Abstract

Fungi are considered serious pathogens to many plants and can cause severe economic damage. Early detection of these pathogens is very important and might be critical for their control. The available methods for detection of fungi are time consuming and not always very specific. Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) microscopy has proved to be a reliable and sensitive method for detection of molecular changes in cells. Fungi pathogens display typical infrared spectra that differ from the spectra of substrate material such as potato. In the present study we used FT-IR microscopy for early and rapid detection of the potato fungal pathogen <i>Colletotrichum coccodes</i> on the surface of potato tubers. Infected potatoes with this fungal pathogen and uninfected potatoes were examined and correctly classified as infected or not infected by FT-IR microscopy at very early stages of infection when no morphological signs of infection could be seen. Unique spectral biomarkers were found in naturally infected potatoes compared to disease-free control potatoes.

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