DAO 72:53-64 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao072053

Detection of Aphanomyces astaci in North American crayfish by polymerase chain reaction

Birgit Oidtmann1,*, Sheila Geiger2, Peter Steinbauer2, Annabelle Culas2, Rudolf W. Hoffmann2

1Cefas Weymouth Laboratory, Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK
2Institute of Zoology, Fish Biology und Fish Diseases, University of Munich, Kaulbachstraße 37, 80539 Munich, Germany

ABSTRACT: We present a PCR based method to detect Aphanomyces astaci in North American crayfish. Primers were designed to specifically amplify parts of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions and the 5.8 rRNA gene of A. astaci. A single round and a semi-nested assay were tested for their sensitivity and specificity. Specificity of the PCR assays was tested against several closely related Aphanomyces species, other Oomycetes and some non-A. astaci DNA that might be found in or on crayfish. The single round assay was fully specific against all DNA tested. In the semi-nested assay, cross-reaction was seen when the equivalent of 40000 or more genomic units of A. invadans or A. frigidophilus were entered into the PCR reaction. The lower detection limit of both assays lies around 1 genomic unit of A. astaci. Investigation of various parts of the exoskeleton of 3 North American crayfish species revealed that for O. limosus and P. leniusculus the telson and soft abdominal cuticle yielded a positive PCR reaction most frequently. For the third species, Procambarus clarkii, only 1 individual tested positive, so no conclusion as to preferred infestation site(s) could be drawn.

KEY WORDS: Aphanomyces astaci · Oomycetes · Detection · Polymerase chain reaction · North American crayfish · Orconectes limosus · Pacifastacus leniusculus · Internal transcribed spacer region

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