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Garden herbs could help conquer cancer

Tom Campbell A woman poses in a science lab with herbs and plants placed behind her
FINDING NEW SOLUTIONS: Natalia Dudareva discovered cancer-fighting compounds in garden herbs during research in her lab at Purdue University.
Hi-Tech Farming: A new discovery could open the door to future cancer treatments.

When you picture the fight against cancer, you likely think of researchers in white coats, tucked away in laboratories working with human cells. One of the latest noteworthy developments doesn’t fit that mold. Natalia Dudareva is a biochemist in Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, working with plants.

What did she discover? Thyme and oregano, two garden herbs, possess an anti-cancer compound that suppresses tumor development. It isn’t an immediate cure because these compounds are only present in low amounts. You couldn’t eat enough tomato sauce to affect tumors, the researcher says. Extraction of compounds from plants won’t yield enough either.

Dudareva believes the first step to turning these compounds into pharmaceuticals will be mapping the biosynthetic pathway that creates them. Her goal is working out a “recipe” at the molecular level to develop these compounds. The other approach could be synthesizing them in microorganisms for medical use.

Better seed treatments

If you think your treated seed flows better and bridges less than it used to, it might not be your imagination. BASF introduced Flo Rite Pro 2805 seed coating polymer, an improvement over its existing polymer used in many seed treatment applications.

BASF says the new polymer holds active ingredients on seeds better, improves uniformity of coverage on each seed, reduces stickiness and clumping, and works with major fungicides, insecticides, nematicides and inoculants produced by BASF. Visit basf.com.

Co-branded combine headers

Two equipment brands owned by the same parent company independently entered agreements with another player in harvesting technology to produce co-branded draper combine headers. Case IH announced an agreement with MacDon Industries Ltd. to take orders for co-branded draper headers beginning in early ’22. New Holland Agriculture announced a similar agreement with MacDon to market co-branded draper headers. In both cases, the agreements apply worldwide, except in South Africa.

Case IH and New Holland will continue to offer their own combine header and corn head options. Learn more at caseih.com, newholland.com and macdon.com.

Strengthening the AI base

Agco recently announced intentions to acquire Appareo, Fargo, N.D. You know Agco, but you may have never heard of Appareo. So why should you care? Appareo specializes in research, development, design and manufacture of tangible technology that uses artificial intelligence, mechatronics and innovative electronics. Its technology is already used to communicate with, monitor, sense and track devices and systems in ag. The acquisition will give Agco more in-house expertise in developing AI-capable machines. Visit agcocorp.com.

Stand-alone IoT ag solution

Expect to hear about Zyter Smart Agriculture soon if you haven’t already. Zyter is a privately held company, founded in 2017 and based in Rockville, Md. In 2021 alone, the company received 37 global awards for Internet of Things solutions in a wide variety of industries.

Zyter Smart Agriculture is an IoT solution that leverages artificial intelligence to help farmers and agronomists make more informed crop management decisions. This solution relies on data collected from sensors buried in the ground and located around the farm, which report measurements for moisture, nutrients, solar radiation and more. Other IoT devices, such as weather stations, also feed in information. The result is a dashboard and mobile app that automate monitoring and sensing. Visit zyter.com.

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