Seed World

Eurofins BioDiagnostics Announces New Molecular Assay to Detect Waterhemp in Seed Samples

Eurofins BioDiagnostics Inc. is pleased to announce the addition of a new service offering to their portfolio. They now offer a highly specific and low-cost, probe-based PCR test to detect Amaranthus Tuberculatus/rudis (waterhemp) among seeds of other Amaranthus species.

“Amaranth species identification issues have plagued seed producers and farmers for many years,” says Michael Drozd, president of Eurofins BioDiagnostics Inc. “The development of this new and effective method for the detection and identification of the harmful waterhemp species is an example of how Eurofins BioDiagnostics is supporting the seed industry by providing unique testing solutions.”

Waterhemp poses a significant threat to crops not only due to the potential severity of an infestation but also because of its resistance to multiple herbicides. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture classifies waterhemp as a prohibited noxious weed species, and other states are considering following suit. This classification makes it imperative that those selling seeds can identify the presence of waterhemp before sale to prevent planting and distribution of this difficult weed species. The molecular identification method adds accuracy to the identification process as waterhemp is indistinguishable in visual appearance to other Amaranthus species.

The development and validation of this molecular method to identify single seed/leaf tissue for waterhemp species identification complements the Palmer Amaranth identification testing currently conducted by Eurofins BioDiagnostics. Testing individual seeds provides higher confidence that no waterhemp is present because each seed is confirmed to be either positive or negative. Eurofins BioDiagnostics can test the same individual seeds for waterhemp in addition to the Palmer Amaranth assay to rule out both contaminants within a single seed sample.

Seed producers can submit their seed samples to Eurofins BioDiagnostics to complete a purity/noxious weed exam. If another laboratory already completed the exam, producers can submit the Amaranth seed found to Eurofins for DNA testing in order to obtain a determination of the Amaranthus species within the lot. Well-developed seeds should be individually submitted for testing. Seeds from each seed lot can be submitted in coin envelopes or Ziploc bags with sample information and number of seeds listed on each bag. Each seed will be entered as a single sample and results will be issued on a single seed basis.

In conjunction with other good practices for seed production, seed producers can use the Eurofins BioDiagnostics waterhemp identification service to protect the quality and reputation of their operation.