Plant Molecular Diagnostic Lab

It is important to have early, economical, and accurate disease diagnostic tools to optimize disease management. The UGA Plant Molecular Diagnostic Lab (MDL) developed novel advanced diagnosis techniques for various plant pathogens across a range of crops. For rapid and accurate diagnosis, the Plant Molecular Diagnostic Lab (MDL) has developed cost-efficient advanced loop-mediated isothermal amplification assays (LAMP) for multiple plant pathogens which have the potential to overcome many of the limitations of traditional diagnostic assays. During 2020, MDL developed advanced LAMP techniques for specific and rapid detection of two important vegetable pathogens (cucurbit leaf crumple virus and Phytophthora capsici) and a pecan root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne partityla, under laboratory and field conditions. The sensitivity of the LAMP assays was 10 to 100 times higher than regular PCR and testing was carried out rapidly (30 min-1 hr) with minimal equipment. Development of the rapid detection techniques facilitates quicker response to disease outbreaks and therefore reduces chemical control costs for growers and agricultural industries. Moreover, this portable rapid detection technique can be used for routine diagnostics, surveillance, biosecurity, and epidemiology studies. This information will be very helpful to increase awareness about emerging disease spread for growers, researchers, and Extension specialists in Georgia.