An essential component of our production system is quality control. We make every effort to reduce all potential risk factors within the parameters of a viable production system. DPD pioneered the systematic application of AFLP fingerprint technology for the purpose of confirming variety identity for micro-propagated date palm. Since 1999, all our culture-lines are DNA-fingerprinted using the PCR-based AFLP technique. Variety is confirmed by comparison of each individual fingerprint with that obtained from a known reference tree of proven variety and known location as well as our own large AFLP-based DNA-fingerprint database of varieties and clones.
This procedure is carried out by Eurofins Scientific Analytics – an independent, specialist company. Eurofin are based in France and are acknowledged as one of Europe’s leading providers of molecular biology testing services for plant variety rights, quality analysis and control to the european Food, Agriculture and Horticulture industries.
Variety confirmation is essential for our customers, so is the health and disease-free status of our plants. All DPD production clones are screened for possible disease-causing agents. Screening for phytoplasma (e.g. ‘Al Wijam’ and Lethal Yellows disease) and for PST-type viroid (e.g. Cadang Cadang disease) are carried out using the PCR-based TaqMan technique. Screening for palm mosaic potyvirus is carried out by the ELISA method and electron microscopy is used to detect virus particles. This screening is carried out at the UK’s FERA Central Science Laboratories,York.
All new culture lines are rigorously screened for bacterial or fungal contaminants prior to being introduced into the main production stocks. In order to detect and contain any subsequent contamination, every multiplication culture is sampled at every transfer and the sample tissue cultured on microbiological growing media to detect bacterial or fungal contaminants. In this way we take every precaution to ensure the disease-free status of our production stock.
Clear quality selection criteria are applied at each stage of the culture, weaning and greenhouse process. Before being despatched, all the plants are carefully prepared and inspected for a UK Phytosanitary Certificate, confirming their disease-free status.
Each aspect of our production process, from raw chemical to final plant is recorded and governed by our standard operating procedures to ensure quality, reproducibility and traceability. As an essential part of this process, every culture is identified by clone and batch coding. All plants are fully traceable through the laboratory and greenhouse production stages – right up until final dispatch. This gives us the essential mechanism for control, monitoring and management of the production process.