Evaluation of a rapid diagnostic field test kit for identification of Phytophthora species, including P. ramorum and P. kernoviae at the point of inspection uri icon

abstract

  • Plant health regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae require rapid, cost effective diagnostic methods for screening large numbers of plant samples at the time of inspection. Current on-site techniques require expensive equipment, considerable expertise and are not suited for plant health inspectors. Therefore, an extensive evaluation of a commercially available lateral flow device (LFD) for Phytophthora species was performed involving four separate trials and 634 samples. The assay proved simple to use, provided results in a few minutes and on every occasion a control line reacted positively confirming the validity of the test. LFD results were compared with those from testing a parallel sample, using laboratory methods (isolation and real-time PCR). The diagnostic sensitivity of the LFD (87.6%) compared favourably with the standard laboratory methods although the diagnostic specificity was not as stringent (82.9%). There were a small number (n = 28) of false negatives, but for statutory purposes where all positive samples must be identified to species level by laboratory testing, overall efficiency was 95.6% as compared with visual assessment of symptoms of between 20-30% for P. ramorum and P. kernoviae. This work demonstrates the value of the LFD for diagnosing Phytophthora species at the time of inspection and as a useful primary screen for selecting samples for laboratory testing to determine the species identification.

publication date

  • 2007
  • 2007