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Keywords:

  • Bemisia tabaci ;
  • diagnostics;
  • internal control;
  • multiplex;
  • Tomato leaf curl virus ;
  • Tomato yellow leaf curl virus

A new approach for the simultaneous identification of the viruses and vectors responsible for tomato yellow leaf curl disease (TYLCD) epidemics is presented. A panel of quantitative multiplexed real-time PCR assays was developed for the sensitive and reliable detection of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus-Israel (TYLCV-IL), Tomato leaf curl virus (ToLCV), Bemisia tabaci Middle East Asia Minor 1 species (MEAM1, B biotype) and B. tabaci Mediterranean species (MED, Q biotype) from either plant or whitefly samples. For quality-assurance purposes, two internal control assays were included in the assay panel for the co-amplification of solanaceous plant DNA or B. tabaci DNA. All assays were shown to be specific and reproducible. The multiplexed assays were able to reliably detect as few as 10 plasmid copies of TYLCV-IL, 100 plasmid copies of ToLCV, 500 fg B. tabaci MEAM1 and 300 fg B. tabaci MED DNA. Evaluated methods for routine testing of field-collected whiteflies are presented, including protocols for processing B. tabaci captured on yellow sticky traps and for bulking of multiple B. tabaci individuals prior to DNA extraction. This work assembles all of the essential features of a validated and quality-assured diagnostic method for the identification and discrimination of tomato-infecting begomovirus and B. tabaci vector species in Australia. This flexible panel of assays will facilitate improved quarantine, biosecurity and disease-management programmes both in Australia and worldwide.