During March 2011 to June 2012, 50 banana plants of cultivar Musa × paradisiaca 'Horn' with Moko disease symptoms were randomly sampled in 12 different locations of 5 outbreak states in Peninsular Malaysia comprising Kedah, Selangor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, and Johor, with disease incidence exceeding 90% in some severely affected plantations. The disease symptoms observed in the infected plants included yellowing and wilting of the oldest leaves, which became necrotic, and eventually led to their dieback or collapse. The pulp of banana fruits also became discolored and exuded bacterial ooze. Vascular tissues in pseudostems were discolored. Fragments from symptomatic plant samples were excised and cultured on Kelman's-tetrazolium salt (TZC) medium. Twenty positive samples produced fluidal colonies that were either entirely white or white with pink centers after incubation for 24 to 48 h at 28°C on Kelman's-TZC medium and appeared as gram-negative rods after Gram staining. They were also positive for potassium hydroxide (KOH), Kovacs oxidase, and catalase tests, but negative for utilization of disaccharides and hexose alcohols, which are characteristics of biovar 1 Ralstonia solanacearum. For the pathogenicity test, 30 μl of 108 CFU/ml bacterial suspension of three selected virulent strains were injected into banana (Musa × paradisiaca 'Horn') leaves explants grown in plastic pots of 1,440 cm3 volume in a greenhouse, with temperature range from 26 to 35°C. Leaves that were infiltrated with sterile distilled water served as a negative control. Inoculations with all isolates were performed in three replications, as well as the uninoculated control leaves explants. The inoculated plants produced the same symptoms as observed on naturally diseased samples, whereas control plants remained asymptomatic. Strain cultures were re-isolated and possessed the morphological and biochemical characteristics as previously described. PCR amplification using race 2 R. solanacearum primers ISRso19-F (5'-TGGGAGAGGATGGCGGCTTT-3') and ISRso19-R (5'-TGACCCGCCTTTCGGTGTTT-3') (3) produced a 1,900-bp product from DNA of all bacterial strains. BLAST searches resulted that the sequences were 95 to 98% identical to published R. solanacearum strain race 2 insertion sequence ISRso19 (GenBank Accession No. AF450275). These genes were later deposited in GenBank (KC812051, KC812052, and KC812053). Phylotype-specific multiplex PCR (Pmx-PCR) and Musa-specific multiplex PCR (Mmx-PCR) were performed to identify the phylotype and sequevar of all isolates (4). Pmx-PCR showed that all isolates belonged to phylotype II, whereas Mmx-PCR showed that they belonged to phylotype II sequevar 4 displaying 351-bp amplicon. Although there were previously extensive studies on R. solanacearum associated with bacterial wilt disease of banana crops in Malaysia, none related to Moko disease has been reported (1,2). The result has a great importance to better understand and document R. solanacearum race 2 biovar 1, since banana has been identified as the second most important commercial fruit crop with a high economic value in Malaysia. References: (1) R. Khakvar et al. Plant Pathol. J. 7:162, 2008. (2) R. Khakvar et al. Am. J. Agri. Biol. Sci. 3:490, 2008. (3) Y. A. Lee and C. N. Khor. Plant Pathol. Bull. 12:57, 2003. (4) P. Prior et al. Pages 405-414 in: Bacterial Wilt Disease and the Ralstonia solanacearum Species Complex. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, 2005.
Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don, is a member of the Apocynaceae plant family that is native to Madagascar and produces dimeric terpenoid indole alkaloids that are used in the treatment of hypertension and cancer. Periwinkle as an indicator plant is highly susceptible to phytoplasmas and spiroplasma infection from different crops, and has been found to be naturally infected with spiroplasmas in Arizona, California, and the Mediterranean countries. In this study, surveys of suspected diseased periwinkles were conducted in various regions of Selangor State, Malaysia. Periwinkles showing rapid decline in the number and size of the flowers, premature abscission of buds and flowers, reduction in leaf size, chlorosis of the leaf tips and margins, general chlorosis, and stunting and dying plants were collected. These symptoms were widespread on periwinkle in this state. Diagnosis of the disease was based on symptomatology, grafting, serology (ELISA), PCR techniques, and cultivation. Tests for transmission by grafting were conducted using symptomatic periwinkle plants. Symptoms were induced on all eight graft-inoculated healthy periwinkles approximately 2 weeks after side grafting. Preliminary examination was performed by ELISA with Spiroplasma citri Saglio polyclonal antibody that was prepared against an Iranian S. citri isolate (H. Rahimian, unpublished data). Leaf extracts of all 24 symptomatic periwinkles gave positive ELISA reactions at OD405 readings ranging from 0.310 to 0.654 to the antibody against S. citri by the indirect ELISA method. Six healthy periwinkle leaves gave OD405 readings around 0.128. Total nucleic acids were extracted from 10 symptomatic and 5 asymptomatic plants (4). PCR using the ScR16F1/ScR16R1 primer pair designed to detect S. citri in carrot and P1/P7 and secA for1/rev3 primer pairs designed for identification of phytoplasmas were used to detect the causal agent (1-3). Amplification failed when the P1/P7 universal phytoplasma primer pair was used for diseased samples. However, the PCR assays resulted in products of 1,833 and 800 bp with ScR16F1/ScR16R1 and secA for1/rev3, respectively. Five of each ScR16F1/ScR16R1 and SecAfor1/SecArev3 products were cloned with the Topo TA cloning kit (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA), sequenced, and deposited as GenBank Accession Nos. HM015669 and FJ011099, respectively. Sequences for both genes indicated that S. citri was associated with the disease on periwinkle. ScR16F1/ScR16R1 products cloned from symptomatic periwinkles had 98% sequence identity with S. citri (GenBank Accession No. AM285316), while nucleotide sequences of SecAfor1/SecArev3 products had 88% sequence identity with S. citri GII3-3X (GenBank Accession No. AM285304). S. citri was cultivated from 10 S. citri-infected periwinkles using filtration and SP-4 media. Twenty culture tubes started to change culture medium color from red to yellow 1 month after cultivation. Helical and motile S. citri was observed in the dark-field microscope. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the presence and occurrence of S. citri in Southeast Asia and its association with lethal yellows on periwinkle in Malaysia. References: (1) J. Hodgetts et al. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 58:1826, 2008. (2) I.-M. Lee et al. Phytopathology 85:728, 1995. (3) I.-M. Lee et al. Plant Dis. 90:989, 2006. (4) Y.-P. Zhang et al. J. Virol. Methods. 71:45, 1998.
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata L.) is one of the most important vegetables cultivated in Pahang and Kelantan, Malaysia. Pectobacterium carotovorum can cause soft rot on a wide range of crops worldwide, especially in countries with warm and humid climates such as Malaysia. Cabbage with symptoms of soft rot from commercial fields were sampled and brought to the laboratory during the winter of 2010. Disease symptoms were a gray to pale brown discoloration and expanding water-soaked lesions on leaves. Several cabbage fields producing white cultivars were investigated and 27 samples were collected. Small pieces of leaf samples were immersed in 5 ml of saline solution (0.80% NaCl) for 20 min to disperse the bacterial cells. Fifty microliters of the resulting suspension was spread on nutrient agar (NA) and King's B medium and incubated at 30°C for 48 h. Purification of cultures was repeated twice on these media. Biochemical and phenotypical tests gave these results: gram negative, rod shaped, ability to grow under liquid paraffin (facultative anaerobe); oxidase negative; phosphatase negative; positive degradation of pectate; sensitive to erythromycin; negative to Keto-methyl glucoside utilization, indole production and reduction sugars from sucrose were negative; acid production from sorbitol and arabitol was negative and from melibiose, citrate, and raffinose was positive. Hypersensitivity reaction on tobacco leaf with the injection of 106 CFU/ml of bacterial suspension for all strains was positive. Four representative strains were able to cause soft rot using cabbage slices (three