Three agribusiness giants have begun research collaborations to develop improved crops. BASF Plant Science is in an alliance with potato starch manufacturer Avebe to combine the two firms’ plant-breeding technologies in search of fungi-resistant potato varieties. In March, BASF won approval to sell its first genetically modified starch potato, called Amflora, in the European Union. Bayer CropScience has signed an agreement with plant traits firm Evogene to improve wheat for yield, drought tolerance, fertilizer-use efficiency, and other traits. Evogene will contribute its computational genomic technologies to identify genetically modified and native wheat traits. It will receive $20 million in research payments over the five-year collaboration, as well as a $12 million equity investment from Bayer. And Syngenta Ventures, the venture capital arm of Syngenta, will license crop technology and other intellectual property to Agrivida, a biotech start-up. Agrivida develops energy crops that are genetically designed to break down their own cellulose into sugars after harvest.