Researchers Evaluate PCR Test Ability to Detect Viruses in Plant Material

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Farmscape for November 29, 2021

Full Interview 5:28 Listen

Research conducted on behalf of the Swine Health Information will help set the stage for more reliable detection of disease-causing viruses in feed. As part of research conducted on behalf of the Swine Health Information Center to answer pork sector questions about the risk of transmitting viruses in feed, Dr. Diego Diel with Cornell University compared the performance of three commercially available nucleic acid extraction kits in identifying the presence of viruses in feed. Swine Health Information Center Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg explains, while we have PCR tests for viruses in different biological tissues, we don’t have validated tests for use in plant materials.

Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-Swine Health Information Center:
What Dr. Diel did was take three commercially available extraction kits and tested them side by side. While they may be equivalent in biological tissues, in animal tissues, for example if you take these three extraction kits and you test them side by side on spleens of pigs for certain viruses, they may be all equivalent, they may be all the same. But we’ve never tested them, we’ve never looked at them before as how do they perform with plant materials. That’s what he did. He took three commercially available PCRR extraction kits and he compared them using plant materials and found that one of the kits did outperform the other two. That can help lead us to better detection of a variety of viruses in feed matrices if we’re going to do those tests. Those tests are generally done by university diagnostic labs, the veterinary diagnostic labs as well as they can very well be done in private labs also because this technology is not new and it’s widely available.

The full report on this work can be accessed through the Swine Health Information Center web site at swinehealth.org.

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