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BASF partners with University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences on $1.25M research project to tackle clubroot resistance in canola

  • BASF and U of A ALES plant scientists to work together to identify sources of canola resistance
  • Findings will help combat new strains of clubroot disease causing crop damage
  • Research project will see BASF invest $1.25M over a 5-year period until 2026


ALBERTA, CANADA, June 22, 2022 – BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions (BASF) has announced a new research project in partnership with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES) to tackle clubroot resistance in canola. The collaboration will see BASF invest $1.25M over a five-year period until 2026 and seek to deliver findings that support ongoing efforts to combat strains of clubroot, a soil-borne disease that causes major damage to canola crops.


“At BASF, we are committed to investing in research and development that helps enhance existing agricultural solutions or bring novel and advanced tools to market for the benefit of growers,” says Stewart Brandt, Head of Global Oilseed Breeding at BASF. “With plant science innovation and technology playing a critical role in helping growers achieve higher yields, working with the University of Alberta will enable us to further our efforts to help advance Canada’s agriculture industry. BASF believes whole-heartedly in its role as an industry leader to help provide growers with the tools they need to continue to grow this key crop for generations to come, and we are confident this partnership will support our work in continuing to uncover impactful and timely solutions.


“Canola plays a vital role in the Canadian economy, with 90 per cent of canola grown and harvested in Canada being exported to over 50 markets worldwide,” adds Brent Collins, Head of Seeds & Traits, Canada, at BASF. “In order to continue to drive the industry forward, ongoing investment and stakeholder collaboration is crucial. Canola is a true example of a Canadian success story, and by working together to help growers deliver healthy, sustainable and abundant crops, we can continue to elevate our contributions to the environment, economy and countless communities.”


With new clubroot strains overcoming resistance in previously bred resistant cultivators, and the disease set to become a Prairie-wide challenge, ALES plant scientists Stephen Strelkov, Sheau-Fang Hwang and Rudolph Fredua-Agyeman will work to identify effective sources of pathogen resistance that can be bred into canola seeds. By gathering comprehensive data that makes use of extensive pathogen material collected by the U of A, along with plant material held by BASF and the University’s Plant Pathology group, the project will aim to uncover valuable long-term solutions that will provide meaningful industry-wide support for managing clubroot more sustainably.


“With clubroot attacking more than 3300 canola fields across Alberta alone, these new strains are particularly concerning and have proven over time to be resistant to a diverse set of pathotypes,” says Stephen Strelkov, a plant pathologist at the U of A. “By crossbreeding plant materials to introduce new resistance genes, we hope to identify different genetic bases that help to maintain diversity of resistance that farmers can add to their toolkit. When combined with other methods through an integrated approach, including crop rotation, soil supplements and sanitizing machinery, these canola varieties will hopefully add a much-needed extra layer of protection for greater control.”


"We are thrilled to be partnering with BASF on a project that will positively impact canola fields across the province, the country, and potentially, the world,” says Sheau-Fang Hwang, a professor of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science at the U of A. “It is the hard work of our researchers and valuable connections forged with our industry partners that enable the Faculty of ALES to help make advancements in solving tangible problems and providing solutions to the issues facing our agricultural sector."


The partnership between BASF and the U of A will also provide research opportunities for a post-doctoral fellow, as well as graduate and undergraduate students to work in plant science, increasing capacity for the next generation of talent in the field to work alongside the industry in plant pathology and crop improvement.


From biodiesel and bioplastics to sustainable cooking alternatives, people around the world depend on Canadian-grown canola. At BASF, we are focused on ensuring this key crop can continue to be sustainably planted, grown and harvested for years to come. With growers facing more challenges than ever, from current events to extreme weather events, industry partnerships play a critical role in providing the resources and tools needed to tackle these pressing challenges and deliver healthy and abundant canola crops year-over-year.


To learn more about BASF’s partnership with the University of Alberta ALES, please visit https://www.ualberta.ca/folio/2022/06/1.25m-project-tackles-clubroot-resistance-in-canola.html.


About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division

BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, has over 625 employees who work at one of three production facilities across Canada including: Lethbridge, Saskatoon, and Regina, or one of several research farms across the Canadian prairies. Agricultural Solutions is the largest division of BASF Canada Inc., working closely with the regional Agricultural Solutions team, collaborating on research and product development that benefits North American growers. To find out more about BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions, visit www.agsolutions.ca or follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/BASFAgSolutions.

With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2020, our division generated sales of €7.7 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.


About BASF

BASF Canada Inc., headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, has over 1,200 employees at production facilities and offices located across Canada. BASF Canada is a subsidiary of BASF SE, and an affiliate of BASF Corporation. To find out more about BASF’s activities in Canada, visit www.basf.com/ca or follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/basfcanada.


At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 110,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €59 billion in 2020. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at http://www.basf.com.


About the University of Alberta

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada's top teaching and research universities, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering, and health sciences. Home to more than 38,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff, the university has an annual budget of $1.9 billion and attracts more than $500 million in sponsored research revenue. The U of A offers close to 900 rigorous undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in 18 faculties on five campuses-including one rural and one francophone campus. The university has more than 275,000 alumni worldwide. The university and its people remain dedicated to the promise made in 1908 by founding president Henry Marshall Tory that knowledge shall be used for "uplifting the whole people."

BASF Media Contact:

Kasia Kistelski

Tel.: (403) 589-8178

Email: kasia.kistelski@partners.basf.com


U of A Media Contact:

Michael Brown

Tel.: (780) 977-1411

Email: michael.brown@ualberta.ca