Simple quantification of in planta fungal biomass

Michael Ayliffe, Sambasivam K. Periyannan, Angela Feechan, Ian Dry, Ulrike Schumann, Evans Lagudah, Anthony Pryor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


An accurate assessment of the disease resistance status of plants to fungal pathogens is an essential requirement for the development of resistant crop plants. Many disease resistance phenotypes are partial rather than obvious immunity and are frequently scored using subjective qualitative estimates of pathogen development or plant disease symptoms. Here we report a method for the accurate comparison of total fungal biomass in plant tissues. This method, called the WAC assay, is based upon the specific binding of the plant lectin w heat germ a gglutinin to fungal c hitin. The assay is simple, high-throughput, and sensitive enough to discriminate between single Puccinia graminis f.sp tritici infection sites on a wheat leaf segment. It greatly lends itself to replication as large volumes of tissue can be pooled from independent experiments and assayed to provide truly representative quantification, or, alternatively, fungal growth on a single, small leaf segment can be quantified. In addition, as the assay is based upon a microscopic technique, pathogen infection sites can also be examined at high magnification prior to quantification if desired and average infection site areas are determined. Previously, we have demonstrated the application of the WAC assay for quantifying the growth of several different pathogen species in both glasshouse grown material and largescale field plots. Details of this method are provided within.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlant-Pathogen Interactions
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781627039864
ISBN (Print)9781627039857
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2014

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Chitin
  • Disease
  • Fungus
  • Plant
  • Puccinia
  • Quantification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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