Crop Biotech Update

PhilRice Develops Method for Rice Viral Infection Detection

July 1, 2015

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), with the support of the Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program, is developing a better and faster method of virus detection in rice and insect vectors. The method, called loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay has already been successful in diagnosing pathogens in animals and humans. The project is now testing it on plants with the aim of helping farmers detect the viral diseases even before the symptoms appear.

Preliminary results show that the rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV) can be detected one day after inoculation (DAI). This is in contrast to ELISA's three DAIs requirement for symptoms to appear. Further research reveals that LAMP was also able to detect the rice ragged stunt virus (RRSV) in the brown planthopper (BPH). This means that the method is likewise capable of detecting the virus even before the disease actually happens and even without a standing rice crop. Other focuses of the study include the rice tungro spherical virus (RTSV), rice grassy stunt virus (RGSV) and the rice dwarf virus (RDV) and its green leafhopper vector. It is hoped that through this fast and accurate diagnosis of rice diseases, timely pest management systems will be delivered and costs from misuse and expenditure of pesticides will be reduced.

For more information about this research, please contact project leader Dr. Emmanuel R. Tiongco (ertiongco@yahoo.com) or Dr. Antonio A. Alfonso of DA Biotech (biotechpiu@yahoo.com). DA- Biotech's info brief about this research, and other biotech updates in the Philippines may be found at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture Biotechnology Information Center's (SEARCA BIC) website.