Bayer MaterialScience with new Lab in Dubai and Bayer Cotton CropScience
Bayer MaterialScience, respectively Bayer lab inaugurates at DuBiotech premises in Dubai (UAE) its Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties Laboratory. At the same time we highlight what Bayer CropScience is doing for cotton
Bayer MaterialScience, according to in-house information, a world leading manufacturer of high-tech polymer materials, inaugurated on March 10, 2014 its new coatings, adhesives and specialty laboratory in Dubai (UAE). This application and development lab will offer local customised technical support to the industry across the MEA Middle East and Africa. DuBiotech is the major life science cluster in the Middle East.
Bayer Middle East Managing Director, Harald Liedke, stated: In keeping with our mission statement, “Bayer: Science For A Better Life”, the company develops innovative and sustainable solutions answering global challenges. One example is combating climate change and CO2 emissions which results in rising demand for high tech raw materials for eco-friendly construction. With thjis new lab, Bayer underscores its commitment to the region.”
Focussing on key application areas, such as construction, automotive, industrial plastic, wood and furniture coatings, the lab will also lead to the development of polyurethane coatings for diverse high performance applications, including sealants for construction joints, as well as airport tarmacs and solvent free coatings for pipe applications. Further, it is planned that the lab will provide tailor made solutions to the manufacturers of adhesives and sealants for the transportation, construction, furniture, packaging and shoe industries.
The lab will work in close cooperation with Bayer’s global competence network, having its established labs and technical centres in India, China, Japan, Russia, Brazil, USA, Spain and Germany. DuBiotech, offering international standard services and facilities, hosts the state-of-the-art laboratory being equipped with advanced testing and application equipment, meeting global standards and guidelines.
Marwan Abdulazuiz Janahi, Executive Director of DuBiotech, declared: “We are delighted to welcome Bayer as a new partner at the DuBiotech free zone. The organisation brings innovative and sustainable solutions to the region. This is exactly in line with or vision and mission. A report of business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan found that the coatings market in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, is expected to grow by six percent annually over the next five years. With this newly established lab, Bayer is well placed to make the most of this opportunity”.
2013 Bayer MaterialScience reported sales of EUR 11.2 billion, making it one of the world’s largest polymer companies. The main segments catered to: automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2013, the company had 30 production sites and employed around 14300 people worldwide.
The cotton engagement
Bayer Crop Science’s biotech scientists and breeder are developing new varieties of cotton needing less water to produce high yields with high fibre quality. As we are well aware, the stronger, longer, and finer the cotton fibres, the better they can be processed into threat and high quality fabric.
Cotton is used mainly for textiles, but only slightly more than one third of the global production ends up as sweaters, underwear or fashionable clothing. The fibres also play an important role in the paper industry and the manufacture of packaging material. The versatile cotton fibre is a key material in the automotive sector as well, there it serves as a component of the natural fibre reinforced plastics used to make high quality interior trim. The seed of the cotton plant is also important to the economy: when extracted from the seed by pressing, the oil is suitable for both cooking and technical applications.
The molecular biologist at Bayer Crop Science, Linda Trolinder, she grew up in Lubbock, Texas, at the heart of American cotton country, focuses currently on both fibres and seed. She and her team are responsible for researching and developing new traits in cotton. She spends half her time at BioScience research headquarters in Ghent, Belgium, and the other half in the labs at Lubbock. Her goal is the same: to discover, develop and introduce new technologies and traits that will improve profitability and sustainability for cotton farmers all over the world. She states: “We are working on numerous projects that provide methods for improvement of cotton. We are developing new biotechnology based traits and working with or breeder to develop advanced breeding methods which will improve the productivity of the crop”. Thereby three main objectives are pursued: “WE want to enhance yield, improve the quality of the cotton seed and fibre, and make the plant less susceptible to stress.” Stress factors include not only pests and weeds, but also unfavourable environmental conditions, such as drought and extreme temperatures and the most significant proplems in the near term will be water shortage.
The goal is to develop genetically improved plants that require less water, yet produce higher yields. The researchers have already achieved some successes and are currently verifying these results in extensive field trials. “We are working as fast, as we can, because we know that cotton growing regions of the world will be particularly hard hit by climate change, and water will be scarce. We need better plants.” Her team is finding them these days using biotechnology based engineering and molecular assisted breeding methods. The researchers started by looking for typical DNA sequences or molecular markers that are associated with a specific trait, such as enhanced yield or low water consumption. Today, thousands of these markers have been identified to allow more accurate predictions of the phenotype or agronomic characteristics of the plant, based on the genotype of DNA sequence. The method allows breeders to identify with much greater efficiency and accuracy those few plants containing the maximum number of desired traits, in turn to allow them to increase productivity at a faster pace. As a result, breeders can analyse plants more efficiently than they could before. In the past, if they wanted to breed or introgress a new trait into a plant by back-crossing into an elite variety, they needed at least four generations to do so, thanks to the power of molecular marker analysis, they now need only two.
In another project, biotechnology is being used to help the cotton industry to be more environmentally friendly. The Bayer team is working to develop cotton with fibres whose electric charge differs from that of common cotton, meaning the fibres can be dyed more easily and effectively. “Hopefully, the garments of tomorrow will be more readily dyed and resist fading”. In addition, it is anticipated that textile manufacturers will require much less water and salt to manufacture them. To assure the success of these new cotton varieties, these are tested all over the world, and under various conditions. Trolinder concludes: We need data for all conceivable climate regions in order to end up with products that truly benefit farmers.
The new plants have also to be herbicide tolerant and insect resistance. Seeds need to be protected against soil-dwelling insects, nematodes and diseases, as well as very early insect invasions on recently emerged plants. For such cases and against other diseases Bayer offers also crop protection products.
Worldwide, an area of more than 30 million hectares – about the size of Poland – is devoted to the cultivation of cotton globally. It is spread across more than 80 counties, located mostly in tropical and subtropical regions.