FRESNO, Calif., April 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- S&W Seed Company (Nasdaq: SANW) today announced it has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a unique stevia plant variety 'SW 227.' This is the fourth patent filed by S&W for a unique stevia variety.
Field trials have confirmed that 'SW 227' has an excellent, sweet leaf taste with very low bitterness and aftertaste, late flowering, high plant vigor characterized by extensive stooling and branching, enhanced dry leaf yields and leaves having an average rebaudioside A content of 10.7%. S&W believes 'SW 227' is ideally suited for the fresh and dry leaf market, which is characterized by the demand for a sweet tasting leaf, with low bitterness and aftertaste, where the leaf itself is directly utilized in the cooking or sweetening process.
Stevia rebaudiana is a plant species in the sunflower (Asteraceae) family, which has naturally non-caloric sweet leaves. The active compounds that impart the sweet flavor to stevia leaves are steviol glycosides. The most common steviol glycosides are stevioside and rebaudioside A, which have between 250 and 400 times the sweetness of sugar. Stevioside tends to be more prevalent in unimproved lines of stevia leaves than rebaudioside A. The development of new varieties of Stevia rebaudiana with higher levels of rebaudioside A than stevioside is desirable for use as a sugar substitute.
In field trials conducted in Ontario, Oregon, 'SW 227' yielded approximately 5,000 pounds of leaf per acre per year. In addition to the sweet leaf flavor with very little bitterness and aftertaste, 'SW 227' had leaves having an average rebaudioside A content measured at 10.7%; an average stevioside content measured at 1.4%; an average ratio of rebaudioside A to stevioside measured at 7.6; average total steviol glycoside content measured at 13.3%; and an average percentage of rebaudioside A to total steviol glycosides measured at 80.4% in field trials.
S&W's focus is on developing varieties with unique, enhanced characteristics, providing added value along the entire supply chain. 'SW 227' is the fourth patent filed by S&W Seed Company for a unique stevia plant variety. Previously S&W filed patents for varieties 'SW 107' and 'SW 129,' designed to be grown for commercial processors who make stevia derivatives for the mass market, as well as 'SW 201,' another variety with an improved leaf taste profile that is well suited for producing fresh and dry leaf stevia.
Mark Grewal, chief executive officer of S&W Seed Company commented, "Our stevia development program continues to focus on developing varieties that we believe can add value at the front end of the supply chain through the breeding of unique plant varieties. 'SW 227' in particular has dual capabilities of the improved taste, but also the added benefits of increased yield with more stems, which is a key requirement in the mechanization of harvesting. Our belief is that the development of varieties that can balance the taste requirements of consumers, with the yield requirements of farmers where they can profitably grow stevia in North and South America, provides S&W with the opportunity to be a leader in stevia for many years to come. The filing of these patents is an initial step in moving towards bringing that opportunity to a reality."
About S&W Seed Company
Founded in 1980, S&W Seed Company is a global agricultural Company, headquartered in Fresno, California. The Company's vision is to be the world's preferred proprietary seed Company which supplies a range of forage and specialty crop products that supports the growing global demand for animal proteins and healthier consumer diets. The Company is the global leader in alfalfa seed, with unrivaled research and development, production and distribution capabilities. S&W's capabilities span the world's alfalfa seed production regions, with operations in the San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys of California, five other U.S. states, Australia, and three provinces in Canada, and S&W sells its seed products in more than 30 countries around the globe. Additionally, the Company is utilizing its research and breeding expertise to develop and produce stevia, the all-natural, zero calorie sweetener for the food and beverage industry. For more information, please visit www.swseedco.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. "Forward-looking statements" describe future expectations, plans, results, or strategies and are generally preceded by words such as "may," "future," "plan" or "planned," "will" or "should," "expected," "anticipates," "draft," "eventually" or "projected." You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events, or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, including the risks that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and other risks identified in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the prospectus for the rights offering, our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, and in other filings subsequently made by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of the receipt of new information, the occurrence of future events or otherwise.
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SOURCE S&W Seed Company