Species belonging to the genus Marteilia are protozoan parasites of bivalves. The species Marteilia refringens, jeopardizing the health of European bivalves, is included on the list of OIE notifiable pathogens. Two genotypes of Marteilia refringens are distinguished: type “O” affecting mainly oysters, and type “M” affecting mainly mussels. Historically, detection of Marteilia species is primarily carried out by histology. In recent years molecular assays are more frequently used for the detection of mollusc pathogens, also in routine monitoring. In the present work, a competitive real-time PCR assay was developed for rapid and sensitive detection of M. refringens and discrimination between “M” and “O” genotypes of M. refringens. The real-time PCR assay was shown to be analytically sensitive and specific and has a high repeatability and efficiency. Subsequent application of the assay on collected bivalves from two geographical locations, the Ebro Delta in Mediterranean Spain and the Rhine-Meuse Delta in the Netherlands resulted in detection of M. refringens type M in Mytilus galloprovincialis and M. refringens type O in Ostrea edulis from Spain. In two O. edulis specimen both M. refringens type O and type M were detected. In the Netherlands M. refringens was not observed in any of the tested Mytilus edulis and O. edulis. The results obtained by real time PCR were in correspondence with the results obtained by histopathology and a substantial agreement with the results obtained by conventional PCR. In conclusion, the developed real time PCR assay facilitates rapid detection and subtyping of M. refringens and could be applied for further studies on epidemiology of the parasite, geographical distribution and host specificity.
- Bivalve health
- Flat oyster
- Molecular detection
- Mollusc parasite
Carrasco, N., Voorbergen-Laarman, M., Lacuesta, B., Furones, D., & Engelsma, M. Y. (2017). Application of a competitive real time PCR for detection of Marteilia refringens genotype “O” and “M” in two geographical locations: The Ebro Delta, Spain and the Rhine-Meuse Delta, the Netherlands. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 149, 51-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jip.2017.07.004