USDA ARS Research Proves CANARY Technology’s Fit for High-Threat Plant Pathogens

Jan 24, 2018

The PathSensors’ Development Team together with USDA ARS researchers from the US National Arboretum Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit in Beltsville, MD and the Foreign Disease -Weed Science Research Unit at Ft. Detrick, MD have completed a small-scale validation of PathSensors’ CANARY® diagnostic assay for  Ralstonia solanacearum, a USDA-APHIS listed “select agent” plant pathogen. An abstract of the work has been submitted for presentation this July in Boston, MA at the International Congress of Plant Pathology 2018: Plant Health in A Global Economy(ICPP).

Ralstonia solanacearum (Rs), is a soil-borne pathogen that causes bacterial wilt on Solanaceous crops and ornamental plants, and is brought into the US typically through imported ornamental plants like geraniums.  Worldwide, Rs and more specifically race 3 biovar 2 (r3b2), cause $1 billion dollars’ worth of losses annually, and is a major threat to high-value crops like tomatoes and potatoes.  Thus technologies that can efficiently screen imported plants are needed to ensure that plants are clean and not carrying r3b2.

Previous Rs CANARY® assay verification demonstrated the assay’s high specificity and sensitivity for r3b2 in inoculated zonal geraniums with an analytical detection limit of 100 CFU for both r3b2 and non-r3b2 strains.  In the current work, a blind, third-party validation was conducted on geranium samples and confirmed the sensitivity and specificity of the CANARY® assay. This study demonstrates that the CANARY® technology offers a rapid and easy-to-use front-line defense for early-detection screening of Rs and thus preventing the spread of r3b2.

With these results and larger-scale validation underway, the next step will be the deployment of the CANARY® technology for early detection of the critical plant pathogen, Ralstonia solanacearum.

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