Late wilt, a destructive vascular disease of maize caused by the fungus Magnaporthiopsis maydis
, is characterized by relatively fast wilting of maize plants closely before the physiological maturity stage. Previously, traditional microbiology-based methods have been used to isolate the pathogen and to characterize its traits. More recently, several molecular methods have been developed, enabling accurate and sensitive examination of the pathogen spread within the host. Here, we review the methods developed in the past 10 years in Israel, which include new or modified microbial and molecular techniques to identify, monitor, and study M. maydis
in controlled environments and in the field. The assays inspected are exemplified with new findings and include microbial isolation methods, microscopic and PCR or qPCR identification, spore germination evaluation, root pathogenicity assay, M. maydis
hyphae or filtrate effects on grain germination and sprout development, and a field assay. These diagnostic protocols enable rapid and reliable detection and identification of the pathogen in plants and seeds and studying the pathogenesis of M. maydis
in susceptible and relatively resistant maize cultivars in a contaminated field. Moreover, these techniques are important for studying the population structure, and for future development of new strategies to restrict the disease’s outburst and spread.
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