Byline: John Russell
Oct. 28--Inside bright greenhouses at Dow AgroSciences' sprawling Northwestside complex, corn plants grow tall and lush, with no signs of rootworms, corn borers or other pests that munch away at crops and farmers' profits.
The corn is grown from biotech seeds that share genes from different types of corn to produce a plant able to resist the toughest pests and weed killers.
Demand from farmers is brisk. To keep up, Dow is growing and harvesting corn plants as fast as it can, even expanding into winter production in Hawaii, Argentina and Chile.
"We're bulking up, but it will be another two or three years before we can meet demand," said Thomas R. Wiltrout, global business leader for Dow's plant genetics.
Already consumers are gobbling up genetically altered ingredients in foods from chips to desserts, probably without realizing it, creating a $6 billion industry that shows no sign of slowing.
Dow is positioning itself to grab a bigger share. The company, better known for its agricultural chemicals, is a small player in the corn seed market, but wants to change that. Over the next three years, it wants to produce a super seed with eight genetic traits to fight pests and weed killers on multiple fronts, significantly more than the three traits now available on genetically modified seeds.
It is teaming up with agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. to share genetic traits now available only in products from one company or the other.
It's the latest step in the wave of genetically modified foods, changing the way farmers grow crops …