Nematode Detection Request for Proposal

Status: Completed
$10,000 referral fee for accepted leads.

A major agribusiness corporation is seeking technology to enable simple, semi-quantitative, cost-effective, field-based diagnosis of nematode populations in soybean fields.

The client has dedicated a total of $500,000 in funding for multiple research projects to develop this this technology and is soliciting research proposals from experts, scientists, companies, and collaborative teams.

The successful assay technology will:
  • Use no more than 100 cc soil sample
  • Identify the species and number of multiple parasitic nematode species
  • Cost less than $3 per soil sample
  • Detect nematode eggs of each target nematode species in the sample with the following sensitivities:
    • Root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus sp.): 1000/kg of soil; 50/g of dry root
    • Root-knot (Meloidogyne sp.): 1000/kg of soil
    • PIN (Paratylenchus sp.): 5000/kg of soil
    • Dagger (Xiphinema sp.): 100/kg of soil
    • Bulb and stem (Ditylenchus sp.): 100/kg of soil
    • Soybean cyst (SCN) or Sugarbeet cyst (Heterodera sp.): 2000 larvae/kg of soil; >250 cysts/kg soil; 200 eggs/100g of soil
  • Be robust in a field setting
  • Provide test results in under 1 hr


Nematodes have been an increasing problem for soybean producers over the past decade or more. Growers should be aware that nematodes are a major pest problem in soybean production, and in addition, nematodes seriously increase risks to other crops that may follow soybean in a crop rotation. Nematodes attacking soybean include all the root-knot (Meloidogyne spp.) nematode specie. In addition, reniform (Rotylenchulus reniformis), lesion (Pratylenchus spp.) and sting (Belonolaimus longicaudatus) nematode populations are increased by soybean production. Each of these nematodes can be limiting factors in the production of soybean as well as other crops. Soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) is the most important nematode affecting soybean.

Our need is to develop an easy to use, quantitative field diagnostic test for nematode identification and concentration to replace the current long duration lab based tests based on microscopic analysis. The results can be used to direct an eradication program for that specific field.

Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might come from applications or industries such as, but not limited to:
  • Diagnostic test kit developers
  • Immuno-based assays
  • Novel biotechnology methods (e.g., isothermal amplification reactions under easily controlled temperature, nicking enzyme amplification reaction)
  • New technology combinations (e.g., biochemical reaction in conjunction with biosensor or semiconductor sensor)
  • Biomedical sensors
  • Environmental or pathogen contamination detection and monitoring industries

Approaches NOT of Interest

  • Approaches that do not represent significant improvements in cost, labor input, sensitivity and throughput
  • amplification-based approaches (unless they do not require expensive lab equipment)

Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Client will select compelling proposals for preliminary direct discussions to further assess the technology and determine possible next steps, including negotiations for development targets, deliverables and milestones.

Phase 1 – Proof of concept, including
  • Technology demonstration by developer at lab scale with multiple soil samples and priority 1 nematode species (See below)
  • Assessment of sensitivity
  • Estimation of cost / sample once implemented
  • Targets to be agreed upon between developer and client in negotiations
Phase 2– Commercial implementation, including
  • Development of Standard Operating Procedures
  • Technology transfer to Client
  • Implementation of solution at commercial scale according to contract terms

Criteria for Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2

Promising approaches will be evaluated for commercial viability and fit with client's end application prior to any decisions regarding support for commercial implementation.

Appropriate Responses to this Request

Responses from companies, academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome.

Appropriate responses will use the proposal template and address the following:
  • Technological background for approach
  • Features of the proposed strategy that will achieve the stated aims
  • Data demonstrating achievement of the technical specifications, if available
  • Availability of samples or prototypes, if applicable
  • Cost and/or budget estimates
  • Intellectual property (IP) status around the proposed technology
  • Preferred business arrangements (licensing, joint development, supply etc.)

  • I represent a company with technology which should provide a solution ready for testing and transfer to commercial use

  • I am an academic researcher with technology which should provide a solution but that requires further research and development to ready it for transfer to commercial use

Nematodes, Parasitic Priority
Dagger nematodes Xiphinema sp./spp. 5
Lance nematode Hoplolaimus columbus
Hoplolaimus galeatus
Hoplolaimus magnistylus
Lesion nematode Pratylenchus spp. 3
Needle nematodes Longidorus spp. 5
Pin nematode Paratylenchus projectus
Paratylenchus tenuicaudatus
Reniform nematode Rotylenchulus reniformis 4
Ring nematode Criconemella ornata 4
Root-knot nematode Meloidogyne arenaria
Meloidogyne hapla
Meloidogyne incognita
Meloidogyne javanica
Sheath nematode Hemicycliophora spp. 4
Soybean cyst nematode Heterodera glycines 1
Spiral nematode Helicotylenchus spp. 4
For avoidance of doubt, the deliverable anticipated in response to this Challenge is a development proposal.

Nematode Detection Request for Proposals

In-licensing technology, development, supplier agreement
  • Potential applications of this technology are testing upwards of 20% of the global soybean
  • These and other options would be discussed during negotiations with the chosen development partner

Phase 1 - Technology development and validation (9-12 months)
Phase 2 - Technology implementation in production setting (6 months)

Funding for all or part of development costs is available; all terms to be negotiated as warranted.

$10,000 referral fee for accepted leads.