The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) program, has purchased an advanced piece of equipment known as the Life Cycler 96 machine. This machine will be used for plant and animal diagnosis, and will provide real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to the island.
A three-day training on the use of the Life Cycler 96 machine, which ended on 10th November 2016, was conducted by two representatives of Roche Diagnostics, based in Barbados. This training took place at the Molecular Laboratory at the Botanic Gardens, and targeted staff of the Division of Agriculture.
Head of the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, Mr. Trevorne Douglas, said “Real-time PCR technology is going to give us an opportunity to further expand our capacity to provide diagnostic services to those various units and departments we support. So, that technology is going to be used to monitor plant health in the [Citrus] Certification Facility, monitor animal welfare at the Captive Breeding Facility for the Mountain Chicken Conservation Programme … support the Livestock department in terms of Leptospirosis surveillance [and] Rickettsia surveillance and also we are looking to get involved in Avian Influenza surveillance and monitoring.”
Mr. Douglas believes the EC $101,000.00 Life Cycler 96 machine will allow his department to do a lot more work in quicker time, and will also provide better quality service to the ministry’s clients.
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