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Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) Analyses for Characterization and Detection of Grapevine Pathogens

Christopher Wallis: USDA ARS

<div>Grapevines can become infected by a variety of devastating pathogens, including the bacterium <em>Xylella fastidiosa </em>and canker fungi. Multiple strains of <em>Xylella fastidiosa </em>exist, each causing different diseases on various hosts. Although sequence-based genotyping can assist in distinguishing these strains, there is a need for phenotyping to confirm taxonomy. Likewise, there are a wide variety of fungi associated with grapevine canker diseases, but most species are difficult to distinguish from one another using existing methodologies. To address both of these issues, fingerprinting of fatty acids that comprise cell membranes of each was performed using gas chromatography-based fatty acid methyl ester analyses (FAME). Findings allow for an alternative to DNA-based identification, which could be needed in cases where nucleic acid degradation is a concern or an alternative methodology is required. Furthermore, because cell membranes mediate interactions between microorganisms and hosts, certain fatty acid profiles may be linked to increased virulence.</div>