Date: 02.03.2023 | 446 words, 2883 characters


Deutsche Saatveredelung AG (DSV) is co-founder of the start-up company SMARTtray®GmbH. The company was launched in December 2022 in cooperation with an investor, Pure Nature Energy GmbH, from Lossburg in the Black Forest. SMARTtray® offers innovative technology and services for plant breeding companies worldwide.

In modern plant breeding, so-called SMART Breeding has become increasingly important in recent years. "SMART" here means plant selection using DNA markers and advanced reproduction techniques. In this process, plants are selected on the basis of the genetic information that correspond to the characteristics desired by the breeder. This can be, for example, a particularly high yield or virus resistance.

Until now, the necessary removal of a tissue sample has been the bottleneck in the breeding process.

"SMARTtray®" offers breeding companies many advantages. It is an all-round solution to automate the SMART Breeding process and make it scalable. Thus, breeding new varieties becomes more efficient, more cost-effective and safer as an entire process," explains Dr Zeljko Micic. He developed the technology as laboratory manager at DSV's site in Salzkotten-Thüle. Now he has been appointed managing director of SMARTtray® GmbH.

The innovation is based on the fact that DNA can be isolated from any plant tissue. In contrast to previous methods, the SMARTtray® solution focuses on the root as the sample tissue. Part of the root can be sampled automatically without harming the plant. This is done directly in the laboratory and the subsequent DNA isolation is also integrated automatically.

"Together with our partners, we were also able to develop an automatic cultivation station for the young plants. This is what we call 'exponential breeding'. This allows us to relieve scarce greenhouse capacities and also reduce energy costs," adds Dr Micic.

The breeding industry is under increasing pressure. It takes between 10 and 12 years to develop new, adapted varieties. This is countered by rapidly advancing climate change and a growing world population. So innovations that accelerate breeding are needed. SMARTtray® bundles the process steps and thus generates enormous synergy effects. 


The SMARTtray® workflow and the associated products could be protected in two worldwide patents, which makes the young company unique and a world first. "We have successfully taken a new path here for this industry in order to finance market access for this product idea, true to our motto "Innovation for your growth". We wish Dr. Micic and the start-up company SMARTtray® GmbH every success for the future," said Clive Krückemeyer, member of the DSV Board of Directors. DSV will retain a minority stake in the new company. The operational management will be taken over by Dr. Micic together with the investor Pure Nature Energy GmbH.

The company SMARTtray® GmbH has its headquarters in Lossburg and its operating site in Salzkotten. Further information can be found at


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