A team from Massey hope the commercialisation of their new method of DNA-based in-field diagnostics – with the help of a $30,000 PreSeed investment - will benefit a large growth market that includes the fields of agriculture, horticulture and viticulture.

Professor Peter Lockhart and his team from the Institute of Fundamental Sciences are revolutionizing the way plant borne pathogens can be detected and quantified. They have developed a new method of DNA-based in-field diagnostics that allows quick DNA-based testing of pathogens.

DNA-based in-field diagnostics is a large growth market that allows farmers to diagnose any crop infestation caused by bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens through the use of a DNA-based diagnostic device, smart phone or test tube. Application of the DNA and RNA technology could be hugely beneficial to the fields of agriculture, horticulture and viticulture.

Professor Peter Lockhart and his Team from the Institute of Fundamental Sciences recently applied for - and were awarded – a $30,000 PreSeed investment to commercialise their new method. 

PreSeed investment is sourced from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) under the PreSeed Accelerator Fund (PSAF) and matched 50:50 by MVL funds.  The funds are available to all Massey University academics and students for commercialisation of novel inventions that solve a large market need.

Massey Venture’s Chief Executive, Mark Cleaver explained that “the PreSeed funding is critical to help move research into a more commercial form that is ready to test in the market. Pre-seed funding is allocated to both research and market validation."

The amount awarded to each project depends on what is required to get the invention to the investor ready stage. Up to $250,000 is available per project.

With the $30,000 of funding received from the PreSeed Fund, Peter and the team were able to provide examples of the new method for inclusion in the provisional patent application. This method is cost-effective and reliable and could lead to a 90% reduction in cost and in much less time than other methods of measuring crop infestation. Peter and the team are now working on the product to take it to the next stage of commercialisation.

Massey staff and students who have ideas with commercial potential should contact R.Wilson@massey.ac.nz for more details.