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A novel application of methacrylate based short monolithic columns: Concentrating Potato spindle tuber viroid from water samples

J. Ruščić, I. Gutierrez-Aguirre, L. Urbas, P. Kramberger, N. Mehle, D. Škorić, M. Barut, M. Ravnikar, M. Krajačić

Journal of Chromatography A, 1274 (2013) 129-136

Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) is the causal agent of a number of agriculturally important diseases. It is a single-stranded, circular and unencapsidated RNA molecule with only 356–360 nucleotides and no coding capacity. Because of its peculiar structural features, it is very stable ex vivo and it is easily transmitted mechanically by contaminated hands, tools, machinery, etc. In this work, we describe the development and optimization of a method for concentrating PSTVd using Convective Interaction Media (CIM) monolithic columns. The ion-exchange chromatography on diethylamine (DEAE) monolithic analytical column (CIMac DEAE-0.1 mL) resulted in up to 30% PSTVd recovery whilst the hydrophobic interaction chromatography on C4 monolithic analytical column (CIMac C4-0.1 mL) improved it up to 60%. This was due to the fact that the binding of the viroid to the C4 matrix was less strong than to the highly charged anion-exchange matrix and could be easier and more completely eluted under the applied chromatographic conditions. Based on these preliminary results, a C4 HLD-1 (High Ligand Density) 1 mL monolithic tube column was selected for further experiments. One-litre-water samples were mixed with different viroid quantities and loaded onto the column. By using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), the viroid RNA was quantified in the elution fraction (≈5 mL) indicating that 70% of the viroid was recovered and concentrated by at least two orders of magnitude. This approach will be helpful in screening irrigation waters and/or hydroponic systems’ nutrient solutions for the presence of even extremely low concentrations of PSTVd.

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