Plant pathogenic nematodes – minute soil-born worms – pose huge problems to farmers around the world. Annually, the global damage to agricultural crops caused by harmful nematodes amounts to $80 billion. Fast, affordable and reliable pathogen detection methods are thus required. However, current nematode inspections are based on microscopic examinations, which are laborious, expensive and lack the required resolution. The solution lies in a radical switch to new identification technologies that do not depend on (subtle) external characteristics.
ClearDetections – a joint initiative of BLGG and Wageningen University – provides this solution. By mining the world’s largest nematode DNA database developed at the Laboratory of Nematology (Wageningen University), unique DNA motives were identified for major plant parasites, allowing the detection and quantification of individual nematode species in highly complex DNA backgrounds. These principles combined with the expertise of BLGG – the Netherlands’ leading agricultural service laboratory – in product development resulted in series of proprietary DNA-based detection tests. ClearDetections delivers these tests as all-inclusive diagnostic kits (Q-PCR based) and dedicated systems for molecular detection of plant diseases, with special emphasis on harmful nematodes.
In doing so, ClearDetections offers agricultural (inspection) laboratories a turn-key solution that could completely replace the current routine nematode detection through microscopic examination, enabling large-scale, sensitive and accurate monitoring of soil quality.