Protea Biosciences

New Molecular Technology Implemented to Protect Nation's Crops


Morgantown, WV -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/06/2015 --The winter frost isn't the only thing affecting our nation's crops, according to the Purdue University Weed Science team. The team is working hard to educate food growers on a major culprit: herbicide-resistant weeds to be exact. Food growers across the country are finding it increasingly difficult to kill "super weeds" as they become resistant to the most popular herbicides. After years of constant exposure to these herbicides, certain invasive plants have also developed a resistance, leading farmers to use more of the chemical. In some cases, the weeds have grown completely tolerant to these chemicals, allowing them to grow as high as eight feet tall.

According to Bryan Young, PhD., Associate Professor of Weed Science in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University. "Understanding the molecular interactions between plants and herbicides or combinations thereof is essential to developing strategies to combat invasive and emerging herbicide-resistant weed biotypes."

Enter A Hi-Tech Molecular Approach – LAESI®
In an effort to minimize the herbicide exposures to crops, the weed science team at Purdue University has implemented a new technology in their labs. The University recently acquired Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Direct Ionization System for direct molecular analysis that will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. The device is used for the molecular imaging of herbicide-active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.

Protea's LAESI system is a next generation molecular imaging platform that directly analyzes biological samples without the need to apply chemicals or introduce tags or tracers. It enables two-dimensional and three-dimensional imaging, displaying the distribution of molecules in the samples.

"The continued investigation of how herbicides function within the plant's morphological architecture and physiological pathways is paramount for improving the efficiency of herbicide activity and elucidating possible mechanisms that are the basis for the herbicide-resistant weeds impacting crop production, and Protea's DP-1000 system will enable us to map and monitor specific compounds both on and within the plants of interest," stated Dr. Young.

"The discovery of novel herbicides can have a positive effect on crop production and, ultimately, on the ability to more economically deliver food and livestock globally. In particular, LAESI's unique ability to provide three-dimensional molecular analytics of plant tissues can be incredibly useful for mapping herbicides and other molecules within the leaf, to actually see the molecular changes that are occurring within plants," stated Steve Turner, Protea's CEO.

Purdue University isn't the only research institution utilizing the new LAESI technology; Princeton University's Frick Chemistry Laboratory recently introduced LAESI into their labs for the screening of microbial samples to identify new molecular entities that may hold promise as new antimicrobial therapeutics.

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About Protea Biosciences Group, Inc.
Protea Biosciences is a molecular information company providing innovative bioanalytical solutions to the pharmaceutical, agricultural, and life science industries. Protea has developed a new, fully automated, molecular information technology platform, known as "LAESI" (Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization), that enables the direct analysis of molecules without the need for sample preparation. Large molecular datasets are generated on native biological samples that can also be visually displayed as 2D and 3D images. Protea maintains its own laboratory facilities where services are provided to its clients, using LAESI and complementary technologies and expertise.