replications) inoculated with a bacterial suspension at 106 CFU/ml. Inoculated cabbage slices were incubated in a moist chamber at 80% relative humidity and disease symptoms occurred after 24 h. Cabbage slices inoculated with water as a control remained healthy. The bacteria reisolated from rotted cabbage slices on NA had P. carotovorum cultural characteristics and could cause soft rot in subsequent tests. PCR amplification with Y1 and Y2 primers (1), which are specific for P. carotovorum, produced a 434-bp band with 15 strains. PCR amplification of the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer region (ITS) using G1 and L1 primers gave two main bands approximately 535 and 580 bp and one faint band approximately 740 bp when electrophoresed through a 1.5% agarose gel. The ITS-PCR products were digested with RsaI restriction enzyme. According to biochemical and physiological characterictics (2), PCR-based pel gene (1), and analysis by ITS-PCR and ITS-restriction fragment length polymorphism (3), all isolates were identified as P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum. This pathogen has been reported from Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore with whom Malaysia shares its boundaries. To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum in cabbage from Malaysia. References: (1) A. Darraas et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 60:1437, 1994. (2) N. W. Schaad et al. Laboratory Guide for the Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. 3rd ed. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, 2001. (3) I. K. Toth et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 67:4070, 2001.
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is one of the most important vegetable fruits in Malaysia. Cucumber is principally grown in the states of Johor, Kelantan, and Perak. The broad host range Enterobacteriaceae pathogen, Pectobacterium carotovorum, can cause soft rot on stems or cucumber fruit. In Malaysia, cucumber is produced in a warm, humid climate, thus the plant is susceptible to attack by P. carotovorum at any time during production. In 2010, cucumber samples with wilted and chlorotic leaves, water-soaked lesions, and collapsed fruits were found in multiple fields. Small pieces of infected stems and fruit were immersed in 5 ml of saline solution (0.85% NaCl) for 20 min and then 50 μl of this suspension was spread onto nutrient agar (NA) and incubated at 27°C for 24 h. White-to-pale gray colonies with irregular margins were selected for analysis. For pathogenicity tests, cucumber fruits were surface sterilized by ethyl alcohol 70%, washed with sterilized distilled water, cut into small pieces, and inoculated with 20 μl of 108 CFU/ml suspensions of five representative strains. Cucumber plants were grown for 3 weeks in sterilized soil and their stems were inoculated with 20 μl of 108 CFU/ml of bacterial suspension. Inoculated samples and control (noninoculated) plants were placed in a growth chamber with 80 to 90% relative humidity at 27°C. Symptoms occurred on fruit slices and stems after 1 to 3 days and appeared the same as naturally infected samples, but the control samples remained healthy. Koch's postulates were fulfilled with the reisolation of cultures with the same characteristics as described earlier. Hypersensitivity reaction (HR) assays were done by infiltrating 108 CFU/ml of bacterial suspension into tobacco leaf epidermis and HR developed. All strains were subjected to biochemical and morphological assays, as well as molecular assessment. The strains were gram negative, facultative anaerobes, rod shaped, able to macerate potato slices and growth at 37°C; catalase positive; oxidase and phosphatase negative; able to degrade pectate; sensitive to erythromycin; negative for utilization of α-methyl glycoside, indole production, and reduction of sugars from sucrose; acid production from arabitol, sorbitol, and utilization of citrate were negative, but positive for raffinose and melibiose utilization. PCR amplification of the pel gene by Y1 and Y2 primers produced a 434-bp fragment on agarose gel 1% (1). Amplification of intergenic transcribed spacer region by G1 and L1 primers gave two main bands at approximately 535 and 580 bp on agarose gel 1.5%. The ITS-PCR products were digested with RsaI restriction enzyme (3). On the basis of biochemical and morphological characteristics, PCR-based pel gene and characterization of the ITS region, and digestion of the ITS-PCR products with RsaI restriction enzyme, all isolates were identified as P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum. To our knowledge, this is the first report of soft rot caused by P. carotovorum subsp. carotovorum on cucumber from Malaysia. References: (1) A. Darraas et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 60:1437, 1994. (2) N. W Schaad et al. Laboratory Guide for the Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. 3rd ed. The American Phytopathological Society Press, St. Paul, 2001. (3) I. K. Toth et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 67:4070, 2001.
