Towards a best practice methodology for the detection of Phytophthora species in soils

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Plant Pathology, Volume Early view (2020)



The genus Phytophthora contains species that are major pathogens worldwide, affecting a multitude of plant species across agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and natural ecosystems. Here, we concentrate on those species that are dispersed through soil and water, attacking the roots of the plants, causing them to rot and die. The intention of this study was to compare the soil baiting protocol developed by the Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management (CPSM) with two other baiting methods used in Australia. The aim was to demonstrate the effectiveness of each protocol for soil baiting Phytophthora species in different substrates. Three experiments were conducted: the first to test the sensitivity of each method to detect Phytophthora cinnamomi, the second to test the effect of substrate type (sand or loam), and the third to test the detection of species (P. cinnamomi, P. multivora, or P. pseudocryptogea). The specificity of different plant species baits was compared within and between the methods. Substrate type influenced isolation in all methods; however, the CPSM method was superior regardless of substrate, albeit slower than one of the other methods for one substrate. Comparing bait species between the three methods, Quercus ilex was the most attractive bait for P. cinnamomi, particularly in the CPSM method. The choice of protocol affected the isolation associated with each bait type. Overall, the multiple bait system used by CPSM was shown to provide the most sensitive and reliable detection of Phytophthora species from soil samples.


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