Published online: May 05, 2009
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Germany approves the test cultivation of Amflora, a genetically modified potato manufactured by chemicals giant BASF SE.

The Germany Agriculture Ministry says open air trials of Amflora poses no danger for human health or the environment. The potato is modified to produce starch consisting almost exclusively of a substance called amylopectin. This is used in the paper, adhesives, textiles, construction and cosmetics industries.

A spokesman says Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner gave the go-ahead for the trials after talks with scientific and economic experts.

But Aigner will only allow test plantings of Amflora on 49.4 acres (20 hectares) half the area requested and the trial plot must have extra protective fencing.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says many millions of euros had been invested in developing the Amflora potato.

"This fact cannot simply be ignored because currently sentiment is hostile," Merkel says.