Cercospora beticola, the causal agent of Cercospora leaf spot of sugar beet, survives as pseudostromata in infected sugar beet residues in the soil. Under optimal conditions, overwintering propagules germinate and produce conidia that are dispersed as primary inoculum to initiate infection in sugar beet. We developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique for rapid detection of C. beticola in field soils. Total DNA was first isolated from soil amended with C. beticola culture using the PowerSoil DNA Kit. The purified DNA was subjected to PCR in Extract-N-Amp PCR mix with CBACTIN primers over 35 cycles. The amplified products were resolved and compared by electrophoresis in 1% agarose gels. The PCR fragment size of C. beticola from the amended field soil correlated in size with the amplicon from control C. beticola culture DNA extract. Additionally, sample soils were collected from sugar beet fields near Sidney, MT and Foxholm, ND. Total DNA was extracted from the samples and subjected to PCR and resolved as previously described. The amplicons were purified from the gels and subjected to BigDye Terminator Cycle sequencing. All sequences from field soils samples, C. beticolaamended field soil, and pure culture were compared by alignment with a C. beticola actin gene sequence from GenBank. The result of the alignment confirmed the amplicons as products from C. beticola. Rapid screening for the presence of C. beticola in the soil by PCR will improve research capabilities in biological control, disease forecasting, and management of this very important sugar beet pathogen.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/andrew_lenssen/48/