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On Tuesday 6th November 2018, a one day practical course on plant pathogen diagnostics was held at NIAB EMR, Kent.
The day was organised by Charlotte Nellist, Matevz Papp-Rupar, Helen Cockerton, Andrew Armitage from NIAB EMR, James Townsend from Berry Gar dens Growers and Eric Boa from BSPP. Thirty-two participants registered for the day from a range of backgrounds, including Agronomists, PhD students, Research Technicians, Postdoctoral re searchers and Research Leaders from both the UK and Europe. The day began with symptom recognition exercises led by Eric Boa and continued with basic methods and challenges in the day-to-day work in a plant clinic by James Townsend.
Delegates were then exposed to various symptomatic plant material, fungal and bacterial isolates. They were given the opportunity to get hands on experience of core diagnostic methods, presented by the team (pictured above). This included plant dissection and symptom observation on strawberry and apple, use of lateral flow devices, sellotape strip spore capture, as well as the use of dissection and compound micro scopes for observation and identification of fungal/oomycete spores/structures. In the afternoon, Angela Berrie (NIAB EMR) introduced delegates to basic crop walking techniques, which were put into practice in the subsequent crop walk in the neighbouring genebank orchards (pictured below). 2018 Practical Course on Plant Pathogen Diagnostics: From Symptoms to Sequence The rest of the afternoon was focused on the molecular detection and novel techniques developed for diagnosis. This included the theoretical introduction to loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) by Rosa Cozzaia (NIAB) and a practical demonstration of the technology by Jenny Tomlinson and Sioban Ostoja-Starzewska (Fera) (pictured opposite). The session concluded with presentations on novel imaging tools for inferring plant health by Helen Cockerton and next generation sequencing approaches for disease management by Andrew Armitage. Collated feedback of the day rated the course very useful, with over 90% of delegates stating they were satisfied or very satisfied with the content, speakers and organisation of the course. We kindly thank the BSPP for their financial contribution and CABI for the material from the Plantwise Diagnostic Field Guide.