CSS-Systemhaus Schlegel: Plant cultures with an electronic identity card
The Stuttgart-based individualised business software specialist, CSS-Systemhaus Schegel, worked for five years on the development of a unique software solution for tissue culture laboratories until the individual Invitrosoft modules were finally ready for application. The development of the software involved in vitro culture specialists, database developers and software project managers.
The tiny spot on the pink agar in the thimble-sized plastic cup can scarcely be discerned with the naked eye. But a look at the attached barcode label is sufficient for Gensingen-based InnovaPlant’s laboratory manager to determine what the spot will turn into: “This will be a petunia with pink flowers.”
Software application in Europe, Africa and America
The software covers all activities related to administering cultures, it guarantees the foolproof production and propagation of plants and, when printed out on a thermal printer, incorporates all the necessary information on a barcode label, which is a kind of identity card for plants at all stages of development.
Nowadays, laboratories in Europe, Africa and America are successfully using Invitrosoft. The basic version can be complemented with a variety of individual modules that are developed in cooperation with client laboratories. One laboratory might require the computerised compilation and administration of test results per culture, another might want to use the software in the greenhouse for the administration of the plant stock used to establish cultures, for trial cultures or for flowering tests. The software makes all of this possible. And if there are problems with the software, often the case with computers, the support team will be there to help you. In many cases remote assistance from the Stuttgart-based company will be sufficient, no matter whether the client laboratory is located in Frankfurt, Munich or Hamburg, Costa Rica, Krakau or Tel Aviv.
Greenhouses as far as the eye can see
It is exciting to visit a tissue culture laboratory – especially for laypeople. The company Kientzler-Jungpflanzen in Gensingen has made this possible. There are greenhouses as far as the eye can see, all filled with millions of young plants. The company’s subsidiary, InnovaPlant, has two laboratories. “Why two laboratories rather than one that is twice the size?” we asked Dr. Axel Feldhoff, head of the laboratory at InnovaPlant. “This is for safety reasons,” said Feldhoff adding that, “the second laboratory contains duplicates of all our cultures. It would be disastrous and expensive to lose some of our new breeds during the reproduction time – through whatever catastrophe.” Being in the laboratory is more like being in a medical research institute than in a greenhouse.
All test tubes and glass vials have stamp-sized barcode labels that contain all the Invitrosoft programme’s information. Approximately 2,500 different ornamental plants grow in air-conditioned, light-controlled chambers.
Expansion of the laboratory programme for deciduous trees and conifers
The initiator of this special plant cultivation software, Andreas Schlegel, foresees many more applications for his Invitrosoft programme. He has for quite some time been experimenting with deciduous tree and conifer adaptations. This could be an excellent tool for restoring areas, which have been destroyed by fire or eroded, with disease- and insect-resistant young plants. The next step in his vision of the future would then be an electronic guidepost for in vitro crop cultures. “The thought that it will one day be possible to reduce world famine is fantastic. Just imagine a future where it will be possible to send wheat, maize and millet seeds to threshold and developmental countries that originate from plants that were tested in the laboratory for climate robustness and yield,” says Andreas Schlegel, enthusiastic about future prospects.
The fact that these are not pie-in-the-sky ideas is clearly shown by the experiments being carried out with crops in agricultural and biotechnological research institutes using the Invitrosoft programme. “But the road to be travelled through the large number of tests is long and expensive,” said Schlegel who hopes to receive financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture and the EU. Schlegel has already applied for support for his research activities.
Source: CSS - 28.01.2008
CSS-Systemhaus Schlegel oHG
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