“We are being asked for multi-specific analyses”


In just 3 or 4 hours Reactiva gives results using PCRs in real time with up to 24 specific pathogens, analysing the most prevalent ones, according to the crop type

Word of mouth has boosted the demand for multi-specific analyses for fungi and plant pathogen bacteria. “They are being requested more and more, particularly for the seedbed sector. If there are any suspicions regarding the seed trays, we are asked for an analysis.” And the fact is that, as Óscar Crespo, Head of the Plant Pathology Department, explains, this tool allows speedy action to be taken in time. The results are obtained in just 3 or 4 hours from the moment the sample arrives at the laboratory. This is a key aspect, as there are pathogens where speed in their detection is essential, such as the ones that require a quarantine and/or are included on the EPPO watch list, such as the case of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) or the New Delhi virus (ToLCNV).

The procedure consists of analysing up to 24 specific pathogens per crop at the same time (cucurbitaceae, solanaceae…) using PCRs in real time. The detection of each pathogen is carried out in a semi-quantitative way, determining the amount of genetic material present in the sample analysed. This step is very important because it shows whether the pathogens can cause the disease or not (if the amount is low, it could mean no treatment is necessary, or only when there are symptoms or conditions that encourage multiplication, for example, an excess of dampness, heat, little ventilation…).Thanks to PCRs in real time we have a detection reliability of over 90%. “It is a very specific and extremely sensitive type of analysis, while other techniques, such as ELISA, give more false positive results,” Crespo explains.

Both in the case of seedbeds and in the crops, the most common plant pathogens are fungi of the Fusarium, Alternaria andPythium genus. In the case of fruit trees, the most frequent problems are associated with Neofabraea,Penicillium, Botrytis, etc. “We have clients from Catalonia and Aragon. In these regions, they are asking for many multi-specific analyses, both of stone and pip fruit. They are looking for the problem to be able to act accordingly and apply treatments fast that avoid propagation, or prevent it, looking towards future harvests.”

They are also analysing for Xylella fastidiosa, although at presentall the analyses have given negative results.

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