A Real-Time PCR Assay for Early Detection of Eastern Filbert Blight Public Deposited

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  • Eastern filbert blight (EFB) is a devastating disease of European hazelnut, Corylus avellana, which causes economic losses in Oregon, where 99% of the U.S. crop is produced. The causal fungus, Anisogramma anomala, is native to eastern North America, where it is found associated with the American hazelnut (C. americana). Although C. americana is tolerant, EFB causes cankers, branch dieback, and death of C. avellana. Detection and identification of A. anomala is time consuming using conventional methods because the fungus can only be cultured from sporulating perithecia and the disease symptoms and signs only show 12 to 16 months after infection. In this study, a TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay based on a ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer was developed for A. anomala. The assay was validated with multiple isolates of A. anomala, closely related species, common environmental microorganisms, and over 100 C. avellana samples. The real-time PCR assay detected as low as 0.12 pg of A. anomala genomic DNA, and positively diagnosed EFB on 82% of asymptomatic plants as early as 15 weeks from infection. The real-time PCR assay is more sensitive and faster than traditional diagnostic methods. It can facilitate hazelnut breeding and disease management by early and accurate diagnosis of EFB.
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  • Molnar, T., Walsh, E., Capik, J., Sathuvalli, V., Mehlenbacher, S., Rossman, A., & Zhang, N. (2013). A real-time PCR assay for early detection of eastern filbert blight. Plant Disease, 97(6), 813-818. doi:10.1094/PDIS-11-12-1041-RE
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