Nav: Home

New diagnostic tool developed for global menace Xylella fastidiosa increases specificity

April 23, 2019

St. Paul, MN (April 2019)-- The bacterium Xylella fastidiosa is notable for having a wide host range, with the ability to infect more than 300 plants. X. fastidiosa has a long history of causing serious harm to crops and trees in the Americas, with especially damaging repercussions on grapevine and citrus.

In 2013, X. fastidiosa was discovered for the first time outside of the Americas, attacking olive trees in southern Italy causing olive quick decline syndrome. Since then, it has been increasingly found in various environments throughout France and Spain on a variety of plant species and the demand for fast and reliable diagnostic tools is crucial to effective disease management strategies.

In a research article in Plant Disease, Bonants et al. record their efforts to improve the reliability of existing X. fastidiosa diagnostic tools. The team combined two existing tools with an internal control to develop a triplex TaqMan assay, which they then used to analyze DNA extracts in naturally infected plant material, artificially infected plant material, and uninfected plant material.

The triplex TaqMan assay has increased specificity as it targets two loci rather than just on locus on an X. fastidiosa genome. This is the first time a diagnostic tool of this type has been successfully developed for this pathogen.

Additionally, the researchers developed procedures for analyzing DNA extracts from both infected and healthy plants using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, marking the first time extracts from X. fastidiosa-infected plants were analyzed in this way. In all samples, DNA reads were detected specific for X. fastidiosa and in most cases the pathogen could be identified to the subspecies level. This new procedure leads the way for future track-and-trace studies.
More details about this study can be found in Development and Evaluation of a Triplex TaqMan Assay and Next-Generation Sequence Analysis for Improved Detection of Xylella in Plant Material in Plant Disease, Volume 103, Number 4, published April 2019.

About Plant Disease

Plant Disease is the leading international journal for rapid reporting of research on new, emerging, and established plant diseases. The journal publishes papers that describe translational and applied research focusing on practical aspects of disease diagnosis, development, and management in agricultural and horticultural crops. Follow us on Twitter @Plantdiseasej and visit to learn more.

American Phytopathological Society

Related Plants Articles:

Transgenic plants against malaria
Scientists have discovered a gene that allows to double the production of artemisinin in the Artemisia annua plant.
How plants can tell friend from foe
The plant's immune system can recognize whether a piece of RNA is an invader or not based on whether the RNA has a threaded bead-like structure at the end, say University of Tokyo researchers.
Plants at the pump
Regular, unleaded or algae? That's a choice drivers could make at the pump one day.
How do people choose what plants to use?
There are about 400,000 species of plants in the world.
Defend or grow? These plants do both
From natural ecosystems to farmers' fields, plants face a dilemma of energy use: outgrow and outcompete their neighbors for light, or defend themselves against insects and disease.
How do plants protect themselves against sunburn?
To protect themselves against UV-B, which are highly harmful, plants have developed cellular tools to detect them and build biochemical defenses.
Pea plants demonstrate ability to 'gamble' -- a first in plants
An international team of scientists from Oxford University, UK, and Tel-Hai College, Israel, has shown that pea plants can demonstrate sensitivity to risk -- namely, that they can make adaptive choices that take into account environmental variance, an ability previously unknown outside the animal kingdom.
A 'Fitbit' for plants?
Knowing what physical traits a plant has is called phenotyping.
How plants conquered the land
Research at the University of Leeds has identified a key gene that assisted the transition of plants from water to the land around 500 million years ago.
Plants are 'biting' back
Calcium phosphate is a widespread biomineral in the animal kingdom: Bones and teeth largely consist of this very tough mineral substance.

Related Plants Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".