OAKLAND, CALIF., DEC. 13 -- The scheduled test of genetically altered bacteria at a strawberry patch in Brentwood, a small farming community 30 miles east of Oakland, was postponed today because of gusty winds.
The test of the solution known as Frostban was tentatively rescheduled for Monday afternoon, Advanced Genetic Sciences Inc. spokesman Mike Jackman said.
Frostban is sprayed on plants to help prevent the formation of damaging frost crystals. It was first tested in April and was found to be effective in preventing frost in temperatures to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jackman said the solution could not be applied in windy weather. "It'll never get on the leaves," he said. "We want to do a 100 percent test." The second test had originally been scheduled for Dec. 2, but was postponed because of bad weather and vandalism at the site.
People affiliated with the group "Earth First!" claimed responsibility for sneaking onto the strawberry patch, uprooting some plants and killing others with herbicides.
The vandals called themselves "Mindless Thugs Against Genetic Engineering" in a note delivered to Andy Caffrey of the group Genetic Alert.
Caffrey has led a battle against Frostban since it was approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Food and Agriculture earlier this year.
Jackman said today's postponement had nothing to do with vandalism, and noted that security at the test site had been increased since the Dec. 2 attack.
Some environmentalists say products such as Frostban and Snowmax, another solution containing genetically altered bacteria, should be subject to more rigorous testing because of their exotic nature.