PCR-based methods to detect Verticillium chlamydosporium on infected plant roots were developed. Arbitrary ERIC primers and those based on rRNA genes, to identify fungi grown in pure culture, were unsuitable for DNA extracted from nematode-infested roots, because of interference by plant and nematode DNA. A novel method utilizing specific primers designed from an amplified and cloned fragment of the V. chlamydosporium beta-tubulin gene was developed. Although it could not discriminate between different isolates of V. chlamydosporium, one primer set could identify the fungus on tomato roots infested with root-knot nematodes. The V. chlamydosporium beta-tubulin sequence data showed close homology to sequences from plant endophytic Acremonium and Epichloe species and the saprotrophic Trichoderma viride.
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