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August 26, 2011

Biotech company expanding its South African facilities

by Schalk Burger

South African agriculture, especially the fruit industry, can improve its quality and competitiveness by using novel biotechnology-based technologies, such as diagnostic tests to check harvest maturity and predict storage quality through identified biomarkers, says Genetwister Africa acting CEO Dr Kevin Chambers.

The horticultural biotechnology company opened a laboratory and offices in Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape, in May 2010, and is currenlty expanding its facilities. Genetwister Africa, which entered the South African market in 2008, is also searching for a South African shareholder.

The company currently offers three main services, namely diagnostic tests, plant tissue culture services and biotechnology research services, aimed at improving the quality of agricultural and horticultural products.

The diagnostic tests provide accurate infor- mation to farmers and exporters on harvest maturity, prediction of storage potential and, ultimately, the quality and taste of products.

Plant tissue culture services include pathogen-free micropropagation, micrografting, virus elimination and embryo rescue services.

Biotechnology research services provide biomarker identification, marker-assisted breeding, breeding consultancy services and expression profiling.

The company aims to grow its services to the South African agriculture industry and, specifically, the fruit industry but will also be looking to expand its services to other industries. Currently, services are only offered in South Africa but the company aims to offer its services in the rest of Africa in 2012.

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