Center for Plant Health Science and Technology
CPHST Lab, Beltsville, Maryland
Location: BARC-East, Bldg.
580, Powder Mill Rd.,
Phone: (301) 313-9200
Fax: (301) 313-9232
Contact: Mark Nakhla
The mission of the CPHST Beltsville Lab is to develop, adapt, validate, and implement advanced biochemical and molecular methods for the detection of high consequence plant pathogens, including the APHIS Select Agents and plant pathogens in foreign Germplasm.
Programs at the Laboratory utilize technologies from the fields of plant pathology, molecular biology, human and animal biochemical and molecular clinical diagnostics, and bio-detection to develop, adapt, and improve methods for accurate and rapid diagnosis of plant pathogens. Our scientists validate plant pathogen diagnostic methods prior to stakeholder release to assure their performance and fitness for use in regulatory programs.
The Laboratory also utilizes diagnostic methods to accurately and rapidly diagnose high consequence and select agent plant pathogens with non-routine status, or for which operational methods have not been deployed but require federal confirmation. In these situations the NPGBL conducts sample testing in parallel with the PPQ Molecular Diagnostics Lab (MDL).
We are committed to quality in biochemical and molecular diagnostics and are nearing completion of ISO 17025:2005 certification and soon pursuing ISO certification as a Proficiency Test provider. The Laboratory performs its work with a high proficiency level, and is proficiency tested in the operation of performed diagnostic methods. The Laboratory conducts outreach to the plant pathology diagnostic community by providing technical support to scientists within the National Plant Pathogen Diagnostic Network (NPDN), PPQ port and regional identifiers, the PPQ Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory (MDL), and the state departments of agriculture in the detection of regulatory plant pathogens by providing standard operating protocols, hands-on laboratory training, and providing any troubleshooting required for PPQ validated diagnostics.
The Beltsville Lab is a key component of the PPQ National Plant Pathogen Laboratory Accreditation Program (NPPLAP). The lab is responsible for proficiency test panel development, delivery, and first-level evaluation of proficiency tests conducted by scientists who perform diagnostics on behalf of APHIS PPQ using CPHST-validated methods.
Our scientists contribute their expertise as members of scientific committees of the North American Plant Protection Organization; the Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN) representing the National Plant Diagnostics Network (NPDN) on the Methods, Proficiency Testing/Quality Assurance, and Training Sub-groups; the NPDN Diagnostics Committee; the Quadrilateral Scientific Collaboration (Quads) Diagnostic Tools Collaboration Project; several committees of the American Phytopathological Society and other governmental and discipline related scientific groups and committees.
- Development and adaptation of real-time PCR assays for targeted viruses in foreign germplasm, including Sweet potato mild speckling potyvirus (SPMSV), Columbian datura potyvirus (CDV), Blackcurrant reversion nepovirus (BRV), Potato yellow vein crinivirus (PYVV), Sweet potato chlorotic fleck carlavirus (SPCFV), Sweet potato chlorotic stunt crinivirus (SPCSV-WA), Potato black ringspot nepovirus (PBRV), Tomato ringspot nepovirus (ToRSV), Tomato black ring nepovirus (TBRV), and Strawberry latent ringspot virus (SLRSV)].
- Development of diagnostic assays for the improved detection of Geminiviruses and Potyviruses infecting imported germplasm including 4 real-time PCR assays for Cocksfoot streak potyvirus (CSV), Johnsongrass mosaic potyvirus (JGMV), Sugarcane mosaic potyvirus (SCMV) and Sweet potato latent potyvirus (SPLV)].
- Validation of a PCR detection method for Potato cyst nematode (Globodera rostochiensis) and development of a real-time PCR assay for the detection and identification of potato cyst nematode and tobacco cyst nematodes (G. tabacum).
- Validation of diagnostic qPCR assays for detection and diagnosis of Phytophthora kernoviae, an exotic pathogen of beech, oak and other hosts.
- Validation of a conventional PCR test and a Real-time (q) PCR test for rapid on-site detection of potato wart (Synchytrium endobioticum).
- Huanglongbing PCR diagnostics development and improvement, including development of a genome scan system to identify candidate genes for HLB diagnosis at the genus, species and isolate levels.
- Validation and implementation of PCR assays to detect Citrus variegated chlorosis.
- Validation and improvement of PCR and RT-PCR assays to detect Citrus leprosis virus.
- Evaluation and adaptation of CANARY technology to plant pathogen targets, and demonstrated the detection of Phytophthora ramorum by CANARY from infected Rhododendron leaves.
- Development of proficiency testing reagents and administration of the Proficiency Testing Program for high consequence plant pathogens, specifically Phytophthora ramorum and Huanglongbing (citrus greening).
- Advanced development of Plum pox virus diagnostics including molecular and serological characterization of a PPV W-like isolate from illegally introduced Ukrainian Prunus germplasm.