The world’s biggest seed company, Monsanto, has secured an Indian patent for an invention relating to a know-how for automated testing of seeds, which will give a major leg-up to the agri-biotechnology company, in bettering the development of high-performance seeds.
Monsanto claims that the present invention comprises an apparatus and its method for automating the testing of each and every seed in a large population for the purpose of identifying the characteristics of the seed.
The apparatus generally includes a testing device for analysing a seed delivered into it and a conveyor for automatically conveying each of the seeds in a tray between individual compartments in the tray and the testing stage of the testing device.
According to a patent document filed by Monsanto, in developing high performance seeds, it is often desirable to ensure that each seed, in a given population, exhibits a particular characteristic.
For example, in the development of corn seeds, it might be desirable to ensure that each seed in the population has a given oil content, that is, an oil content of at least 5% to 6%.
The US-based company which has been working on a slew of genetically modified seeds and crops, submitted that one method of non-destructively determining the characteristics of a seed, such as the oil content, is through analysis of the seed.
It would also be very time consuming and tedious, and thus very expensive, to individually test each seed in a large population manually, and thus most seed development programmes rely upon testing of representative samples of the population.
However, because of the variations among seeds even from the same plants, representative sampling is not as effective as the testing of all the seeds, it argued.
Amit Singh, assistant controller of patents & designs, Delhi, has granted the patent to Monsanto Technology LLC, who had filed the patent application in 2007. According to Monsanto, the seed conveyor comprises the conduit having a first-end adjacent to the trays and a second end adjacent to the testing device.