Mikaela C. Payong, News, PUP Campus Journalists
Three outstanding biology researcher-students of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Rommel Aban, Abigail Indong, and Alethea Lopez presented their innovative study in Asian Mycology Congress 2023, clinching the best oral presenter award, in Busan South Korea on October 10–13, 2023.
The trio’s thesis, titled “Validation of Colletotrichum asianum Detection: A Comparative Study between PUP DETECT LAMP Assay Kit and Conventional PCR,” presented by Lopez, who won the best oral presenter, focused to validate the recently developed PUP DETECT LAMP Assay Kit (PDLAK) vs. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), both methods to detect Colletotrichum asianum (C. asianum) to the renowned Philippine carabao mangoes.
According to Lopez, C. asianum silently infects healthy mango plant tissues, remaining symptomless until the post-harvest stage when it causes unsightly black, rotten-like spots on mango skins.
“In the case of C. asianum, it infects healthy mango plant tissues as an endophyte, and the infection’s visible effects are typically most pronounced during the post-harvest stage.” Lopez mentioned.
To address this challenge, she emphasized the need to use science to find infected mangoes, whether they show signs or not, to avoid losses.
Lopez stated that PCR which is considered the “gold standard for molecular pathogen detection” is time consuming and demands complex and expensive equipment.
“This study involves a comparative analysis of both methods’ sensitivity and specificity and explores the potential for PDLAK to serve as a “new gold standard” for fungal pathogen detection of C. asianum in carabao mangoes.” Lopez told PUP Campus Journalists.
She explained that their thesis centered on comparing the two methods in terms of “sensitivity and specificity” which refers to “ability to detect the smallest amounts of fungal DNA,” and “capability to accurately detect the targeted fungal pathogen.”
Furthermore, the thesis revealed that PLDAK could be a promising cost-effective alternative for on-site and laboratory detection of the C. asianum in carabao mangoes.
“Our findings indicate that PDLAK (88%) surpasses PCR (25%) in terms of sensitivity, detecting fungal DNA levels as low as 1.165 x 10^-9 pg compared to PCR’s 2.329 pg.”
The research conducted by Lopez along with Aban and Indong hopes to pave the way for sustainable post-harvest treatment by providing a tool for rapid detection of pathogens, aiding in its control and management.
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