Real-Time PCR and LAMP Assays for the Detection of Spores of Alternaria solani and Sporangia of Phytophthora infestans to Inform Disease Risk Forecasting

A K Lees (Lead / Corresponding author), D M Roberts, J Lynott, L Sullivan, J L Brierley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Real-time loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays for the detection of sporangia of the causal pathogen of late blight, Phytophthora infestans, and spores of the main causal pathogen of early blight, Alternaria solani, were developed to facilitate the in-field detection of airborne inoculum to improve disease forecasting. These assays were compared with an existing real-time PCR assay for P. infestans and a newly developed real-time PCR assay for A. solani. Primers were designed for real-time LAMP of P. infestans and A. solani. The specificity of the P. infestans real-time LAMP assay was similar to that of an existing real-time PCR assay: DNA of P. infestans was consistently amplified as was DNA of the taxonomically closely related species Phytophthora mirabilis, Phytophthora phaseoli, and Phytophthora ipomoea; no amplification of DNA from the potato pathogens Phytophthora erythroseptica or Phytophthora nicotianae occurred. Real-time LAMP and PCR assays were developed for A. solani, and the specificity was compared with an existing conventional PCR assay. Importantly, the A. solani real-time LAMP and PCR assays did not amplify the species Alternaria alternata. However, cross-reactivity with Alternaria dauci was observed with the real-time PCR assay and Alternaria brassicae with the real-time LAMP assay. The sensitivity of all assays for the detection of DNA extracted from sporangia/spores of the target pathogens was evaluated. The P. infestans real-time LAMP assay reliably detected 5 pg of DNA, equivalent to ∼1 sporangia per reaction. By comparison, 20 fg of DNA was detectable with the existing real-time PCR assay. In the case of A. solani, real-time LAMP detected 4.4 pg of DNA, equivalent to ∼1 spore per reaction, and real-time PCR detected 200 fg of DNA. In-field air samplers were deployed in two trial plots planted with potato: one infected with P. infestans, and the other infected with A. solani. Four additional samplers were located in commercial potato fields. Air samples were taken through the season, and detection of airborne inoculum of P. infestans and A. solani with both real-time PCR and LAMP was assessed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3172-3180
    Number of pages9
    JournalThe Plant Cell
    Issue number12
    Early online date28 Oct 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


    • Agriculture/methods
    • Alternaria/genetics
    • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
    • Phytophthora infestans/genetics
    • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
    • Risk Assessment/methods
    • Solanum tuberosum/parasitology
    • Sporangia/genetics
    • Spores, Protozoan/genetics
    • IPM
    • Pathogen detection
    • Fungi
    • Oomycetes
    • Air sampling
    • Rotating air samplers

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agronomy and Crop Science
    • Plant Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'Real-Time PCR and LAMP Assays for the Detection of Spores of Alternaria solani and Sporangia of Phytophthora infestans to Inform Disease Risk Forecasting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this