Sensitive and species-specific detection of Erwinia amylovora by polymerase chain reaction analysis.
E. amylovora can be accurately detected and identified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis in less than 6 h. Two oligomers derived from a 29-kb plasmid which is common to all strains of E. amylovora were used to amplify a 0.9-kb fragment of the plasmid. By separation of the PCR products on agarose gel, this fragment was specifically detected when E. amylovora DNA was present in the amplification assay. It was not found when DNA from other plant-pathogenic bacteria was used for the assay. A visible band specific to the 0.9-kb fragment was produced with DNA from <100 E. amylovora cells. A signal of similar strength was also obtained from E. amylovora cell lysates in the presence of the mild detergent Tween 20. Signals were weaker when bacteria were added to the PCR mixture without the detergent. As with results obtained from hybridization experiments using pEA29 DNA, the PCR signal was obtained with E. amylovora isolates from various geographic regions. This technique could also be used for detection of E. amylovora in extracts of tissue obtained from infected plant material.