Turnaround time is dependent on the requested test. Please consult the List of Services for the turnaround time for each test. Rush orders (24 hours) are available on request.

Please fill in the online sample submission form or request a sample submission form be sent to you. Enclose a copy of the sample submission form with the sample, or email it back to us. Consult the list of Current Services to ascertain how much sample must be submitted. Place the sample in a suitable, sealed container or bag and either send via courier to our physical address (4 Shortts Retreat Road, Mkondeni, Pietermaritzburg, 3201) or you may drop the sample off with us.

Seed samples can be sent at room temperature, but preferably with an expedited courier service. Leaf and fresh/perishable food samples must be sent via overnight courier and be kept chilled with dry ice or ice packs. Some samples can also be submitted via FTA® card – please enquire about the protocol.

SciCorp Laboratories are accredited by SANAS to 17025 standards for GMO testing. Please consult our schedule and certificate on the About page.

We are always looking for ways to engage the broader public in the work we do. We welcome tours from academic/school groups – please enquire.


Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology”, sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering”. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between nonrelated species. Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as GM foods.


GM foods are developed – and marketed – because there is some perceived advantage either to the producer or consumer of these foods. This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both. Initially GM seed developers wanted their products to be accepted by producers and have concentrated on innovations that bring direct benefit to farmers (and the food industry generally).

One of the objectives for developing plants based on GM organisms is to improve crop protection. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.

Resistance against insects is achieved by incorporating into the food plant the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This toxin is currently used as a conventional insecticide in agriculture and is safe for human consumption. GM crops that inherently produce this toxin have been shown to require lower quantities of insecticides in specific situations, e.g. where pest pressure is high. Virus resistance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from certain viruses which cause disease in plants. Virus resistance makes plants less susceptible to diseases caused by such viruses, resulting in higher crop yields.

Herbicide tolerance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from a bacterium conveying resistance to some herbicides. In situations where weed pressure is high, the use of such crops has resulted in a reduction in the quantity of the herbicides used.

SciCorp is always researching and developing new tests and we have adopted a dynamic, customer/market-orientated approach to new tests. Please let us know your needs and we will together work out a way to serve your needs.

The LOD is the limit of detection. This is the minimum quantity that can be detected in a test. If the LOD is 0.01% (w/w), the test will only be positive if there is 0.01% (w/w) or more. The LOQ is the limit of quantification. This is the lowest value that can be accurately quantified by the test. If the amount of analyte is less than the LOQ, this will be stated on the results as <LOQ.

When seed samples arrive in the laboratory, it is important that the laboratory staff are aware of any treatment that has been applied on the seed. Besides an increased health risk to the laboratory staff, some tests require that the treatment or coating be washed off as much as possible so that the treatment/coating does not interfere with the test itself.

Customer confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of SciCorp Laboratories. Upon arrival in the laboratory, each order/sample is assigned a unique sequential number. Laboratory staff are trained

GMO certificates are valid for six months for maize, soya and cotton. GMO certificates for all other crops are valid for one year.

If you are submitting plant material to SciCorp Laboratories from outside South Africa, please contact us to enquire about import permits for your country. If we do not have an import permit for your country, we will apply for one. All plant material entering South Africa requires a phytosanitary certificate from the exporting country’s authorities. The only exception is if the plant material is coming from a facility that is officially exempt.

Yes, SciCorp Laboratories is registered as a Biotechnology Lab and is also a registered laboratory in terms of the Genetically Modified Organisms Act, 1997: http://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Branches/Agricultural-Production-Health-Food-Safety/Genetic-Resources/Biosafety/Notifications

If your question is not answered, please feel free to contact us and one of our scientists or staff members will endeavour to answer your question.