Molecular Pathogen Diagnostics

Numerous pathogens (virus, fungi and bacteria) infect African food crops and results in crop yield and quality loss. Accurate and timely identification of pathogens and its geographic distribution is an essential precursor and critical to implementation of disease control measures.

IITA has a strong diagnostics R&D program with an overall goal to develop and deploy diagnostic tools for rapid and accurate identification of pathogens, develop diagnostic capacity and a reporting network. The key components of this program are:

Diagnostic tools

Develop ELISA and PCR-based diagnostics tools for pathogen diagnosis. Our R&D programs so far has developed diagnostic tools for over 60 different pathogens (bacteria, fungi, phytoplasma and viruses) infecting cassava, yam, banana & plantain, cowpea, maize, soybean, cocoa and vegetables. Research is continued to augment existing capacity with additional tools.

Reference DNA bank

DNA of reference isolates, strains, species of pests and pathogens are banked for future use.

For further information, contact:
Dr P Lava Kumar

DNA barcode database

DNA barcode of pathogens and pests of African food crops are being generated to setup a ‘barcode’ database. The barcode data will comprise diagnostic gene sequences for the identification of species and strains of viruses (coat protein), fungi (ITS, b-tubulin, Actin, Histone, Elongation Factor), bacteria (16S and Hsp). This database will serve as ready reference tool for pathogen and pest identification.

Diagnostics basket

A basket of generic and specific diagnostic reagents and protocols established and made available for public access via websites.