muller – newly appointed Fellow (Les Pas, France) “I’m looking forward to developing and leveraging the potential of Syngenta early corn markets into new territories (including: EAME, Japan, China, Canada).”

Kim Travis – newly appointed Fellow (Jealott’s Hill, UK) “I want to harness the power of Syngenta’s scattered modelling community to drive growth through innovation. I’ll also be supporting an old friend called paraquat!”

Keith Allen – newly appointed Fellow (SBI, US) “I’m keen to implement the new bioinformatics strategy and continue researching complex traits (using a systems biology approach), either through breeding or the biotech pipeline.”

Colin Brennan – Senior Fellow (Jealott’s Hill, UK) "It’s important we continue applying mechanistic and quantitative sciences across chemistry and engineering. The opportunity to explore the interface between these disciplines and biology is exciting for me."

Tim Hawkes – Senior Fellow (Jealott’s Hill, UK) "Inventing herbicides (with new modes of action) and crops with new herbicide tolerances is a huge challenge and I will continue to work with my colleagues in these areas".

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Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009


Tips to

in the home Thanks to Awards Finalist from SBI Bobby Clegg

In the Home • Lag your pipes to avoid loss due to winter damage. • Only use a washing machine or dish-washer when it is fully loaded. • Have a water meter installed and monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks. In the Bathroom • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save over 100 litres a month. • Install a low/dual-flush toilet or install a water saving bag in your toilet cistern to reduce the water used. • Use a shower instead of a bath as this uses less water. • Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 600 litres per month. • If your shower fills a 5 litre bucket in less than 30 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model. • Put food colouring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 4,000 litres a month. • Make sure there are water-saving aerators on all of your taps/faucets. • Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants. • Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 600 litres a month. • Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 1,200 litres a month. • While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels.

In the Kitchen • Keep a jug of water in the fridge for cold water rather than running the tap cold • Don’t overfill the kettle – fill it only with what you need • Wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl rather than running water In the Garden • Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants. • Use a watering can instead of a hose. • Install a water drum to collect rain water. • Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation. • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money. • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time. • Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won't run when it's raining. • Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance. • Have your plumber re-route your grey (waste) water to trees and gardens rather than letting it run into the sewer line. Check with your city codes, and if it isn't allowed in your area, start a movement to get that changed. • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants. Other tips • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. • Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbours. • Remember that water can also be saved at work or when you are staying in hotels.

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Editor-in-Chief: Sandro Aruffo Editors: Stuart John Dunbar and Mike Bushell The Editors would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions of John Emsley and the authors and other persons named in each article. Design: nowhere group Production support: Kre8tive Communications Ltd Print: Geerings Print Limited Science Matters is published by Syngenta, Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG42 6EY United Kingdom. Main contact for comment and future content is Stuart J. Dunbar. Unless otherwise indicated, trademarks indicated thus ® or TM are the property of a Syngenta Group Company. The Syngenta wordmark is a trademark of Syngenta International AG © Syngenta International AG, 2009. All rights reserved. Editorial completion March 2009. Science Matters is printed using water reduction processes, including a completely chemical and water free printing plate making process. In addition, all water used in the actual printing process is re-circulated and new water is only added to replace that lost by evaporation. Science Matters is printed on 9lives80 which is produced with 80 percent recovered fibre comprising 10 percent packaging waste, 10 percent best white waste, 60 percent de-inked waste fibre and only 20 percent virgin totally chlorine free fiber sourced from sustainable forests. Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements This document contains forward-looking statements, which can be identified by terminology such as “expect”, “would”, “will”, “potential”, “plans”, “prospects”, “estimated”, “aiming”, “on track”, and similar expressions. Such statements may be subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. We refer you to Syngenta’s publicly available filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for information about these and other risks and uncertainties. Syngenta assumes no obligation to update forward looking statements to reflect actual results, changed assumptions or other factors. This document does not constitute, or form part of, any offer or invitation to sell or issue, or any solicitation of any offer, to purchase or subscribe for any ordinary shares in Syngenta AG, or Syngenta ADSs, nor shall it form the basis of, or be relied on in connection with, any contract therefore

Science Matters Keeping abreast of Syngenta R&D Spring 2009


Science Matters : Spring 2009