Net blotch is a barley foliar disease caused by two forms of Pyrenophora teres: Pyrenophora teres f. teres (PTT) and Pyrenophora teres f. maculata (PTM). To monitor and quantify their occurrence during the growing season, diagnostic system based on real-time PCR was developed. TaqMan MGB (Minor Groove Binder) primers and probes were designed that showed high specificity for each of the two forms of P. teres. As a host plant internal standard, TaqMan MGB primers and probe based on RacB gene sequence were designed. The method was optimised on pure fungal DNA and on plasmid standard dilutions. Quantification was accomplished by comparing Ct values of unknown samples with those obtained from plasmid standard dilutions. The assay detects down to five gene copies per reaction. It is able to produce reliable quantitative data over a range of six orders of magnitude. The developed assay was used to differentiate and quantify both forms of P. teres in infected barley leaves. Correlation R2= 0.52 was obtained between the Ct values and size of symptoms areas in early stage of infection. Application of the TaqMan MGB technology to leaf samples collected in 20 barley varieties in the region Kromeriz during the growing season of 2003 and 2004 revealed that P. teres f. teres predominated in these 2 years. The developed method is an important tool to quantify and monitor the dynamics of the two forms of P. teres during the growing season. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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