Foto del docente

Paola Minardi

Assistant professor

Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences

Academic discipline: AGR/12 Plant Pathology

Useful contents

Emerging molecular technologies for phytosanitary surveillance through point-of-care diagnostics based on miniaturized sensors

Early and rapid detection of foodborne pathogens is essential to prevent any epidemics while ensuring human health. The use of simple, automatic and portable miniaturized devices are being tested for a transition to precision diagnostics based on advanced molecular techniques applicable directly in field. In fact, compared to traditional techniques, miniaturized biosensors (eg. microfluidic chips) represent instruments with high specificity, sensitivity, reproducibility, speed and efficiency also in relation to costs in detecting pathogens of food origin. Diagnostics of this type could be very useful especially for reducing the large losses in agricultural production caused by plant diseases, allowing for better management of crop diseases in economies based on agriculture. In fact, especially in cases where resistant varieties are not available, the most interesting alternative is offered by a rapid and early detection of pathogens in the field, thus avoiding the onset of the disease. Furthermore, this type of diagnostics, allowing to detect the presence of pathogens also in asymptomatic plants, would allow a better management of pesticide treatments. In conclusion, “POC” diagnostic tests can quickly provide in field the information necessary for farmers for immediate disease management, minimizing crop losses and can eliminate logistical problems related to the transfer of samples in specialized laboratories for the analyses with concomitant cost reduction for the phytosanitary surveillance.

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