Link to home

Identification and Detection of Phoma tracheiphila, Causal Agent of Citrus Mal Secco Disease, by Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction

December 2006 , Volume 90 , Number  12
Pages  1,523 - 1,530

G. Licciardello , Parco Scientifico e Tecnologico della Sicilia, Z. I. Blocco Palma I, Catania, Italy ; F. M. Grasso , Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Fitosanitarie, Università degli Studi di Catania, Catania, Italy ; P. Bella , Parco Scientifico e Tecnologico della Sicilia, Catania, Italy ; and G. Cirvilleri , V. Grimaldi , and V. Catara , Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Fitosanitarie, Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 4 August 2006.

Phoma tracheiphila is the causal agent of a tracheomycotic disease of citrus called mal secco causing the dieback of twigs and branches. This pathogen is of quarantine concern; therefore, fast and reliable protocols are required to detect it promptly. A specific primer pair and a dual-labeled fluorogenic probe were used in a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with the Cepheid Smart Cycler II System (Transportable Device TD configuration) to detect this fungus in citrus samples. Real-time PCR assay was compared to modified conventional PCR assay. The sensitivity of the former was evaluated by testing P. tracheiphila DNA dilutions, and the minimum amount detectable was about 500 fg, whereas the linear quantification range was within 100 ng to 1 pg. Conventional PCR sensitivity was 10 pg. Conventional and real-time PCR successfully detected the fungus in woody samples of naturally infected lemon and artificially inoculated sour orange seedlings. Nevertheless, real-time PCR was about 10- to 20-fold more sensitive than conventional PCR, and preliminary results indicate that the former technique achieves quantitative monitoring of the fungus in tissues. Simple and rapid procedures to obtain suitable DNA samples from fungal cultures and citrus woody samples for PCR assays enable diagnosis to be completed in a short time.

Additional keywords: Citrus limon , diagnostics, quantitative PCR

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society