Detection of Phytopathogenic Fungal strains

Phytopathogens infect a large number of economically important plants resulting in massive yield loss globally. The effective and early detection strategy is the first measure to control the disease outbreak. Currently, the diagnosis of phytopathogenic fungus relies on traditional staining and culture techniques, however, they face major limitations such as – need to culture the infectious organism, error-prone and time-consuming. Therefore, there is a need for a fast and inexpensive alternative for the detection of pathogenic fungi. Dr. Adlakha’s research is focussed towards developing an inexpensive tool for first line detection of fungal infection in plants. The methodology developed relies on detection of chitin, present redundantly in cell walls of all phytopathogenic fungi, which plays important role in the cell wall modulation and plant-pathogen communication. The proposed technique employs TMC nanoparticulate system to raise sera against chitosan in an inexpensive and less laborious manner. The raised polyclonal sera could detect chitosan in the fungal cell wall, as analyzed with the different techniques. However, the detection specificity varied among the strains in proportion to the chitin content of their cell wall. Fusarium oxysporum was detected with the highest affinity while Trichoderma ressei was detected with the least affinity by ELISA. Confocal microscopy also confirmed the detection of all strains used in the study. The detection system could be advanced for future applications such as food quality control, crop protection, and human fungal infection detection and treatment.

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