Year: 2013-14

Company: Monsanto

Liaison(s): Luis Jurado, Susan McIsaac, Kirsten Skogerson

Monsanto is a sustainable agricultural company. Founded in 1901, Monsanto has been at the forefront of many scientific advancements in the agricultural industry. Monsanto is devoted to delivering agricultural products that support farmers all around the world. Current work at Monsanto is focused on increasing yields in core crops with a combination of advanced plant breeding, biotechnology, and improved farm management practices. As plant diseases lead to significant annual crop losses, disease management strategies are an important element of Monsanto’s goal to increase crop yields. This requires the accurate detection and monitoring of the presence of pathogens in the field. Current methods require samples to be transported to a centralized lab. Monsanto would like to develop a method for pathogen detection that can be used in a field setting. This would reduce the time and cost of detection and allow a more immediate response to a crop disease. The Monsanto TMP team developed a method that can be used to detect a fungal pathogen in a field setting. To achieve this objective, the team identified various gold standard protocols designed for a lab setting, modified the procedures so that they can be performed on site with minimal training and equipment, and tested their performance. Ultimately, the Monsanto TMP team used a pre-existing instrument to develop a device which permits sample extraction and DNA purification that is coupled to target sequence amplification and quantitative detection on.