The digestion and Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA) production from rice straw and oil palm fronds by cellulolytic bacteria isolated from the termite Coptotermes curvignathus were investigated. The bacteria were Acinetobacter strain Raminalimon, Enterobacter aerogenes strain Razmin C, Enterobacter cloacae strain Razmin B, Bacillus cereus strain Razmin A and Chryseobacterium kwangyangense strain Cb. Acinetobacter strain Raminalimon is an aerobic bacterium, while the other species are facultative anaerobes. There were significant differences (p<0.05) among the bacteria for Dry Matter (DM) lost and acetic acid production from rice straw and Acinetobacter strain Raminalimon showed the highest activity. The facultative bacteria C. kwangyangense strain Cb (cfu mL(-1) 231 x 10(-6), OD: 0.5), E. cloacae (cfu mL(-1) 68 x 10(-7), OD: 0.5) and E. aerogenes (cfu mL(-1) 33 x 10(-7), OD: 0.5) were used for digestion study with the rumen fluid microflora. The in vitro gas production technique was applied for the comparative study and the parameters measured were pH, gas (volume), dry matter lost, acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid concentrations. pH was not significantly (p<0.05) different among the five treatments. The bacterium C. kwangyangense strain Cb showed the highest activity (p<0.05) for DM lost, acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid production from rice straw when compared to the other bacterial activities. There was no significance (p<0.05) difference between the three bacteria for the dry matter lost of oil palm fronds but the production of Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA) was significantly (p<0.05) high in the treatment which was inoculated with C. kwangyangense strain Cb. The Gen Bank NCBI/EMBL accession numbers for the bacterial strains are EU332791, EU305608, EU305609, EU294508 and EU169201.
Soft rot of cabbage (Brassica rapa) occurs sporadically in Malaysia, causing economic damage under the hot and wet Malaysian weather conditions that are suitable for disease development. In June 2011, 27 soft rotting bacteria were isolated from cabbage plants growing in the Cameron Highlands and Johor State in Malaysia where the economic losses exceeded 50% in severely infected fields and greenhouses. Five independent strains were initially identified as Pectobacterium wasabiae based on their inability to grow at 37°C, and elicit hypersensitive reaction (HR) on Nicotiana tabaccum and their ability to utilize raffinose and lactose. These bacterial strains were gram-negative, rod-shaped, N-acetylglucosaminyl transferase, gelatin liquefaction, and OPNG-positive and positive for acid production from D-galactose, lactosemelibiose, raffinose, citrate, and trehalose. All strains were negative for indole production, phosphatase activity, reducing sucrose, and negative for acid production from maltose, sorbitol, inositol, inolin, melezitose, α-methyl-D-glucoside, and D-arabitol. All the strains exhibited pectolytic activity on potato slices. PCR assays were conducted to distinguish P. wasabiae from P. carotovorum subsp. brasiliensis, P. atrosepticum, and other Pectobacterium species using primers Br1f/L1r (2), Eca1f/Eca2r (1), and EXPCCF/EXPCCR, respectively. DNA from strains did not yield the expected amplicon with the Br1f/L1r and Eca1f/Eca2r, whereas a 550-bp amplicon typical of DNA from P. wasabiae was produced with