Species-specific primers for rapid detection of Monochamus saltuarius, an effective vector of Bursaphelenchus xylophilus in China.
Monochamus saltuarius (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) is a native pest common in pine forests of Northeast China and an effective dispersal vector for the invasive species Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, a cause of pine wilt disease. However, the lack of a rapid and accurate method for the identification of M. saltuarius limits surveillance and control efforts. In this study, we developed species-specific primers, MsF/MsR, targeting cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (COI) for the rapid PCR-based identification of M. saltuarius. Analyses of M. saltuarius sampled at different developmental stages and from five geographical origins supported the high specificity of the assay. Furthermore, M. saltuarius -specific COI primers amplified M. saltuarius DNA only with a lower limit of detection of 20 pg/μl, demonstrating the high sensitivity. The newly developed PCR-based assay provides a rapid, simple, accurate and reproducible method for the determination of M. saltuarius regardless of condition, life stage and populations. The detection process could generally be completed within 2-3 hr and is therefore feasible for quarantine surveillance. The proposed approach may improve the early detection and continuous monitoring of M. saltuarius populations and thereby facilitate the control of B. xylophilus spread.