From one small project emerged a revolutionary agricultural solution
Spornado Sampler is the invention of Canadian environmental research scientists Kristine White Mike Saleh, and Dr. James Scott.
The colleagues were approached by an agricultural firm to develop a low-tech method for early detection oflate blight in potato – caused by Phytophthora infestans – in air and water. Phytophthora infestans is a common outdoor fungus that can cause blight disease in potato and tomato crops.
Working closely with a multi-disciplinary team of growers, engineers, plant pathologists and microbiologists the Spornado air sampler was conceived and underwent extensive testing, analysis and adjustment to optimize its efficacy and durability in the field.
Since the initial trials in potato crops, testing for a wide array of fungal pathogens has been developed including Phytophthora infestans in tomato, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in canola and ginseng, Fusarium graminearum in wheat and other grains, as well as Phakopsora pachyrhizi which causes soyabean rust. The Spornado is also used in vineyards to detect powdery and downy mildew in grapes.
New applications on different, high-risk crops and disease combinations continue to be explored and Spornado quickly gained the attention of national agricultural media, North American growers, associations, laboratories and researchers.
The sampler is placed in the field trapping airborne and waterborne spores on specialized filters. These filters are then collected for DNA analysis for fungal pathogens that cause crop disease. With an established detection system in place to monitor the presence of this fungi in the environment around them, growers have the information to guide fungicide spraying when needed increasing yields and saving crops. Learn more about how it works here.
The sampler is being heralded as the first reliable early alert system for crop disease available to growers at an accessible cost, and with proven return on investment.