primers EXPCCF/EXPCCR. ITS-RFLP using the restriction enzyme, Rsa I, produced similar patterns for the Malaysian strains and the P. wasabiae type strain (SCRI488), but differentiated it from P. carotovora subsp. carotovora, P. atrosepticum, P. carotovorum subsp. brasiliensis, and Dickeya chrysanthemi type strains. BLAST analysis of the 16S rRNA DNA sequence (GenBank Accession No. KC445633) showed 99% identity to the 16S rRNA of Pw WPP163. Phylogenetic reconstruction using concatenated DNA sequences of mdh and gapA from P. wasabiae Cc6 (KC484657) and other related taxa (4) clustered Malaysian P. wasabiae strains with P. wasabiae SCRI488, readily distinguishing it from other closely related species of Pectobacterium. Pathogenicity assays were conducted on leaves and stems of four mature cabbage plants for each strain (var. oleifera) by injecting 10 μl of a bacterial suspension (108 CFU/ml) into either stems or leaves, and incubating them in a moist chamber at 80 to 90% relative humidity at 30°C. Water-soaked lesions similar to those observed in the fields and greenhouses were observed 72 h after injection and bacteria with similar characteristics were consistently reisolated. Symptoms were not observed on water-inoculated controls. The pathogenicity test was repeated with similar results. P. wasabiae was previously reported to cause soft rot of horseradish in Japan (3). However, to our knowledge, this is the first report of P. wasabiae infecting cabbage in Malaysia. References: (1) S. H. De Boer and L. J. Ward. Phytopathology 85:854, 1995. (2) V. Duarte et al. J. Appl. Microbiol. 96:535, 2004. (3) M. Goto and K. Matsumoto. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 37:130, 1987. (4) B. Ma et al. Phytopathology 97:1150, 2007.
Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), a pathogen responsible for rice bacterial leaf blight, produces biofilm to protect viable Xoo cells from antimicrobial agents. A study was conducted to determine the potency of Acacia mangium methanol (AMMH) leaf extract as a Xoo biofilm inhibitor. Four concentrations (3.13, 6.25, 9.38, and 12.5 mg/mL) of AMMH leaf extract were tested for their ability to inhibit Xoo biofilm formation on a 96-well microtiter plate. The results showed that the negative controls had the highest O.D. values from other treatments, indicating the intense formation of biofilm. This was followed by the positive control (Streptomycin sulfate, 0.2 mg/mL) and AMMH leaf extract at concentration 3.13 mg/mL, which showed no significant differences in their O.D. values (1.96 and 1.57, respectively). All other treatments at concentrations of 6.25, 9.38, and 12.5 mg/mL showed no significant differences in their O.D. values (0.91, 0.79, and 0.53, respectively). For inhibition percentages, treatment with concentration 12.5 mg/mL gave the highest result (81.25%) followed by treatment at concentrations 6.25 and 9.38 mg/mL that showed no significant differences in their inhibition percentage (67.75% and 72.23%, respectively). Concentration 3.13 mg/mL resulted in 44.49% of biofilm inhibition and the positive control resulted in 30.75% of biofilm inhibition. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) analysis of Xoo biofilm inhibition and breakdown showed the presence of non-viable Xoo cells and changes in aggregation size due to increase in AMMH leaf extract concentration. Control slides showed the absence of Xoo dead cells.
