CIC opens new high-tech coffee laboratory

The National, Thursday July 21st, 2016

A NEW high-technology laboratory for coffee was opened recently, the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) said.
The facility established at CIC research station in Aiyura, Eastern Highlands, has been fully equipped with the latest technology installed with the assistance of partners from the University of Florida in USA and funding support from the national government.
Graduate research assistant at Florida University Craig Bateman said coffee berry borer (CBB) was a tiny little beetle that infested coffee berries all around the world.
“The great thing is that it is still not yet in Papua New Guinea so we are trying to keep it out,” Bateman said.
He said the problem is that CBB looks like other tiny beetles that make it difficult to identify with naked human eyes.
“The DNA lab is needed to look at extremely informative sections of the insect to help us identify CBB,” Bateman said.
“It is much more efficient than simply using morphology.”
The training was attended by research staff at CIC and participants from the Binatang Research Institute in Madang.
Participants were taken through the procedures of DNA analysis and how to take high resolution photos of bark beetles sent in by farmers or extension officers.
CIC chief executive officer Charles Dambui said the training was timely for the operations of the new lab and important for officers involved. “We are proud that the facility can now cater for rapid identification of any CBB suspects and providing safeguard for the industry from this deadly beetle,” he said.
Sentiko Ilbali, a participant from the Binatang Research Institute said the training was vital and he was grateful to be part of it as most of his work centred on DNA.
“It would help us more in the field of research in PNG.”