Field Services News

Field Services Update by Matt Raymond

Back in 2012 Illinois Crop Improvement purchased the QuickScan System from Envirologix. The QuickScan System is a lateral flow strip reader device that can provide quantitative results. The initial use of the QuickScan system was predominately for mycotoxin testing in our Identity Preserved Grain lab. In addition to the mycotoxin testing strips used on grain, Envirologix also offers quantitative GMO test strips for use with the system. Per customer requests, we added GMO testing for corn to our standard services that utilized the QuickScan in 2015. Then in the summer of 2018, we upgraded our equipment to the new QuickScan II System scanner.

About a month ago, we again implemented another improvement and switched from the previous 9-trait strip to the new 10-trait strip for GM corn detection. This allows us to analyze for one more potential contaminant in the test. The new strip detects and quantifies the following GM proteins with the eCry3.1Ab protein being the new addition.

Protein/Trade Name

Cry1A (Mon810) / YieldGard Corn Borer
CP4 EPSPS (Event 603) / Roundup Ready
Cry3Bb / YieldGard Rootworm
Cry1F / Herculex I
PAT/pat (T25) / Liberty Link
Cry34A / Herculex RW
modified Cry3A (MIR604) / Agrisure RW
Cry2A (MON89034) / SmartStax
Vip3A / Viptera
eCry3.1Ab (Event 5307) / Duracade NEWLY ADDED!

Customer demand drives the testing services we offer using the QuickScan. Currently, that includes GMO testing on corn and mycotoxin testing for aflatoxin, vomitoxin and fumonisin. We have also worked with customers on special projects for GMO detection in soybeans and alfalfa hay on a limited basis. If there is another crop you would like us to offer in GMO testing or one of the other mycotoxins you are interested in please contact the office at 217-359-4053 and let us know. Ask for Matt Raymond, Doug Miller or Steve Beals.

Staff Updates
Aaron Reed, the full-time Field Services Technician, recently joined the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists (SCST) as an Associate Member in January of 2020. SCST has several different levels of membership, the Associate Member is the entry-level membership into the organization. Associate membership provides access to the organization’s resources and allows Aaron to start the process of training to become an accredited member in the genetic seed testing area.

There are two genetic testing membership categories above associate membership, they are the Certified Genetic Technologist (CGT) and Registered Genetic Technologist (RGT). CGTs are accredited in one or two of the testing disciplines of adventitious presence, genetic purity, and trait presence; and an RGT is accredited in all three. For a member to receive their accreditation they have to demonstrate proof of competence and knowledge by passing both written and hands-on exams.

In February, Aaron will be attending the SCST Genetic Technology Super Workshop in Ames, Iowa at Iowa State University. The workshop helps prepare associate members for the RGT/CGT exams. Topics addressed are divided into general molecular genetics and the four testing methods of herbicide bioassay, electrophoresis, immunoassay and PCR. Each testing method is explained in detail with examples and then related to what disciplines it is best suited for use with. In addition to preparing for the RGT/CGT exams, attendees come away with valuable seed testing knowledge that is useful in their day to day activities. I still use the knowledge I attained when I attended for calculating parts per million rates for testing chemicals.

I would like to congratulate Galvin McQuellon on passing his Illinois pesticide applicator license test on January 7th in the Demonstration and Research category. Galvin is a student currently enrolled at the University of Illinois and works part-time in the Field Services greenhouse and lab. Once Galvin’s license is issued there will be three staff members in the Field Services department that can handle pesticides. Having a third person will help ensure that a licensed applicator is staffed in the department and available for daily testing needs.

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