Phytopathological Disease Diagnostics- Challenges and Future Directions

Arising, reappearing and endemic plant pathogens continues to challenge the ability to protect plant health around the world. Further, globalization, increased human mobility, climate change, and vector and pathogen evolution have assisted in spreading invasive plant pathogens. Accurate and early diagnoses and pathogen observation on global, regional, and local scales are important to outbreaks and offer time for application and development of mitigation procedures.

Phytopathology or plant pathology identification expectedly depends on molecular technology that is confounded, tedious and compelled to centralized laboratories. Plant disease diagnostic networks have been created to address the issues of effective and efficient diagnosis as well as pathogen detection, inducing participation of experts and institutions within nations and across national borders. Networking boosts the impacts of contracting government investments in agriculture and reducing human resource limit in diagnostics as well as applied pathology.

Incapability to Offer Real-Time Detection Poses Challenges

Although conventional diagnostics methods such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), Fluorescence in-situ Hybridization (FISH), Immunofluorescence (IF), Flow cytometry (FCM) and GC-MS are accessible and extensively utilized for phytopathology disease diagnostics, they are comparatively difficult to operate, necessitates expert technicians as well as are time consuming for data analysis. Additionally, most of these methods cannot offer real-time detection that makes them less appropriate for early warning systems and on-field testing.

Other than the exceptional benefits offered by the different disease detection methods techniques for plant illness identification application, every technique has its own impediments. With regards to coordinate infection discovery strategies, PCR has shown its capacity in detecting plant pathogen with higher sensitivity, nonetheless, it necessitates planning explicit primers to enhance DNA for identifying various pathogens. The cost restrictive strategy hence restricts its application just to lab settings and higher value target analytes. Furthermore, parameters such as polymerase action, deoxynucleoside triphosphate buffer concentration could bring improbability to the result.

Adoption of Innovative Techniques in Phytopathology Disease Diagnostics

However, as cutting edge equipment in the lab based detection methods, portable PCR as well as its specific sorts, for example, RT-PCR (real-time PCR) have been utilized for on-field identification. Market players are anticipating the utilization of PCR to be continued in the coming years. Even though the use of ELISA for phytopathology disease diagnostics isn’t much recorded, production of test strips on the basis of ELISA will be an innovative method for phytopathology disease diagnostics in coming years because of its noticeable color change signal. On the other hand, the application might simply be kept to infection identification because of the excellent sensitivity of ELISA for infections. The application is likely to be undermined for bacterial diseases because of its poor affectability.

While IF and FISH offer excellent sensitivity, they are lab based techniques which necessitates skilled personnel to function. Moreover, professional data analysis and complex sample preparations are mandatory. The same remains constant for GC-MS regardless of its capacity to give quantitative assurance of VOCs formed by infected plants. Whereas offering exact information for illness identification, FCM offers overpowering and at times unnecessary data which complicates the information analysis and necessitates proficient and experienced experts for interpreting the outcomes of detection. Additionally, the costly instrumentation makes it more uncertain for on-field application.

Imaging techniques such as fluorescence imaging and thermography, even though they have been utilized on-field for disease detection, are proved to be susceptive to parameter change of the environment as well as absence of specificity of each kind of disease.

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The beginning of nanotechnology has ensued in the progressions of extremely sensitive biosensors owing to contemporary nanofabrication methods. The specificity of the biosensors can be significantly enhanced by the usage of enzymes, bacteriophage, DNA and antibodies as the specific recognition element.

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