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. 2019 Jul;162:86-95.
doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2019.05.010. Epub 2019 May 22.

Comparison of Real-Time PCR and Droplet Digital PCR for the Detection of Xylella Fastidiosa in Plants

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Comparison of Real-Time PCR and Droplet Digital PCR for the Detection of Xylella Fastidiosa in Plants

Enora Dupas et al. J Microbiol Methods. .

Abstract

Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) is a quarantine plant pathogen bacterium originating from the Americas and that has emerged in Europe in 2013. Xf can be detected directly on plant macerate using molecular methods such as real-time PCR, which is a sensitive technique. However, some plants may contain components that can act as PCR reaction inhibitors, which can lead to false negative results or an underestimation of the bacterial concentration present in the analyzed plant sample. Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) is an innovative tool based on the partitioning of the PCR reagents and the DNA sample into thousands of droplets, allowing the quantification of the absolute number of target DNA molecules present in a reaction mixture, or an increase of the detection sensitivity. In this study, a real-time PCR protocol, already used for Xf detection in the framework of official surveys in the European Union, was transferred and optimized for Xf detection using ddPCR. This new assay was evaluated and compared to the initial real-time PCR on five plant matrices artificially inoculated and on naturally infected plants. In our conditions, this new ddPCR enabled the detection of Xf on all artificially inoculated plant macerates with a similar limit of detection, or a slight benefit for Quercus ilex. Moreover, ddPCR improved diagnostic sensitivity as it enabled detection of Xf in samples of Polygala myrtifolia or Q. ilex that were categorized as negative or close to the limit of detection using the real-time PCR. Here, we report for the first time a ddPCR assay for the detection of the bacterium Xf.

Keywords: Molecular diagnostics; Quarantine plant pathogenic bacteria; Xylella fastidiosa; ddPCR.

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