Biotechnology Services
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Biotechnology servives at Rubber ConsultantsRubber Consultants’ Biotechnology Unit was established in 2008. The state-of-the-art facilities, occupying an area of some 275m2, include purpose-built laboratories and office space as well as a bioinformatics facility that contains a 55-core high-performance Linux computing cluster. The location of Rubber Consultants, just outside London, England, is advantageous due to its close proximity to leading biotechnology centres in the UK and Europe.

Main areas of expertise
Biotechnology expertise is available in four broad areas: i) Plant molecular biology, involving investigation of the functions of single genes or complexes of genes; ii) Plant genomics and transcriptomics, including genome sequencing and fine-scale genetic mapping; iii) Plant proteomics, consisting of comprehensive studies of protein structure, expression and function and; iv) Bioinformatics, including sequence assembly, functional annotation of genomic sequence and molecular marker mining.

Rubber Consultants’ Biotechnology services are able to offer the following:

  • Tailor-made individual projects, designed to meet the specific needs of clients – these can entail routine laboratory procedures, but can also extend to in-depth research projects that encompass sample preparation, data collection, troubleshooting and data analysis.
    • Projects can range from routine DNA extraction from large numbers of samples to gene discovery and development of biomarkers.
  • Advice and practical assistance with troubleshooting and interpretation of results
    • e.g analysis of experimental data, bioinformatics support
  • Training of personnel in specialised research areas / degree training / student mentoring in collaboration with UK universities
  • Accredited test method development
  • Space in the fully equipped facility on a ‘bench fee’ basis  

Rubber Consultants Biotechnology services can provide specific assistance in the following disciplines:

Molecular Biology

  • Nucleic acid (DNA, RNA) extraction from a wide range of tissues
  • Protein purification from bacterial cultures or plant tissues
  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplification of template
  • Gene cloning and protein expression – plant or bacterial heterologous systems
  • Production of recombinant proteins in E. coli or plant systems e.g. Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana tabacum

Genomics

  • Sanger sequencing
  • Gene expression analysis through qPCR
  • Molecular marker discovery, assay development and validation
  • Genotyping using a range of molecular markers e.g. SNP, SSR, AFLP, RFLP
  • Genetic mapping
  • QTL mapping and its utilisation in Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) and Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB)

Proteomics

  • Protein characterisation
  • Study of protein processing, maturation and targeting – in vitro and in vivo approaches
  • Generation of protein mutants for studies of protein stability and functionality
  • Stability and kinetics of protein-protein and protein-antibody interactions
  • Quantitative and qualitative analysis of total protein content

Bioinformatics

  • De novo sequence assembly from Next Generation and Sanger sequencing platforms
  • Functional annotation of genomic sequence
  • Gene and protein sequence analysis
  • Data curation

Fully equipped laboratories with state-of-the-art instrumentation including:

  • 3130xl Genetic Analyser (Applied Biosystems); capillary electrophoresis / DNA sequencing
  • 7900HT (Applied Biosystems); real time quantitative PCR
  • Nanodrop II (Innovadyne); a low volume, high-precision pipetting platform (www.gilsonuk.com/nano/apps)
  • QIAcube (Qiagen); automated nucleic acid purification
  • ÄKTA Avant 25 (GE Healthcare); Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC)
  • Equipment to run two-dimensional (2D) protein gels, with powerful Delta2D software for visual analysis and quantification
  • Experion (BIO-RAD); automated electrophoresis system for separation and analysis of protein and nucleic acid samples

Use of these instruments and associated equipment can be offered on a bench fee basis. Office space may also be negotiated if required.

The Biotechnology Unit is also able to offer low temperature storage for a wide range of samples in -80oC freezer facility, as well as storage in cryogenic conditions.

UKAS Accredited Testing for the Modified Lowry Latex Protein Assay

Rubber Consultants Biotechnology Unit offers a testing service for the quantification of aqueous extractable protein from natural rubber and its products through the Modified Lowry assay. In-house methods are available for both the American (ASTM D5712-10) and European (EN 455-3:2006) standards. The laboratory was awarded UKAS-accreditation for the in-house method based on ASTM D5712-10 in September 2011, and for the in-house method based on EN 455-3:2006 method in August 2012.

Rubber Consultants staff are experienced in testing of a range of natural rubber products including latex gloves, balloons, exercise bands and others. As a part of the service we are also able to assist with the interpretation of results if required.

Testing for Individual Allergenic Proteins found in Natural Latex

In regard to specific quantification of individual allergenic proteins, we are offering testing for 4 principal Hevea brasiliensis [Hev b] allergenic proteins (Hev b1, Hev b3, Hev b5 and Hev b6.02) in natural rubber and its products derived from latex using FitKit assay following ASTM D7427-08 international standard. The methodology utilizes an immunological method known as immunoenzymetric assay (ELISA) that quantifies amount of target proteins using monoslonal antibodies specific for epitopes on these proteins.

Clonal ID Assessment for Hevea brasiliensis

We have developed clonal identification panel for Hevea brasiliensis based on SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) molecular markers. It allows confirmation or assignment of clonal identity to planting materials as well as assessment of their uniformity. This is an ideal solution to ensure optimal performance of the plants when they reach their maturity in 5-7 years after planting. Our team is able to handle projects of different sizes with variable numbers of SNPs and samples through use of different genotyping platforms. You can read more on our work in this area here.

Speciation and Adulteration

We offer quantitative assessment and confirmation of species content in a range of products including food and pharmaceuticals. Currently, testing for four species: beef, sheep, pork and chicken. More species-specific assays are being added to the current panel.

We also can develop custom assays on request.

Being affiliated with Malaysia, recognised as a global leader for Halal certification, we will be including these and other methods in our portfolio of test methods for Halal authentication of a variety of products.

If you would like further information regarding any of our areas of expertise, or any related topics not specified here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Dr Maria Kolesnikova-Allen, will be happy to assist, e-mail: mkallen@rubberconsultants.com.

Other services offered by Rubber Consultants are:

Analytical Services
Pharmaceutical Testing
Bioinformatics
Rubber in Engineering
Prototype Design & Manufacturing
Rubber Technology
Contract Research
Physical Testing
Tyre Testing

Expert Witnesses

If you require any of our services do not hesitate to contact us.

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