Molecular detection of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum and Mycosphaerella melonis in infected plant tissues and soil


  • Edited by B. Paul

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We developed two species-specific PCR assays for rapid and accurate detection of the pathogenic fungi Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum and Mycosphaerella melonis in diseased plant tissues and soil. Based on differences in internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences of Fusarium spp. and Mycosphaerella spp., two pairs of species-specific primers, Fn-1/Fn-2 and Mn-1/Mn-2, were synthesized. After screening 24 isolates of F. oxysporum f. sp. niveum, 22 isolates of M. melonis, and 72 isolates from the Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Deuteromycota, and Oomycota, the Fn-1/Fn-2 primers amplified only a single PCR band of approximately 320 bp from F. oxysporum f. sp.niveum, and the Mn-1/Mn-2 primers yielded a PCR product of approximately 420 bp from M. melonis. The detection sensitivity with primers Fn-1/Fn-2 and Mn-1/Mn-2 was 1 fg of genomic DNA. Using ITS1/ITS4 as the first-round primers, combined with either Fn-1/Fn-2 and or Mn-1/Mn-2, two nested PCR procedures were developed, and the detection sensitivity increased 1000-fold to 1 ag. The detection sensitivity for the soil pathogens was 100-microconidia/g soil. A duplex PCR method, combining primers Fn-1/Fn-2 and Mn-1/Mn-2, was used to detect F. oxysporum f. sp. niveum and M. melonis in plant tissues infected by the pathogens. Real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR assays were developed to detect and monitor the pathogens directly in soil samples. The PCR-based methods developed here could simplify both plant disease diagnosis and pathogen monitoring as well as guide plant disease management.