Real Time PCR: a useful methodology for detection and quantitation of granulovirus
Authors: Gloria Barrera, Jazmín Murcia, Jorge Cerón, Paola Cuartas, Cristian Guzmán, Laura Villamizar
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The use of baculovirus as a biocontrol agent is an effective strategy, which has been gradually implemented in different production systems worldwide. For the development of a biopesticide based on baculovirus, it is necessary to have a methodology to determine the viral concentration in the process and in the finished product. In this study, a technique for viral quantification by quantitative PCR (q-PCR) was designed and optimized; therefore we used a TaqMan probe designed on granulin gene which is highly conserved. The specificity, sensitivity and reproducibility of the technique were determined. The q-PCR was able to detect and quantify isolates from the genus Betabaculovirus from five different insects species (granulovirus from Tecia solanivora, Phthorimaea operculella, Erinnys ello, Tuta absoluta and Spodoptera frugiperda) even from different geographic origins, while other isolates of baculovirus as from the genus Alphabaculovirus (nucleopolyhedrovirus from Spodoptera ornithogalli, Diatraea saccharallis or S. frugiperda) were not detected. The minimum detection limit of the technique was 6.4 x 10-4 ng /µl of DNA, equivalent to 1.25 x 103 gene copies. Additionally, intra- and inter-assays variation was minimal, demonstrating the reproducibility of technique. The applicability of the technique was evaluated for detecting granulovirus from samples of larva and soil, and to determine the virus concentration in the biopesticide formulated as emulsifiable concentrate. In conclusion, quantitative PCR was a technique reproducible, sensitive and specific to allow viral persistence studies in field, viral infection control in rearing and quality control of a biopesticide based on betabaculovirus.
Key words: Granulovirus, quantitative PCR, viral persistence, quality control.