Simultaneous detection of Fusarium culmorum and F. graminearum in plant material by duplex PCR with melting curve analysis

Christoph Brandfass, Petr Karlovsky
BMC Microbiology 2006, 6: 4

BACKGROUND: Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a disease of cereal crops, which has a severe impact on wheat and barley production worldwide. Apart from reducing the yield and impairing grain quality, FHB leads to contamination of grain with toxic secondary metabolites (mycotoxins), which pose a health risk to humans and livestock. The Fusarium species primarily involved in FHB are F. graminearum and F. culmorum. A key prerequisite for a reduction in the incidence of FHB is an understanding of its epidemiology.

RESULTS: We describe a duplex-PCR-based method for the simultaneous detection of F. culmorum and F. graminearum in plant material. Species-specific PCR products are identified by melting curve analysis performed in a real-time thermocycler in the presence of the fluorescent dye SYBR Green I. In contrast to multiplex real-time PCR assays, the method does not use doubly labeled hybridization probes.

CONCLUSION: PCR with product differentiation by melting curve analysis offers a cost-effective means of qualitative analysis for the presence of F. culmorum and F. graminearum in plant material. This method is particularly suitable for epidemiological studies involving a large number of samples.

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