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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 99:103-117 (2012)  -  DOI:

Development and preliminary evaluation of a real-time PCR assay for Halioticida noduliformans in abalone tissues

Mariska R. Greeff1, Kevin W. Christison1,2, Brett M. Macey2,*

1Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, University of Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville, South Africa
2Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Directorate: Aquaculture Research, Private Bag X2, Roggebaai, Cape Town, 8012, South Africa

ABSTRACT: Abalone Haliotis midae exhibiting typical clinical signs of tubercle mycosis were discovered in South African culture facilities in 2006, posing a significant threat to the industry. The fungus responsible for the outbreak was identified as a Peronosporomycete, Halioticida noduliformans. Currently, histopathology and gross observation are used to diagnose this disease, but these 2 methods are neither rapid nor sensitive enough to provide accurate and reliable diagnosis. Real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) is a rapid and reliable method for the detection and quantification of a variety of pathogens, so therefore we aimed to develop a qPCR assay for species-specific detection and quantification of H. noduliformans. Effective extraction of H. noduliformans genomic DNA from laboratory grown cultures, as well as from spiked abalone tissues, was accomplished by grinding samples using a pellet pestle followed by heat lysis in the presence of Chelax-100 beads. A set of oligonucleotide primers was designed to specifically amplify H. noduliformans DNA in the large subunit (LSU) rRNA gene, and tested for cross-reactivity to DNA extracted from related and non-related fungi isolated from seaweeds, crustaceans and healthy abalone; no cross-amplification was detected. When performing PCR assays in an abalone tissue matrix, an environment designed to be a non-sterile simulation of environmental conditions, no amplification occurred in the negative controls. The qPCR assay sensitivity was determined to be approximately 0.28 pg of fungal DNA (~2.3 spores) in a 25 µl reaction volume. Our qPCR technique will be useful for monitoring and quantifying H. noduliformans for the surveillance and management of abalone tubercle mycosis in South Africa.

KEY WORDS: Abalone · Disease · Tubercle mycosis · Halioticida noduliformans · PCR

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Cite this article as: Greeff MR, Christison KW, Macey BM (2012) Development and preliminary evaluation of a real-time PCR assay for Halioticida noduliformans in abalone tissues. Dis Aquat Org 99:103-117.

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