PCR primers for identification of Sirococcus conigenus and S. tsugae, and detection of S. conigenus from symptomatic and asymptomatic red pine shoots

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Abstract:

Summary

Regions of diversity in the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences of Sirococcus species were exploited to design primer pairs used in a PCR-based method for the identification of the conifer shoot blight pathogen Sirococcus conigenus and the closely related fungus Sirococcus tsugae. The specificity of each primer pair for the respective fungus, detection limits and utility for detection from host material were confirmed. The S. conigenus primers were then used to detect this pathogen in tissues of symptomatic or apparently healthy red pine shoots collected at six locations in Wisconsin and Michigan and results compared with those obtained using a cultural assay. For needles, bark and wood of symptomatic shoots, the mean frequencies of detection of S. conigenus using the PCR-based methods were consistent (≥7.5 out of 10) and always greater than for the cultural assay. Detection from symptomatic shoots using the cultural assay was more frequent from needles than from bark or wood. Both the PCR-based method and the cultural assay detected S. conigenus in similar frequencies from asymptomatic shoots, although less frequently than from symptomatic shoots. The efficiency of the PCR-based method and its utility for direct testing of host material should make it particularly useful in areas where multiple shoot blight pathogens are found.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0329.2007.00532.x

Affiliations: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA. ;(for correspondence), Email: dzs@plantpath.wisc.edu

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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