Italiano English
Download PDF

Early detection of diseases: now it' possible

The continuous trading is one of the main causes of the introduction and spread of pathogens from other countries , more commonly referred to as " invasive species " . The presence of these agents can pose a serious threat to the environment nursery , with significant losses in terms of production and very often result in economic losses for the nursery .
A diagnostic method quickly and safely. This was the context for early detection , through the development of specific protocols , rapid and sensitive for identifying and quantifying the presence of a pathogen in different matrices (soil, water and plants) and in the different phases of the infection cycle . These molecular methods , widely used in the medical field for the diagnosis of oncological diseases , are sensitive , rapid and specific for the diagnosis of diseases on plants. The application of these techniques, which include also the ' real-time PCR ' , has greatly reduced the time of diagnosis , so finding answers faster than ever . These techniques thus become important tools to prevent or limit the spread of diseases that, in reality nurseries, can lead to huge economic losses , especially when it comes to soil micro-organisms ( Oomycetes ) that spread rapidly through the element employed in this sector : water. In recent years the rational use of this resource is becoming increasingly scarce and many nurseries are equipped to the recovery of irrigation water, which during the various watering cycles can become contaminated with pathogens described above.
Effectiveness and utility. In the production chain nursery , early detection of a pathogen microrgansimo is of paramount importance because , combined with the methods of struggle targeted , will help you fight a pathogen before he can cause significant damage , thus reducing its spread to other plants in the nursery , but also to natural ecosystems. In this regard , the quantification of fungal DNA of plant material and the different matrices (soil and irrigation water ) allows to provide useful elements to highlight the potential spread of the microorganism , thus implementing appropriate containment , such as , for example, l ' use of plant protection products with low environmental impact . Early diagnosis of plant diseases in the nursery then allows you to program with rationality (in terms of doses and periods ) the use of pesticides , and also monitor those closed systems of irrigation. All this is a strength for the protection and recovery of environmental resources, in a scenario where the water resource is becoming increasingly important .
Trade and ecological problems. Under nursery microorganisms most feared , are those of the genus Phytophthora among which include also several recent introductions and new species originate precisely in nursery environment that are particularly aggressive . Globalization and continuous trade, through the use of propagation material purchased in foreign countries (such as the importation of cuttings for the production of ornamental plants ) , and trade in potted plants, can promote the gradual entry of these pathogens . The danger of these microorganisms is not limited to the nursery , but also to the natural environment where the pathogen could escape causing serious harm to plants and at the same time compromising the biodiversity of an ecosystem.

New molecular techniques used to diagnose pathogens before the onset of symptoms on the plant