BOTHELL, Wash. -- Eden Bioscience Corporation said new research shows N-Hibit(TM) Seed Treatment reduces soybean cyst nematode eggs and cysts while improving plant growth and development.

SCN is a microscopic worm estimated to cost U.S. soybean growers about $1.5 billion in yield losses each year.

Announcement of the N-Hibit results was made during the Commodity Classic earlier this month. Eden Bioscience develops, manufactures and markets innovative, natural protein-based products for improving plant health and vigor.

The company also has announced that another of its products, ProAct(TM) Plant Health Regulator, increases soybean yields significantly.

"In initial evaluations of N-Hibit seed treatments, SCN eggs per root weight were reduced," said Ned French, Eden Bioscience director of field biology and development. "For example, numbers of eggs and cysts were reduced by more than half in research at Southern Illinois University. But the rates of N-Hibit used were not as economically attractive for growers in these initial studies as in the most recent trials with lower rates."

The subsequent replicated research by independent agricultural scientists in Illinois and Georgia investigated lower use rates with N-Hibit CST (Commercial Seed Treatment) and N-Hibit HB (Hopper Box) formulations.

"These cooperators demonstrated that N-Hibit at 0.3 oz/cwt of seed reduced soybean cysts per root weight by an average of approximately 40 percent," said French. "N-Hibit-treated soybean plants had improved growth and development in their average number of nodes, leaves, root length and volume, and in plant weight (roots, shoots, and leaves) compared with the untreated control.

"The soybean cyst nematode reductions are consistent with what we have seen in cotton for several years, where N-Hibit reduced the juveniles and eggs of root knot nematodes and reniform nematodes by about 50 percent, while enhancing plant growth," French said.

Iowa State University agronomists note that SCN is the single most damaging pest affecting soybean in the U.S. Many farms suffer declining yield for several years before SCN is discovered, and ISU says losses have been estimated at about $1.5 billion in the U.S. alone.

The soil-borne microscopic worm is widely present in many states (75 percent of Iowa fields) and can reduce soybean yield by 50 percent or more. The University of Missouri estimated the 2004 U.S. soybean yield losses due to SCN totaled 136.7 million bushels.

University nematologists note that once present in the soil, SCN can never be eliminated, but populations of them can be managed. Traditionally management is through sampling soil to monitor egg and juvenile counts, rotating crops, selecting resistant soybean varieties, taking steps to improve plant health, sanitizing equipment used in infected fields, and if necessary using chemical nematicides that treat the soil but do not provide season-long control, allowing SCN populations to rebound.

"N-Hibit is an important and very economical new tool for growers to use in the management of SCN," said Mike Cloutier, Eden Bioscience director of sales and marketing. "The harpin protein in N-Hibit activates the plant's own self-defense and growth systems to defend itself from within against nematodes in the surrounding soil. This is a unique mode of action, and one that involves virtually no environmental or health issues. Because of its high degree of safety, N-Hibit can be applied on-farm at planting as well as applied by commercial seed treaters.

N-Hibit is a dry powder that is not a restricted-use product. The active ingredient in N-Hibit and other Harp-N-Tek(TM) products exclusive to Eden Bioscience is harpin protein, which is produced by disease-causing bacteria that attack plants. Harp-N-Tek products do not contain pathogens, but cause the plant to respond as though being attacked, French said.

Harpin proteins do not enter the plant. They bind with the plant's external harpin protein receptors, which are present on seed as well as foliage. This turns on the plant's natural self defense and growth systems. Then the harpin proteins harmlessly disintegrate.

Eden Bioscience was founded in 1994. Corporate headquarters are located in Bothell, Wash., where the company maintains manufacturing and research facilities.

SOURCE: Eden Bioscience Corporation via Business Wire.