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Identification and Quantification of Pathogenic Pythium spp. from Soils in Eastern Washington Using Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction

June 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  6
Pages  637 - 647

K. L. Schroeder , P. A. Okubara , J. T. Tambong , C. A. Lévesque , and T. C. Paulitz

First, second, and fifth authors: United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Root Disease and Biological Control Unit, Washington State University, Pullman 99164; and third and fourth authors: Environmental Health Program—Biodiversity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6, Canada

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Accepted for publication 31 January 2006.

Traditional methods of quantifying Pythium spp. rely on the use of selective media and dilution plating. However, high variability is inherent in this type of enumeration and counts may not be representative of the pathogenic population of Pythium spp. Variable regions of the internal transcribed spacer of the rDNA were used to design species-specific primers for detection and quantification of nine Pythium spp. from soils in eastern Washington. Primer pairs were designed for Pythium abappressorium, P. attrantheridium, P. heterothallicum, P. irregulare group I, P. irregulare group IV, P. paroecandrum, P. rostratifingens, P. sylvaticum, and P. ultimum and used with real-time polymerase chain reaction. Standard curves were generated for each of the species using SYBR Green I fluorescent dye for detection of amplification. Seventy-seven isolates of Pythium were screened to confirm specificity of each primer set. DNA was extracted from soil and standard curves were generated for P. irregulare group I, P. irregulare group IV, and P. ultimum to correlate populations of each species in the soil with quantities of DNA amplified from the same soil. Examination of raw field soils revealed results similar to those observed in previous studies. This new technique for the quantification of Pythium spp. is rapid and accurate, and will be a useful tool in the future study of these pathogenic Pythium spp.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2006