Submitted to: Luteoviridae
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Luteoviruses cause significant crop losses each year. Historically, the losses caused by luteoviruses has been underestimated because the disease symptoms induced by the viruses often are subtle and easily confused with those caused by other diseases or adverse environmental conditions. For this reason alone, detection and diagnosis of luteoviruses is an important area of study. A wide variety of techniques have been reported in the scientific literature for the detection and diagnosis of luteoviruses. In this review, we compared the sensitivity and ease-of-use of different luteovirus detection techniques. We found that a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which detects the genetic material of the viruses, was by far the most sensitive. However, the PCR techniques were often relatively difficult and quite expensive. Techniques that employed antibodies to detect the protein shells of the viruses, called enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), were relatively easy to use and much less expensive. Even though the detection of luteoviruses by ELISA was much less sensitive than by PCR, we concluded that ELISA should be the method of choice for routine diagnosis or when many samples need to be processed at once. In tests where it is important to detect small concentrations of contaminating virus, the PCR method would be preferred. The information presented in this chapter will be useful to scientists who are looking for advice on choosing an appropriate technique for detection of luteovirus infections.
Technical Abstract: The crop damage caused by luteoviruses has historically been underestimated because the symptoms induced by the causal viruses often are subtle and easily confused with those caused by other biotic and abiotic agents. For this reason alone, detection and diagnosis of luteoviruses is an important area of study. There is a wide variety of techniques available for the detection and diagnosis of luteoviruses. Comparative studies indicate that RT-PCR is the most sensitive of these. However, the sensitivity of ELISA is adequate for most of the routine testing. The simplicity and economy of the ELISA techniques make ELISAs more practical when many samples need to be processed, as in routine indexing or epidemiological studies. In tests where it is important to detect small concentrations of contaminating virus, PCR is the method of choice for luteovirus detection. The best advice when choosing a technique for detection of a luteovirus is to select the easiest and cheapest technique that has the sensitivity and reliability necessary for the task at hand. It is also important to consider the experience and skills of the scientists in the laboratory. As a result of these considerations, the technique selected for luteovirus detection or diagnosis by different scientists for a similar purpose may not be the same in studies conducted at different times and in different places.