A Bio-Open laboratory could be applied for use authorization and support R&D of the seed industry

The Bio-Open Lab, established in the spirit of sharing, is one of the important policies of Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, R.O.C. (Taiwan) in order to promote the R&D capabilities of the seed industry. Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station (TSIPS) has started to actively set up the Bio-Open Lab since 2021 and would like to provide a kind of open ecosystem for biotechnology, including R&D, technology promotion, quality control, training courses, and relative professional services and management. The seed companies could use the technical abilities and equipments of TSIPS to fully satisfy their demands, and then enhance their R&D capabilities.

Seeds are one type of commodities which possess characteristics of small size, high-value, and ease of transportation. Seed industry has a high degree of internationalization and intense competition in the world. Therefore, the accumulation of R&D capabilities is even more necessary. The application of molecular technologies on development of new varieties and quality control has been a basic requirement for international seed companies. However, the investment and related maintenance costs of a molecular testing laboratory, up to millions or tens of millions of NT dollars, is a heavy burden for small seed companies. Using external resources to increase the R&D capabilities would be a more profitable development strategy for an enterprise. After the scale of an enterprise reaches a certain level, the R&D laboratory can be set up by itself.

The main analysis system of Bio-Open laboratory is based on PCR relative equipment that can perform genotyping. Domestic companies are welcome to apply for an authorized use not only on facilities, but also customized training programs according to individual needs. The final goal is to assist companies to conduct their own biotechnical application independently. TSIPS hopes to provide an empirical field for the industry to learn the application of new technologies, to accelerate the research and development of new products, and to construct product quality control processes through seed quality testing.

The scales of domestic seed companies are relatively small, and their common needs belong to simple types and small amount of detection and analysis. If the high cost is invested only for the needs of molecular detection and analysis, it is like raising a cow for a glass of milk, which is not economical. Therefore, the Bio-Open Lab with the concept of sharing economy is launched at this time, just like rain in time, injecting new vitality into industry. It is expected that Bio-Open Lab can provide energy for the international competitiveness and sustainable development of Taiwan's seed industry.