Detection of Tomato black ring virus by real-time one-step RT-PCR.
A TaqMan-based real-time one-step RT-PCR assay was developed for the rapid detection of Tomato black ring virus (TBRV), a significant plant pathogen which infects a wide range of economically important crops. Primers and a probe were designed against existing genomic sequences to amplify a 72 bp fragment from RNA-2. The assay amplified all isolates of TBRV tested, but no amplification was observed from the RNA of other nepovirus species or healthy host plants. The detection limit of the assay was estimated to be around nine copies of the TBRV target region in total RNA. A comparison with conventional RT-PCR and ELISA, indicated that ELISA, the current standard test method, lacked specificity and reacted to all nepovirus species tested, while conventional RT-PCR was approximately ten-fold less sensitive than the real-time RT-PCR assay. Finally, the real-time RT-PCR assay was tested using five different RT-PCR reagent kits and was found to be robust and reliable, with no significant differences in sensitivity being found. The development of this rapid assay should aid in quarantine and post-border surveys for regulatory agencies.