We sort living pollen for plant breeding

Up to now

Plant breeding is a mature industry. The classical process includes crossing plants with different traits to obtain the hybrids. The pollination process is done with the help of bees then screened and selected for a new round of crossing to generate new hybrids with enhanced traits. After several rounds of crossing, screening and selecting, the ideal stable hybrids are ultimately chosen as a new variety. This process can take 10 to 15 years and cost up to 1 to 5, sometimes even 20 million euros.

With PartiQla

PartiQla replaces the bees by using optical technologies to detect different pollen traits and microfluidic technologies to sort pollen. The important thing is that the sorted pollen remains alive, so that it can be used for pollination. With PartiQla’s technology, the cost to create a new variety could be reduced by 25%.

What we do

We produce a simple, compact device for use by breeders. It is able to arrange and move very small particles (e.g. pollen) by a gentle, microfluidic principle and in the same time to analyze them. Every single pollen grain passes an optical window where microscopic images are taken. With the image information we can draw conclusions about its properties.


Statistical analyses on images of living pollen to extract pollen traits


Pollen sorting with microfluidic technology by using the results of pollen screening


Sorted pollen stays alive and can be used for cross-pollination directly

What we do exactly

The pollen sorter analyzes living pollen with optical methods and automatically sorts pollen using the information derived from pollen images. The sorter enables plant breeders to select pollen with desired traits before cross-pollination to obtain wanted hybrids, instead of screening the offspring for good hybrids after cross-pollination. With this, the cost, time and workload to breed a new variety are reduced. It is estimated that the cost (€ 1 – 20 m) for creating 1 new variety can be reduced by about 25%.

The pollen imager can rotate and image pollen in a flow of liquid and so generate a sequence of images taken from different angles of a single pollen grain. With this, more information is collected about the pollen as if the pollen would simply pass straight on. You see some image sequences in the video below. Breeders can employ the pollen imager to screen father plants for breeding.

We offer more

  • We analyze your pollen samples with special methods, such as fluorescence microscopy, spectroscopy and pollen germination bioassay. Upon request, we process the generated data to distinguish different types of pollen in the samples.
  • We offer supports to screen your pollen by doing joint pilot projects.

Please do not hesitate to contact us.

We won prizes in Investor Days Thuringia 2020

PartiQla GmbH, Jena, was tied for the second place in Investor Days Thuringia 2020. Aside from winning the one of the main prizes with the award of € 2000 (sponsored by E&Y), the startup could convince the attendants of its business per se and the technology. PartiQla also won the public prize with the award of € 1000 (sponsored by GRUENDELPARTNER).