Improving crop management
Science Park based biotechnology company MicroGEM has discovered a way to conduct genomic analysis in field-based settings, offering significant benefits compared to laboratory-based processes.
Using its PDQeX Nucleic Acid Extractor and a collaborator’s sequencing technologies, researchers conducted real-time identification of viral pathogens in a farmer’s field setting for the Cassava Virus Action Project.
Working with difficult plant samples and with no power, infrastructure, or internet, the researchers successfully conducted real-time DNA extraction and sequencing on samples collected from cassava plants in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The entire process was completed in hours, a significant departure from the weeks previously required to receive test results. It means that farmers are quickly able to identify which plants were infected and had to be discarded.
800 million people rely on the cassava plant for food and income. However viral diseases play a significant role in wiping out entire crops, so the ability to detect these pathogens in the field is a significant step forward in crop management for subsistence farmers across the world.
MicroGEM’s temperature-driven, enzymatic single-tube process simplifies the number of steps for traditional nucleic acid extraction and uses no harsh chemicals, resulting in high-quality extracts with reduced contamination and high yields – all in minutes, not hours.