After a couple years of tinkering, we finally have a working prototype of the Soybean Cyst Nematode Egg Extraction System, or our SCNExtractor for short. The following video shows the operation cycle of the SCNExtractor. We built this prototype as a two-channel system. The entire cycle consists of approximately four minutes, from sample loading to egg retrieval. Once the eggs are retreived from the sample collection funnels, they are stained and imaged. Computer vision then enables automatic egg counting.
We have designed the SCNExtractor in order to replace the manual drudgery involved in extracting and counting soybean cyst nematode eggs. Automating this process will significantly reduce SCN testing costs for soybean growers and soil testing companies. The process is simple, requires minimal technical training and does not use any expensive consumables.
The SCN Extraction and egg counting systems were developed by Dr. K. Bhalerao, Dr. K. Lambert, Dr. S. Bekal, Dr. C. Soman and Mr. F. Syed, with early drafting and prototying support from Ms. Allate Whitmore. A provisional patent has been filed by University of Illinois. Please contact Dr. Bhalerao if you have questions about this system.
The two channel prototype can be easily extended to process six channels simultaneously. Twelve channels running simultaneously will be able to process 12 samples in 12 minute cycles, or one sample per minute. A CAD drawing of a 12 channel system is shown below.
Stay tuned for performance data and more on the SCNExtractor.