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>> Swirling hypnotic dishes and masked technicians who perform plant surgery with tweezers. It's all part of a high stakes effort to control the biggest threat to Canada's most profitable crop, canola plants. Des Monsanto Lab, one of many scrambling to create seeds resistant to clubroot. A disease that swells the plant's roots, chokes off nutrients and stunts the growth of it's valuable seeds.
Reuters reporter Rod Nickel visited the lab in Winnipeg.>> Clubroot is particularly unique in that it's pores can actually stay in the soil for up to 20 years, so it's a problem that doesn't go away very easily at all. And it spreads extremely easily by wind, water, machinery going from one field to another, even a farmer's boots.
>> Clubroot first emerged in Western Canada in the early 2000s. By 2009, Monsanto, as well as rivals Dow DuPont and Bayer AG Had created a clubroot resisting canola seed thinking they had it beat.>> The problem is that within three or four years, clubroot started to win the battle again and started to show up in even some of those fields.
So all three companies have gone back to the drawing board.>> Canola accounts for one third of Monsanto's annual Canadian revenue. Its seeds are crushed to create oil for french fries, potato chips and salad dressings. Monsanto hopes to have a new disease-resistant canola seed on the market in two to four years.
But exports worry that sooner or later, the pathogen will find another way around it.