The Environmental Protection Authority has declined an application to import and release a fungus intended to improve crop growth due to a potential for adverse environmental effects.
The application to import and release the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum was made by Symborg Business Development SL.
Symborg sought to commercialise mycorrhizal inoculum products in New Zealand by providing new options to improve crop development and growth.
Submissions on the application were called for and a public hearing held before the Decision-making Committee in Wellington on May 10.
In the absence of any evidence showing where the introduction of this organism had led to lower fertiliser use, the committee could not conclude the fungus would generate benefits to the economy or the environment.
Potential adverse effects on the environment included displacement of native species, dispersion beyond the intended application areas, and assistance of establishment and dispersal of exotic species and invasive weeds.
The presentations made to the committee by the applicant, submitters and EPA and all documents relating to the application can be seen in the EPA database.
Source: Environmental Protection Authority