The timely detection and appropriate identification of causal agents associated with disease of crop plants or seeds are considered to be the most important issue in formulating the management strategies for plant diseases. This is particularly important for plant diseases of a bacterial nature, where disease-free planting materials is the only effective way to restrict the disease. The detection of bacterial pathogens still largely depends on cultural, morphological and biochemical properties. The protocol requires skilled taxonomical expertise and is also time and labor intensive. Moreover, it cannot discriminate between closely related strains of same bacterial pathogens. With the advent of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), nucleic acid based techniques have made the diagnostic procedures for plant pathogens, including bacteria, easier than the conventional approaches. The wide acceptability of nucleic acid based techniques is due to them being more sensitive, more accurate, more specific, and much faster than conventional techniques. The serology-based diagnoses are very often preferred over nucleo-based techniques as they are more user-friendly and less cumbersome, besides being sensitive, accurate, specific, and much faster than conventional techniques. This review critically analyzes the recent developments and scope of various nucleic acid- and serology-based techniques for the diagnosis of bacterial plant pathogens.
Key words: Bacterial pathogens, diagnosis, detection.
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