Bioassays are used routinely in the seed testing industry to evaluate the presence/efficacy of traits in seed. A bioassay is in simple terms: the evaluation of the effect of a substance (chemical) on living tissue (germination seedlings). There are numerous types of bioassays including the evaluation of seed production in fields after Roundup, Liberty, Enlist, or other chemicals have been applied. In the lab, a similar process occurs. Seeds are exposed to a chemical during germination and evaluated for the chemical activity. Skill is required to understand and differentiate between chemical effects and normal disease or mechanical injury.
Approval to perform these analyses is a decision of the provider of each technology under their seed production guidelines. We are happy to announce that MCIA is now approved to perform trait testing for Enlist soybean seed production. MCIA also performs similar testing for glyphosate and STS tolerance. One of the advantages of these tests is that they can both be qualitative and quantitative. This means that results can detect both the presence and also purity percentage of the tested trait.