LexaGene’s Technology Successfully Detects a Common Fungus That Damages Agricultural Crops
Robust testing capabilities address needs of the $24.6B food safety testing* and $6.29B agricultural testing markets**
BEVERLY, Mass. – Apr. 30, 2019 – LexaGene Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: LXXGF; TSX-V: LXG) (the “Company”), a biotechnology company that develops genetic analyzers for pathogen detection and other molecular markers, announced today that its LX analyzer successfully detects Botrytis cinerea, also known as Gray Mold, which is a common agricultural pathogen responsible for $10 to $100 billion in agricultural losses worldwide each year.*** This fungus infects over 200 plant species causing the most yield loss in strawberries, grapes and cannabis.
For this study, LexaGene’s scientists used the LX analyzer technology to process vegetable washes from strawberries that were suspected of premature decay due to a plant pathogen as well as wash from strawberries that appeared healthy. The LX analyzer generated very clear and conclusive results for the detection of Botrytis in the prematurely decaying strawberries but none in the healthy strawberries.
Dr. James Marsden, former advisor to the White House, Director of Food Safety at Chipotle Mexican Grills, and member of the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board states, “One of LexaGene’s value propositions is that its technology will give food producers the ability to screen their crops for pathogens that may wipe out the entire farm, as well as screen the finished food products for human pathogens that could lead to expensive recalls and irreparable brand damage. This innovative LX technology will have a big impact on the industry by providing a complete testing solution to food producers, rather than addressing just half of their concerns.”
A key element to having extremely sensitive PCR-based technology is to be able to access the genetic material inside pathogens, many of which have very strong cell walls, particularly fungi. These strong cell walls need to be broken down in order to get to the DNA inside. Proving that the LX analyzer can easily detect fungal DNA is a testament to the robustness of its DNA extraction chemistry.
Dr. Jack Regan, LexaGene’s CEO and Founder comments, “In conversations with prospective customers, some have asked whether LexaGene’s technology can detect both human and plant pathogens, to which the answer is ‘yes’. Previously, we reported successful detection of human foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Staphylococcus, and here we are reporting that the LX analyzer can also detect plant pathogens. Data from this fungal study further indicate that the LX technology will offer best-in-class sensitivity for detecting rare pathogens. Exceptional sensitivity is important, as early detection will allow farmers to potentially avoid millions of dollars in crop losses due to Botrytis and other plant pathogens.
***Gray Mold Market; Lynne Boddy, in The Fungi (Third Edition), 2016
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About LexaGene Holdings Inc.
LexaGene is a biotechnology company developing the very first fully automated pathogen detection platform that is open-access. The open-access feature will empower end-users to target any pathogen of interest, as they can load their own real-time PCR assays onto the instrument for customized pathogen detection. End-users simply need to collect a sample, load it onto the instrument with a sample preparation cartridge, and press ‘go’. The instrument is expected to offer excellent sensitivity, specificity, and breadth of pathogen detection. The instrument will be able to process multiple samples at a time, in an on-demand fashion, returning results in about 1 hour. The company expects to sell its technology in the veterinary diagnostics market, food safety market, and more.
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