Development and evaluation of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of loose smut of barley (Ustilago nuda)


DOI: 10.1007/s10658-004-1421-z

Cite this article as:
Eibel, P., Wolf, G.A. & Koch, E. Eur J Plant Pathol (2005) 111: 113. doi:10.1007/s10658-004-1421-z


Polyclonal antibodies were raised against mycelium from the logarithmic growth phase of a shake culture of Ustilago nuda, and a double antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with biotinylated detection antibodies was developed. The detection limit of the assay was 15 ng total protein ml−1 for the homologous antigen and 50 ng ml−1 for a spore extract, respectively. Other species of Ustilago reacted with the antibodies. Cross-reactivity was highest with U. tritici. No signal was obtained with the tested isolates of Tilletia, Rhizoctonia, Pythium and Fusarium. With naturally infected barley seeds, the results of the ELISAs were always in good agreement with those obtained with the routinely used seed embryo test. However, when seeds grown from artificially inoculated florets were used, the ELISA indicated significantly higher infestation levels than the embryo test. Results of assays with halved seeds from the same lot showed that high amounts of mycelium were present in the non-embryo half. This and especially the relatively long duration of the assay suggested that the ELISA (as conducted here) may not be suitable as a routine method for analysing seed infection with U. nuda. With samples from barley seedlings grown from infected seeds the results of the immunoassay again corresponded very well with the infection level determined by staining of the seed embryo, irrespective of the mode of floret inoculation (natural or artificial). Potential fields of application of the ELISA include the early prediction of the efficacy of protection agents, e.g. in screenings for seed treatments, the elucidation of the biology of the fungus and characterisation of resistance mechanisms.


cereal diseasesfloral infectionloose smutplant disease diagnosisseed health testingseed-borne fungi





growth stage according to Zadoks et al., 1974


Immunoglobuline G


International Seed Testing Association


phosphate buffered saline

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Biological ControlFederal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA)DarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Plant Pathology and Plant ProtectionGeorg August UniversityGöttingenGermany