Detection of Dickeya spp. latent infection in potato seed tubers using PCR or ELISA and correlation with disease incidence in commercial field crops under hot-climate conditions




Over a 5-year period (2006–2010), 277 certified, visually healthy potato seed lots, imported from Europe to Israel for commercial use, were tested for Dickeya spp. latent infection by PCR analysis (277 seed lots) and ELISA (154 seed lots). Seeds from these lots were grown in commercial potato fields which were inspected twice a season by Plant Protection and Inspection Services (PPIS). Stem samples were tested for the presence of Dickeya spp. by PCR analysis. PCR and ELISA results from seed lot testing correlated with disease expression in 74 and 83·8% of the cases, respectively. Positive laboratory results with no disease symptoms in the field (‘+lab/−field’ results) comprised 24·7 and 9·7% of the PCR and ELISA analyses, respectively, whereas negative laboratory results with disease symptoms in the field results (‘−lab/+field’) were obtained in 1·3 and 6·5%, of cases respectively. Maximum disease incidence, as well as the number of cultivars expressing disease symptoms, increased over the years of this study, indicating an increase in the prevalence of the disease. Severe disease incidence was observed on cvs Dita, Rodeo, Desiree, Mondial, Tomensa and Jelly. Of the 55 imported seed lots from which disease was recorded in the field, 49 originated from the Netherlands, four from Germany and two from France. None originated from Scotland.