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Another year is upon us and yet, writing this, we're already heading rapidly towards the end of January. Toward the end of last year the blog writing became non-existent when 3 letters entered the NZ vernacular and many people got very busy. Those 3 letters are Psa (or Pseudomonas syringae pathovar actinidiae). Unfortunately a potentially high damage pathogen was now threatening the 1.5 billion dollar industry. The rapid detection of this bacteria throughout kiwifruit regions in NZ indicated that the pathogen had been here for some time and thus it was likely that the disease had been managed inadvertently by many growers.
But there's nothing like hearing the words "we have an incursion" to spark up a Saturday afternoon. Since then it's been solid work to design and develop a new hydrolysis probe (OK, TaqMan probe) assay for this pathogen for screening purposes before duplexing it with an internal control. A great opportunity to fire up the Eco qPCR system 'in anger' as it were. Using this new instrument with the Quanta FastMix reagents we've also just launched means the assay has been running in 40 minutes - very handy when trying different parameters during the optimisation.