A real-time SYBR Green I assay was developed and evaluated as a biological and enzymatic polymerase chain reaction (Bio-PCR) protocol for the detection of Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni. Suppression subtractive hybridization was used to generate a X. arboricola pv. pruni-specific subtracted DNA library, using X. arboricola pv. corylina as the driver strain. Primer pair 29F/R, designed from cloned sequence, showed no homology to GenBank sequences and amplified a 344-bp product in all X. arboricola pv. pruni isolates. Compared with other published X. arboricola pv. pruni primers, this primer pair was shown to be the only one capable of differentiating X. arboricola pv. pruni from all other X. arboricola pathovars. A real-time assay was developed and shown to be capable of detecting less than 10 CFU and 0.1 pg of DNA. Epiphytic bacteria isolated from plum tissue was used to further evaluate the specificity of the assay. A Bio-PCR protocol, developed for field evaluation, confirmed X. arboricola pv. pruni isolation from asymptomatic and symptomatic plum tissue over a 9-week period between host flowering and the first appearance of leaf and fruit symptoms in an orchard. Dilution plating enabled X. arboricola pv. pruni numbers to be quantified, providing supportive evidence for the usefulness of the Bio-PCR protocol in plant pathology and quarantine surveillance.
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