Field-deployable recombinase polymerase amplification assay for specific, sensitive and rapid detection of the us select agent and toxigenic bacterium, rathayibacter toxicus
journal contributionposted on 2021-09-08, 01:48 authored by M Arif, GY Busot, R Mann, Brendan RodoniBrendan Rodoni, JP Stack
Rathayibacter toxicus is a toxigenic bacterial pathogen of several grass species and is responsible for massive livestock deaths in Australia and South Africa. Due to concern for animal health and livestock industries, it was designated a U.S. Select Agent. A rapid, accurate, and sensitive in-field detection method was designed to assist biosecurity surveillance surveys and to support export certification of annual ryegrass hay and seed. Complete genomes from all known R. toxicus populations were explored, unique diagnostic sequences identified, and target-specific primers and a probe for recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) and endpoint PCR were designed. The RPA reaction ran at 37 °C and a lateral flow device (LFD) was used to visualize the amplified products. To enhance reliability and accuracy, primers and probes were also designed to detect portions of host ITS regions. RPA assay specificity and sensitivity were compared to endpoint PCR using appropriate inclusivity and exclusivity panels. The RPA assay sensitivity (10 fg) was 10 times more sensitive than endpoint PCR with and without a host DNA background. In comparative tests, the RPA assay was unaffected by plant-derived amplification inhibitors, unlike the LAMP and end-point PCR assays. In-field validation of the RPA assay at multiple sites in South Australia confirmed the efficiency, specificity, and applicability of the RPA assay. The RPA assay will support disease management and evidence-based in-field biosecurity decisions.