Year: 2007-08

Company: Syngenta

Liaison(s): Jason Abbas

As a leading agribusiness committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology, Syngenta is interested in large-scale, high-throughput, sensitive, and low-cost screening of plant materials, in support of their plant breeding effort. The goal of the Syngenta Team Masters Project was to develop and test strategies to amplify target DNA using PCR, in a continuous high throughput fashion that is compatible with a novel microwell substrate and its automated system. The team evaluated and tested different methods of heating and cooling that can be used to amplify the sample DNA much more rapidly than the current thermocycling times. Speed of amplification and cost were considered when designing and building a small scale prototype. The design was constantly modified and improved throughout the project based on results from extensive laboratory experiments. The final design provided Syngenta with a starting point to assess the feasibility of replacing their current system with a scaled up in-line PCR system based upon the results of our prototype.