Detection of Esca-associated fungi in grapevine trunks using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays

David Marek, Daniel Eberl, Khaled Otba, Ruth Walter, Andreas Kortekamp, Wilfried Schwab, Ludwig Niessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Esca is a grapevine trunk disease (GTD) that is caused by filamentous fungi. It is responsible for considerable economic losses in viniculture on a global scale. Despite many unknown factors contributing to the development of symptoms in affected plants, Phaeoacremonium minimum (PMI), Phaeomoniella chlamydospora (PCH) and Fomitiporia mediterranea (FMED) are generally considered as the main causative fungal species. Early detection and specific identification of these pathogens therefore play an important role in disease control and evaluation of suitable countermeasures. In this study, loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays were developed for each of the three pathogens. A genome-based approach was applied for detection and selection of unique target DNA sequences. The designed primer sets showed overall good specificities, with some observed cross-reactions towards closely related Phaeoacremonium species for the PMI primer set. The developed assays had detection limits of 100 pg (FMED, PMI) and 1 pg (PCH) per reaction (corresponding to 1460 [FMED]; 1950 [PMI]; 342 [PCH] genome copies per reaction). The application of the assays to field samples was demonstrated by testing individual infected grapevine trunks from two European viticultural regions using crude DNA obtained in a rapid sample preparation step. LAMP assay results matched those of PCR following a conventional DNA extraction protocol. The study showed that LAMP-based rapid molecular detection of major Esca agents can serve as a useful tool for further research and surveillance of a highly devastating grapevine disease. The application of computer-based whole genome comparison between target and non-target species for the identification of unique target sequences as the basis for LAMP (or PCR) primer design was demonstrated to be a useful approach in species for which scarce sequence information is available. Moreover, the developed method for rapid DNA preparation from grapevine trunks may potentially be adapted to the DNA-based detection also of other fungal species that cause grapevine trunk diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-237
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Esca
  • fungi
  • grapevine trunk diseases
  • loop-mediated isothermal amplification
  • pathogen detection


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