Today, most Western countries grow fruit and vegetables in industrial farms and large greenhouses. These crops are grown in dense media and fed by recycled water mixed with fertilizers and nutrients. However, when a plant gets a disease, it's only a matter of time before the whole farm is infected with the same pathogen, causing a decrease in yield and crop quality, resulting in potential losses for the operation.
Because of this, NUFiltration Ltd. has developed and commercially introduced a detector for early and IN SITU detection of viruses and/or bacteria before widespread infection.
The @-site NUF® Pathogen Detector is an immediate portable detector that combines the inherent capabilities of the NUF® membrane with modern technology to produce a kit to identify unique pathogens within 10 to 30 minutes.
Existing methods for detecting and identifying pathogens all follow a similar concept: take a tissue sample from a plant showing signs of disease, send the sample to a laboratory, and have it tested there. The whole process is rather expensive and takes several weeks before getting the results. Early detection of diseases enables the immediate implementation of preventive measures that minimize crop damage, while detection after the appearance of signs on the leaves is usually too late. So, most methods available today do not prevent the problem but only confirm that there is a problem.
According to NUFiltration, their detector provides a continuous detection that concentrates the sampled water by 10,000 times (proportional to the duration of operation). The 0.03-micron NUF membrane will retain bacteria, viruses and fungi. Detection is done by streaming irrigation drainage through the NUF detector. While the NUF membrane will retain pathogens, backwashing the NUF membrane will extract the concentrated material retained inside. The extracted water can be then tested, at site, for the pathogens of concern. At the same time the permeate/filtrate of the NUF® detector will be pathogen-free, demonstrating the effect of NUF® disinfection systems.
Summary of Research Results, courtesy of Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt and Scientia Terrae.
The NUF detector in combination with a detection stick for the ToBRFV pathogen (a common pathogen in tomato cultivation) was tested in a joint study with the PROEFSTATION Institute and in partnership with the SCIENTIA TERRA Institute in Belgium in May-June 2022.
The aim of the study was to determine the presence of the ToBRFV virus in water using RT-qPCR analysis and a self-testing kit of Agdia before and after INSITU concentration with the NUF detector.
The study showed that after filtering enough water through the NUF membrane, ToBRFV can be detected in the backwash water of the membrane using the AGDIA Immunostrip® self-test kit. In addition, no ToBRFV was detected in the filtrate.