In this study, vegetative cell suspensions of two Bacillus subtilis strains, L10 and G1 in equal proportions, was administered at two different doses 10(5) (BM5) and 10(8) (BM8) CFU ml(-1) in the rearing water of shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) for eight weeks. Both probiotic groups showed a significant reduction of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate ions under in vitro and in vivo conditions. In comparison to untreated control group, final weight, weight gain, specific growth rate (SGR), food conversion ratio (FCR) and digestive enzymatic activity were significantly greater in the BM5 and BM8 groups. Significant differences for survival were recorded in the BM8 group as compared to the control. Eight weeks after the start of experiment, shrimp were challenged with Vibrio harveyi. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences in shrimp survival between probiotic and control groups. Cumulative mortality of the control group was 80%, whereas cumulative mortality of the shrimp that had been given probiotics was 36.7% with MB8 and 50% with MB5. Subsequently, real-time RT-PCR was employed to determine the mRNA levels of prophenoloxidase (proPO), peroxinectin (PE), lipopolysaccharide- and β-1,3-glucan- binding protein (LGBP) and serine protein (SP). The expression of all immune-related genes studied was only significantly up-regulated in the BM5 group compared to the BM8 and control groups. These results suggest that administration of B. subtilis strains in the rearing water confers beneficial effects for shrimp aquaculture, considering water quality, growth performance, digestive enzymatic activity, immune response and disease resistance.
We studied the effect of two probiotic Bacillus subtilis strains on the growth performance, digestive enzyme activity, immune gene expression and disease resistance of juvenile white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). A mixture of two probiotic strains, L10 and G1 in equal proportions, was administered at two different doses 10(5) (BM5) and 10(8) (BM8) CFU g(-1) feed to shrimp for eight weeks. In comparison to untreated control group, final weight, weight gain and digestive enzyme activity were significantly greater in shrimp fed BM5 and BM8 diets. Significant differences for specific growth rate (SGR) and survival were recorded in shrimp fed BM8 diet as compared with the control; however, no significant differences were recorded for food conversion ratio (FCR) among all the experimental groups. Eight weeks after the start of the feeding period, shrimp were challenged with Vibrio harveyi. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences in shrimp survival between probiotic and control groups. Cumulative mortality of the control group was 63.3%, whereas cumulative mortality of the shrimp that had been given probiotics was 20.0% with BM8 and 33.3% with BM5. Subsequently, real-time PCR was employed to determine the mRNA levels of prophenoloxidase (proPO), peroxinectin (PE), lipopolysaccharide- and β-1,3-glucan-binding protein (LGBP) and serine protein (SP). The expression of all immune-related genes studied was significantly up-regulated (P
This study addressed the taxonomic position and group classification of a phytoplasma responsible for virescence and phyllody symptoms in naturally diseased Madagascar periwinkle plants in western Malaysia. Unique regions in the 16S rRNA gene from the Malaysian periwinkle virescence (MaPV) phytoplasma distinguished the phytoplasma from all previously described 'Candidatus Phytoplasma' species. Pairwise sequence similarity scores, calculated through alignment of full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences, revealed that the MaPV phytoplasma 16S rRNA gene shared 96.5 % or less sequence similarity with that of previously described 'Ca. Phytoplasma' species, justifying the recognition of the MaPV phytoplasma as a reference strain of a novel taxon, 'Candidatus Phytoplasma malaysianum'. The 16S rRNA gene F2nR2 fragment from the MaPV phytoplasma exhibited a distinct restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) profile and the pattern similarity coefficient values were lower than 0.85 with representative phytoplasmas classified in any of the 31 previously delineated 16Sr groups; therefore, the MaPV phytoplasma was designated a member of a new 16Sr group, 16SrXXXII. Phytoplasmas affiliated with this novel taxon and the new group included diverse strains infecting periwinkle, coconut palm and oil palm in Malaysia. Three phytoplasmas were characterized as representatives of three distinct subgroups, 16SrXXXII-A, 16SrXXXII-B and 16SrXXXII-C, respectively.
