Title

Efficient diagnosis of Ratoon Stunting Disease of sugarcane by quantitative PCR on pooled leaf sheath biopsies

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Young, AJ, Kawamata, A, Ensbey, MA, Lambley, E & Nock, CJ 2016, 'Efficient diagnosis of Ratoon Stunting Disease of sugarcane by quantitative PCR on pooled leaf sheath biopsies', Plant Disease, vol. 100, no. 12, pp. 2492-2498.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-06-16-0848-RE

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Ratoon stunting disease (RSD), caused by the bacterium Leifsonia xyli subsp. xyli, is arguably one of the most devastating diseases of sugarcane. Four diagnostic techniques were compared for 100 fields of sugarcane (Saccharum interspecific hybrids) of unknown infection status. These were quantitative polymerase chain reaction on pooled leaf sheath biopsies (LSB-qPCR), conventional PCR on the same templates (LSB-PCR), evaporative-binding enzyme immunoassay (EB-EIA) coupled with phase contrast microscopy (PCM) on expressed xylem sap from the same fields, and conventional PCR on the same xylem sap samples. LSB-qPCR and LSB-PCR detected the causal agent in 27 and 18 fields, respectively, whereas, from samples of expressed xylem sap from the same fields, conventional PCR identified 12 infections and EB-EIA/PCM detected L. xyli subsp. xyli in 3 fields. The sensitivities of qPCR and PCR were approximately 103 and 104 CFU ml−1, respectively, determined from plate counts of a dilution series. Tests were conducted on a further 139 LSB samples from across the Australian industry, with qPCR and PCR diagnosing RSD in 31 and 25 fields, respectively. Using qPCR and PCR on LSB samples, RSD was diagnosed in a range of cultivars throughout the year, and qPCR and PCR could detect L. xyli subsp. xyli in sugarcane ranging from 3 months to greater than 1 year old.