Bean anthracnose is a seedborne disease of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) caused by the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum lindemuthianum. Using seed that did not test positive for the pathogen has been proven to be an effective strategy for bean anthracnose control. To quantify the extent of anthracnose seed infection, a real-time PCR-based diagnostic assay was developed for detecting C. lindemuthianum in seeds of the commercial bean class navy bean. The ribosomal DNA (rDNA) region consisting of part of the18S rDNA, 5.8S rDNA, internal transcribed spacers (ITS) 1, 2 and part of the 28S rDNA of seven races of C. lindemuthianum, 21 isolates of Colletotrichum species and nine other bean pathogens were sequenced with the universal primer set ITS5/ITS4. Based on the aligned sequence matrix, one primer set and a probe were designed for a SYBR Green dye assay and a TaqMan MGB (minor groove binder) assay. The primer set was demonstrated to be specific for C. lindemuthianum and showed a high sensitivity for the target pathogen. The detection limit of both assays was 5 fg of C. lindemuthianum genomic DNA. To explore the correlation between the lesion area and the DNA amount of C. lindemuthianum in bean seed, seeds of the navy bean cultivar Navigator with lesions of different sizes, as well as symptomless seeds, were used in both real-time PCR assays.