• Fusarium wilt of watermelon;
  • detection of fungi;
  • RealAmp assay;
  • real-time PCR


Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon) is one of the major limiting factors for watermelon production worldwide. Rapid and accurate detection of the causal pathogen is the cornerstone of integrated disease management. In this paper, a real-time fluorescence loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RealAmp) assay was developed for the rapid and quantitative detection of Fon in soil. Positive products were amplified only from Fon isolates and not from any other species or formae speciales of F. oxysporum tested, showing a high specificity of the primer sets. The detection limit of the RealAmp assay was 1.2 pg μL−1 genomic DNA or 103 spores g−1 of artificially inoculated soil, whereas real-time PCR could detect as low as 12 fg μL−1 or 102 spores g−1. The RealAmp assay was further applied to detect eight artificially inoculated and 85 field soil samples. No significant differences were found between the results tested by the RealAmp and real-time PCR assays. The RealAmp assay is a simple, rapid and effective technique for the quantitative detection and monitoring of Fon in soil under natural conditions.