Syngenta announced a lettuce germplasm acquisition from Eagle Research and Development, Inc. (ERDI), based in Salinas, Calif. The purchase enables Syngenta to expand its lettuce germplasm pool at an accelerated pace and complement its own in-house breeding efforts to meet evolving customer needs for new iceberg lettuce varieties for the U.S. lettuce market.
This germplasm acquisition will also allow Syngenta to enhance its tipburn resistance offering--a key driver in iceberg lettuce variety selection--and offer expanded plant performance characteristics for winter slot plantings. Tipburn is characterized by browning of the leaf edges of young, maturing leaves.
"This is an excellent opportunity to combine Eagle germplasm with Syngenta's strong disease resistance package," said Rick Mitchell, vegetables business manager at Syngenta. "We will now be able to offer customers in the U.S. market additional options for a more complete iceberg lettuce portfolio."
Founded in 1975 by David Williams, ERDI is a company specializing in lettuce breeding. For the past 40 years, Williams and ERDI have focused on improving lettuce production, harvesting, transportation, and breeding. ERDI breeding projects have included work on disease resistance and the development of better commercial quality lettuce. In 2012, Williams was inducted into the National Steinbeck Center's Valley of the World Hall of Fame in recognition of his lifetime of work in furthering agricultural research.
"We are extremely proud of Dave's breeding history and his many contributions to the lettuce industry in general," Mitchell added. "It was his reputation in part which attracted us to him, and we look forward to continuing his legacy of innovation."