CucCAP researchers develop new methods for detection and analysis of downy mildew pathogen on cucumber

cucumber illustrationThe oomycete pathogen Pseudoperonospora cubensis, is a devastating foliar disease of cucumber. Growers seek to time initiation of their fungicide programs to the influx of the airborne P. cubensis sporangia into their production regions. However, the sporangia of P. cubensis captured by spore traps are visually indistinguishable from those of P. humuli (hop downy mildew) which often appear earlier in the season and could lead to unnecessary sprays. Researchers in Dr. Mary Hausbeck’s group at Michigan State University have developed a new, highly sensitive DNA-based protocol to genetically distinguish the two pathogens from spore trap samples. The enhanced sensitivity also enables detection 5-10 days before symptoms appear in cucumber fields, providing a broader window for initiation of chemical control.

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