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Detection and quantification of Tomato mosaic virus in irrigation waters

J. Boben, P. Kramberger, N. Petrovič, K. Cankar, M. Peterka, A. Štrancar, M. Ravnikar

European Journal of Plant Pathology (2007) 118:59-71

A quantitative RT real-time PCR method was developed for the detection and quantification of Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) in irrigation waters. These have rarely been monitored for the presence of plant pathogenic viruses, mostly due to the lack of efficient and sensitive detection methods. The newly developed method presented here offers a novel approach in monitoring the health status of environmental waters. ToMV was reliably detected at as low as 12 viral particles per real-time PCR reaction, which corresponds to the initial concentration of approximately 4.2 × 10-10 mg (6,300 viral particles) of ToMV per ml of sample. The sensitivity of the method was further improved by including the Convective Interaction Media® (CIM) monolithic chromatographic columns for quick and efficient concentration of original water samples. Seven out of nine water sources from different locations in Slovenia tested positive for ToMV, after concentrating the sample. Four samples tested ToMV-positive without the concentrating procedure. The presence and integrity of infective ToMV particles in the original sample, as well as in the chromatographic fraction, was confirmed using different methods from test plants, DAS ELISA to electron microscopy and real-time PCR. In this study, we propose a unique and simple diagnostic scheme for rapid, efficient, and sensitive monitoring of irrigation waters that could also be adopted for other plant, human or animal viruses.

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