Propidium monoazide combined with qPCR to differentiate live and dead conidia of Neofabraea actinidiae
Neofabraea actinidiae can occasionally cause post-harvest rot in kiwifruit. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis represents a feasible and accurate option for identifying and quantifying this rot but is limited because qPCR results do not differentiate live and dead conidia. Propidium monoazide (PMA) is a photoreactive dye that penetrates into the damaged cell-wall membranes of dead conidia binding to the DNA and thus suppressing its amplification by qPCR. A commercial kit containing PMA was trialled for differentiating between live and dead N. actinidiae conidia. The most suitable conditions were 1 μM PMA with 10 min light emitting diode (LED) exposure, and could clearly distinguish high concentrations of live from similar concentrations of dead conidia when tested separately and as a mixture. Low concentrations of live N. actinidiae conidia could be distinguished from dead ones when tested separately, but not as a mixture. Additional work is needed to optimise the effectiveness of the PMA binding and apply this concept in the orchard.