Banana breeding project successfully implements modern track and trace system

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Tagging products with barcodes for easy price retrieval in supermarkets is now a regular practice that people often take for granted. But beyond supermarkets, barcodes can be employed across a whole spectrum of settings, including by scientists in their research.

The Accelerated Breeding Better Bananas project has developed, adapted, finetuned, and deployed a fully operational Banana breeding Tracking Tool (BTracT), which uses barcodes. Researchers now use BTracT to routinely track each step of the breeding process of the breeding pipeline, from where the male parent’s pollen comes from to how the cooked product tastes.

Each plant in each location receives a specific barcode identity. Apart from parental pedigree and taste details, BTracT records agronomic performance, pest resistance, plant stature, color, and feel of cooked bananas. These details are stored on the global banana breeding database MusaBase for all to access. The banana breeding process is extensive, and the performance of plants studied over several years can help identify the best performing and most suitable bananas with the most desired traits.

“Having real-time upload of data allows supervisors to keep track of operations while away from the Station. If a problem occurs, I am aware of it almost at the same time as the people on the ground. It also simplifies reporting as data needed for reports can quickly be accessed, also from anywhere in the world,” IITA Banana Breeder Allan Brown explained.

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