Environmental authority says no to import of fungus

Symborg wanted to commercialise the fungus for crop development and growth products.
Symborg wanted to commercialise the fungus for crop development and growth products. Photo credit: Getty

An application to import and release a fungus intended to improve crop growth has been declined because of the potential for adverse environmental effects.  

The application to import and release the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum was made by international biotech company, Symborg.

The proposal was considered by the Environmental Protection Authority. 

Symborg wanted to commercialise mycorrhizal inoculum products in New Zealand by providing new options to improve crop development and growth.

Submissions on the application were called for and a public hearing held before the Decision-making Committee in Wellington in May.

However the committee said that in the absence of any evidence showing where the introduction of this organism had led to lower fertiliser use, it could not conclude the fungus would generate benefits to the economy or the environment.

It said potential adverse effects on the environment included displacement of native species, dispersion beyond the intended application areas, and assistance of establishment and dispersal of exotic species and invasive weeds.

The decision was notified on 20 June.

Newshub. 

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