Oral Presentation Science Protecting Plant Health 2017

Comparison of rooftop and field-based air samplers for early detection and population monitoring of plant pathogens (4438)

Jon S West 1 , Gail GM Canning 1 , Agata Kaczmarek 2 , Kevin King 1
  1. Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, HERTS, United Kingdom
  2. School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, , Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK

Air sampling allows us to monitor air-dispersed plant pathogens using a range of downstream diagnostic methods including DNA-based diagnostic assays and sequencing. Recent work to investigate the timing of spore release of pathogens and to evaluate potential automated spore traps with wireless reporting has compared sampler location, whether on a rooftop or at ground level in production fields. Examples of several pathogens, including Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Phytophthora infestans, smut fungi and rusts have been compared. Generally, rooftop spore trap samples contain greater diversity than samples from ground-based locations, reflecting greater mixing of air incorporating spores from a wider range of microenvironments in the region for the rooftop sites. Pathogens known to be present in crops and found in air samples taken above the field are also found at rooftop sites, typically with numbers reduced by dilution to between 1/10th to 1/100th of what was found in the production field. However, at early stages of epidemics, spores were frequently detected albeit in low concentrations by rooftop samplers compared to samplers in production fields that did not detect any target spores. The use of high volume spore samplers will be discussed as a way to enhance the sensitivity of rooftop sample location