TOOLS TO DETECT IDENTIFY AND MONITOR PHYTOPHTHORA SPECIES IN NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS
D.E.L. Cooke, L. Schena, S.O. Cacciola
Phytophthora is a genus of plant pathogens responsible for severe damage to crops, natural vegetation and forestry worldwide. Accurate detection, diagnosis and species identification is fundamental to disease management, clear scientific communication and the statutory measures to prevent pathogen spread and yet this often proves challenging. Many serious disease problems have emerged in recent years, often associated with previously undescribed Phytophthora species and damaging plants in both commercial production systems and natural ecosystems. Many advances in DNA-based molecular diagnostics and DNA sequencing have been made recently that increased our ability to accurately detect and characterise Phytophthoras. However, there is a continual need for improvement and an increasing interest in a broader monitoring of Phytophthora species in natural ecosystems to get a better feel for their distribution and impact through understanding their ecology. This review examines the technical advances in the field and the rationale for such studies on Phytophthora.