In this study, potential probiotic strains were isolated from fermented pickles based on antagonistic activity against two shrimp pathogens (Vibrio harveyi and Vibrio parahaemolyticus). Two strains L10 and G1 were identified by biochemical tests, followed by16S ribosomal RNA gene sequence analysis as Bacillus subtilis, and characterized by PCR amplification of repetitive bacterial DNA elements (Rep-PCR). Subsequently, B. subtilis L10 and G1 strains were tested for antibacterial activity under different physical conditions, including culture medium, salinity, pH and temperature using the agar well diffusion assay. Among the different culture media, LB broth was the most suitable medium for antibacterial production. Both strains showed the highest level of antibacterial activity against two pathogens at 30 °C and 1.0% NaCl. Under the pH conditions, strain G1 showed the greatest activity against V. harveyi at pH 7.3-8.0 and against V. parahaemolyticus at pH 6.0-8.0, whereas strain L10 showed the greatest activity against two pathogens at pH 7.3. The cell-free supernatants of both strains were treated with four different enzymes in order to characterize the antibacterial substances against V. harveyi. The result showed considerable reduction of antibacterial activity for both strains, indicating the proteinaceous nature of the antibacterial substances. A wide range of tolerance to NaCl, pH and temperature was also recorded for both strains. In addition, both strains showed no virulence effect in juvenile shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. On the basis of these results and safety of strains to L. vannamei, they may be considered for future challenge experiments in shrimp as a very promising alternative to the use of antibiotics.
Rice blast caused by Magnaporthe oryzae is one of the most devastating diseases of rice around the world and crop losses due to blast are considerably high. Many blast resistant rice varieties have been developed by classical plant breeding and adopted by farmers in various rice-growing countries. However, the variability in the pathogenicity of the blast fungus according to environment made blast disease a major concern for farmers, which remains a threat to the rice industry. With the utilization of molecular techniques, plant breeders have improved rice production systems and minimized yield losses. In this article, we have summarized the current advanced molecular techniques used for controlling blast disease. With the advent of new technologies like marker-assisted selection, molecular mapping, map-based cloning, marker-assisted backcrossing and allele mining, breeders have identified more than 100 Pi loci and 350 QTL in rice genome responsible for blast disease. These Pi genes and QTLs can be introgressed into a blast-susceptible cultivar through marker-assisted backcross breeding. These molecular techniques provide timesaving, environment friendly and labour-cost-saving ways to control blast disease. The knowledge of host-plant interactions in the frame of blast disease will lead to develop resistant varieties in the future.
Due to the low titer or uneven distribution of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) in field samples, detection of CTV by using conventional detection techniques may be difficult. Therefore, in the present work, the cadmium-telluride quantum dots (QDs) was conjugated with a specific antibody against coat protein (CP) of CTV, and the CP were immobilized on the surface of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to develop a specific and sensitive fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based nanobiosensor for detecting CTV. The maximum FRET efficiency for the developed nano-biosensor was observed at 60% in AuNPs-CP/QDs-Ab ratio of 1:8.5. The designed system showed higher sensitivity and specificity over enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with a limit of detection of 0.13μgmL(-1) and 93% and 94% sensitivity and specificity, respectively. As designed sensor is rapid, sensitive, specific and efficient in detecting CTV, this could be envisioned for diagnostic applications, surveillance and plant certification program.
Blast is the most common biotic stress leading to the reduction of rice yield in many rice-growing areas of the world, including Malaysia. Improvement of blast resistance of rice varieties cultivated in blast endemic areas is one of the most important objectives of rice breeding programs. In this study, the marker-assisted backcrossing strategy was applied to improve the blast resistance of the most popular Malaysian rice variety MR219 by introgressing blast resistance genes from the Pongsu Seribu 2 variety. Two blast resistance genes, Pi-b and Pi-kh, were pyramided into MR219. Foreground selection coupled with stringent phenotypic selection identified 15 plants homozygous for the Pi-b and Pi-kh genes, and background selection revealed more than 95% genome recovery of MR219 in advanced blast resistant lines. Phenotypic screening against blast disease indicated that advanced homozygous blast resistant lines were strongly resistant against pathotype P7.2 in the blast disease endemic areas. The morphological, yield, grain quality, and yield-contributing characteristics were significantly similar to those of MR219. The newly developed blast resistant improved lines will retain the high adoptability of MR219 by farmers. The present results will also play an important role in sustaining the rice production of Malaysia.