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More field tests given preliminary okay.

More field tests given preliminary okay

Outdoor testing of genetically altered bacteria that increasethe nitrogen available for use by alfalfa plants received preliminary approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week. A final decision on the field tests, scheduled for Pepin County, Wis., will be made in July, following a public comment period. The tests would be the first under the EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act, part of the agency's new biotechnology policy. According to the act, companies must tell EPA about plans to make or import a new chemical substance, a category that includes altered microorganisms.

Given enhanced nitrogen-fixing capability through recombinantDNA techniques, the Rhizobium meliloti bacterial strains approved by the EPA are owned by Bio Technica International, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Similar field tests in California--using a bacterium that retards frost formation--were approved by the EPA under a system predating the toxic substances act, and are in progress (SN: 5/2/87, p.277).
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Title Annotation:tests of genetically altered bacteria that enhance nitrogen-fixing capacity of alfalfa
Publication:Science News
Date:May 16, 1987
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