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Rapid Detection of Phytophthora infestans in Late Blight-Infected Potato and Tomato Using PCR

    Authors and Affiliations
    • C. L. Trout
    • J. B. Ristaino
    • M. Madritch
    • T. Wangsomboondee , Department of Plant Pathology, North Caro-lina State University, Raleigh 27695

      Late blight caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans is a devastating disease of potato and tomato worldwide. A rapid and accurate method for specific detection of P. infestans is necessary for determination of late blight in infected fruit, leaves, and tubers. Ribosomal DNA (rDNA) from four isolates of P. infestans representing the four genotypes US1, US6, US7, and US8 was amplified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the universal primers internal transcribed spacer (ITS) 4 and ITS5. PCR products were sequenced using an automated sequencer. Sequences were aligned with published sequences from 5 other Phytophthora species, and a region specific to P. infestans was used to construct a PCR primer (PINF). Over 140 isolates representing 14 species of Phytophthora and at least 13 other genera of fungi and bacteria were used to screen the PINF primer. PCR amplification with primers PINF and ITS5 results in amplification of an approximately 600 base pair product with only isolates of P. infestans from potato and tomato, as well as isolates of P. mirabilis and P. cactorum. P. mirabilis and P. cactorum are not pathogens of potato; however, P. cactorum is a pathogen of tomato. P. infestans and P. cactorum were differentiated by restriction digests of the amplified product. The PINF primer was used with a rapid NaOH lysis technique for direct PCR of P. infestans from infected tomato and potato field samples. The PINF primer will provide a valuable tool for detection of P. infestans in potatoes and tomatoes.