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nafex - [NAFEX] FW: New Quick Test for Plum Pox

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  • From: "Lon J. Rombough" <>
  • To: NAFEX <>
  • Subject: [NAFEX] FW: New Quick Test for Plum Pox
  • Date: Fri, 03 Oct 2003 08:13:40 -0700

From: ARS News Service <>
Reply-To: ARS News Service <>
Date: Fri, 03 Oct 2003 09:15:20 -0400
To: ARS News subscriber <>
Subject: New Quick Test for Plum Pox

New Test to Improve Plum Pox Monitoring in Stone Fruit


ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Jan Suszkiw, (301) 504-1630,
October 3, 2003

Monitoring the spread of the plum pox potyvirus in stone fruit crops
could get a lot easier with a new, genetic fingerprinting test developed
by Agricultural Research Service scientists.

Plant pathologist Bill Schneider and colleagues in the ARS Foreign
Disease-Weed Science Research Unit at Fort Detrick, Md., developed the
test to expedite year-round plum pox monitoring in and around
Pennsylvania's Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties--the only
U.S. sites where the stone fruit disease is known to occur.

The aphid-borne disease causes acidity, unsightly rings and other
defects that diminish the quality of peaches, pears and other stone
fruit. Plum pox poses no consumer danger, but it casts a threatening
cloud over the economic well-being of the nation's $1.8 billion stone
fruit industry.

As part of an eradication effort, Pennsylvania researchers collect
thousands of leaf samples annually from commercial orchards, nurseries
and other sites for analysis in diagnostic labs. But plum pox only shows
up at certain times of the year, and in certain parts of a host tree,
which complicates the process. During the summer, for example, viral
counts plummet as temperatures hit 84 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. When
that happens, antibody-based tests, such as the Enzyme-Linked
Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), can yield misleading results. Other methods
are time-consuming and labor-intensive.

The new, ARS-developed test uses real-time polymerase chain reaction
(PCR), a chemical procedure that mass-produces copies of specific genes
or gene fragments so they can be identified. With real-time PCR, the
targeted gene becomes detectable as it's being multiplied. In this case,
the gene is for a specific protein that makes up the outer coat of the
virus. Scientists generally can determine whether the protein is in a
sample in about six hours--and if so, they can learn how much virus is
in the sample. The ELISA methods, by comparison, take about a day.

A longer article about this research appears in the September issue of
Agricultural Research magazine, available online at:

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research

* This is one of the news reports that ARS Information distributes to
subscribers on weekdays.
* Start, stop or change an e-mail subscription at
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* Phone (301) 504-1638 | fax (301) 504-1648

  • [NAFEX] FW: New Quick Test for Plum Pox, Lon J. Rombough, 10/03/2003

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