Research project Inventory and validation of quality control procedures for the extraction of nucleic acids used for diagnosis
Main research question
Each plant health lab uses different DNA and RNA extraction methods for its diagnostic tests, depending on organism, purpose of the test, but also matrix for example. The market for commercial kits also continues to grow rapidly. This project is primarily aimed at being able to establish guidelines around the use of control procedures that govern the nucleic acid extraction process as a function of disease and pest diagnosis.
We first make a complete inventory of methods and protocols used in the various Plant Health labs. More than 30 labs are participating in this project. We complete the inventory through a desktop study. We then make a selection of the theoretically most optimal protocols. If necessary, we perform a limited additional validation. With the selected protocols we conduct a comparative study, a so-called Test Performance study. These results in turn generate useful general guidelines.
This project has advantages for both National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) and diagnostic laboratories due to the availability of standardized nucleic acid extraction procedures for plant pathogen diagnostics. The application of routine standard NA extraction procedures by diagnostic laboratories will also benefit farmers and traders by providing a rapid and reliable detection of the pathogens of interest. This will increase the likelihood to timely intervene and to prevent potential spread.