Application of Real-Time PCR for the Detection and Quantification of Oomycetes in Ornamental Nursery Stock

Alexandra Puértolas, P.J.M. Bonants, Eric Boa, Steve Woodward*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous Phytophthora and Pythium disease outbreaks have occurred in Europe following inadvertent introduction of contaminated ornamental plants. Detection and identification of pathogens are crucial to reduce risks and improve plant biosecurity in Europe and globally. Oomycete diversity present in roots and compost was determined in 99 hardy woody plants bought from nurseries, retailers and internet sellers, using both isolations and molecular analyses. Oomycete DNA was quantified using real-time PCR of environmental DNA from the plants using three loci: ITS, trnM-trnP-trnM and atp9-nad9. At least one oomycete species was isolated from 89.9% of plants using classical techniques. In total, 10 Phytophthora spp., 17 Pythium spp. and 5 Phytopythium spp. were
isolated. Oomycetes were isolated from 86% of asymptomatic plants, but real-time PCR demonstrated that oomycetes were associated with all plants tested. More oomycete DNA occurred in composts in comparison with roots and filters from baiting water (a mean of 7.91 ng g−1, 6.55 × 10−1 ng g−1 and
5.62 × 10−1 ng g−1 of oomycete DNA detected in compost with ITS, trnM and atp9 probes, respectively); the ITS probe detected the highest quantities of oomycete DNA. No significant differences were found in quantities of oomycete DNA detected using real-time PCR in plants purchased online
or from traditional retailers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number87
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2021


  • TaqMan PCR
  • Phytophthora
  • Phythium
  • quantification
  • ornamental plants
  • international trade


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