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Detection of Erysiphe necator in Air Samples Using the Polymerase Chain Reaction and Species-Specific Primers

October 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  10
Pages  1,290 - 1,297

Jennifer S. Falacy, Gary G. Grove, Walter F. Mahaffee, Heather Galloway, Dean A. Glawe, Richard C. Larsen, and George J. Vandemark

First, second, and fourth authors: Washington State University-Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC), Prosser, WA 99350; third author: USDA-ARS HCRL, 3420 NW Orchard Avenue, Corvallis, OR 97330 and Oregon State University, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Corvallis 97331; fifth author, Washington State University-Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Puyallup 98371; and sixth and seventh authors: Vegetable and Forage Crops Production, USDA-ARS, Prosser, WA 99350.

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Accepted for publication 23 April 2007.

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay employing species-specific primers was developed to differentiate Erysiphe necator from other powdery mildews common in the northwest United States. DNA was extracted from mycelia, conidia, and/or chasmothecia that were collected from grape leaves with a Burkard cyclonic surface sampler. To differentiate E. necator from other erysiphaeceous fungi, primer pairs Uncin144 and Uncin511 were developed to select unique sequences of the internal transcribed spacer regions of E. necator. Using these primers in PCR amplifications, a 367-bp amplicon specific to E. necator was generated, but no amplicons were generated from other erysiphaceous species collected from 48 disparate hosts representing 26 vascular plant families. The PCR limit of detection was one to five conidia of E. necator placed directly into reaction mixtures or 100 to 250 conidia placed on glass rods coated with silicon grease. During field studies, this PCR assay facilitated the detection of E. necator inoculum in air samples within hours of sample rod collection and prior to disease onset. Amplification of E. necator DNA did not occur when the PCR assay was conducted on vineyard air samples collected while grapes were dormant or during periods when vine growth occurred but E. necator remained dormant. The initial PCR detection of E. necator of the season occurred during seasonal ascospore releases caused by precipitation events between bud burst and the prebloom period during the 3 years of the study. Detection ceased for 7 to 11 days following ascospore release and then resumed several days prior to the observance of microscopic symptoms and signs of powdery mildew in the field. Results of this study represent the initial step toward the goal of incorporating an inoculum availability component into current and future grapevine powdery mildew risk assessment models.

Additional keywords:aerobiotia, spore collection.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society