Technology and Engineering
  • ISSN: 2375-9402
  • Modern Agricultural Science and Technology

Design and Use of Automation for Soybean Transformation (Part 2): Handling of 
Agrobacterium Infection and Plating of Explants on Media

S. Chennareddy1, L. McCarty2, T. Cicak1, G. Anthony1, T. Parsons2

E. Gee3, K. Armstrong4, P. Morabito2, and R. Sarria4

1. Dow AgroSciences, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
2. Dow Chemical, Midland, Michigan, USA
3. Dow Chemical, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA

4. Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Abstract: At Dow AgroSciences, an efficient and robust transformation protocol has been developed for high throughput Agrobacterium-mediated transgenic soybean production. In this protocol, the infection of explants with Agrobacterium solution, and placement on cocultivation media is one of the most critical and resource intensive steps. Large scale manual process poses operational difficulties such as handling of Agrobacterium solution and ergonomic implications for operators. Automation of these and other steps will alleviate these risks and may potentially increase the throughput of soybean transgenic event production. To this effect, we developed an automated system that can (a) move Petri dishes using EPSON robots across different functional positions on the platform, (b) introduce up to six different types of Agrobacterium using a peristaltic pump system, (c) shake infecting explants to attain uniformity and consistency of infection, (d) dispense media using a Petri dish dispenser, (e) transfer individual explants onto cocultivation media using image recognition of the explant position in the infection plate, and (f) self-dispose different types of waste produced during operation. All of this was achieved using an integrated system of custom made and commercially available components coupled with robust software. The system preserves the sterility of the materials (explants) without compromising their viability and integrity while accurately executing the biological principles of the transformation method.

Key words: automation, soybean, Agrobacterium infection, explant transfer, robotics, imaging

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