SGS InsectScan: DNA monitoring of insects

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SGS now uses forensic methods to monitor insect biodiversity.

We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis some expertsIt is estimated that we are now losing a species every 10 minutes. Conventional monitoring techniques are no longer sufficient – they lack the spatial and temporal resolution for such rapid extinction rates. To turn the tide, we need to implement effective monitoring that allows us to make proactive decisions well in advance.

Global policymakers are increasingly aware of the enormous risk that this current biodiversity crisis poses to humans. Food supply and agriculture are among the most vulnerable sectors, yet farmers are putting pressure on already fragile ecosystems through the use of pesticides and fertilizers. As such, they have been urged to change their management strategies to increase biodiversity and slow down the rapid, widespread loss of species.

But how can we effectively assess whether biodiversity is increasing and continuously monitor it?

Biologists define biodiversity as the totality of genes, species and ecosystems within a region. Biodiversity assessments already exist, but they are incredibly labor intensive and require many experts in the field to visually assess the diversity of species.

Fortunately, thanks to rapidly expanding databases of species traits, we can now address biodiversity through DNA-based forensic investigations. It uses traces of DNA left by organisms in the water, in the air, or on a surface to determine which species are present.

At SGS, our focus on simple sampling methods to improve key species detection has led us to develop SGS InsectScan, an environmental DNA (E-DNA) based tool tailored for monitoring insect biodiversity. SGS InsectScan is a cost-effective way to monitor biodiversity that also provides critical insights to improve natural pollination and control pests more naturally.

Simply put, it’s the tool you need to take action and monitor your future success.

Benefits of SGS InsectScan

With the investment in a Global Biosciences Center (GBC) and Competence Center for Molecular Biology (CCMB) based in Lisbon, Portugal, we have expanded our services to include DNA and RNA-based assays and methods.

SGS InsectScan is simple and easy to use. Our labs have developed unique workflows to extract the DNA traces left by insects on flowers and leaves – meaning users only need to collect the flowers or other vegetation around the farm. We then use high-throughput sequencing and a custom-made computational pipeline to match the sequenced DNA data to genomic databases. Our output data goes through rigorous Quality Control (QC) controls and we structure our reports to deliver meaningful results and visualizations. These include insect biodiversity and species distribution, as well as several additional key metrics.

This innovative method provides the insights farmers need to deploy nature-based solutions around their farm, attract natural pollinators or support integrated pest management. Repeatedly analyzing different fields within a region leads to insights that explain differences in yield and allow farmers to assess how management changes have improved biodiversity.

Why SGS?

SGS Crop Science Services are focused on supporting new product developments in research and development (R&D) and conducting post-marketing studies. We operate a global network of field research facilities and dedicated analysis laboratories for physicochemical, ecotoxicological, environmental, microbial and residue studies. Our crop science experts also conduct seed R&D projects, from early breeding to seed treatment trials.

Now that we offer SGS InsectScan, we can also assess the potential impact of agricultural management strategies, pesticides, biological pesticides, biostimulants and new fertilizers on insect community traits and biodiversity at the field level. This information supports the claims on the product labels and gives farmers the assurance that the products have a positive impact on biodiversity. Find out more in our current video SGS E-DNA Services: InsectScan.

For more information please contact;

dr Andrew Zumdick
VP – Crop Science Services
SGS Germany GmbH
In Maisel 14
D – 65232 Taunusstein
Telephone: +49 (0)6128 744 730

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