Whether you need to test potatoes, geraniums or larch trees, a plant disease rapid test is invaluable for determining the presence or absence of problematic plant pathogens quickly in the field.

Rapid tests have been used in plant health for many years on every continent. Except for Antarctica of course! However, some of our customers contact us to ask how to get the best from rapid tests when testing different plant material.

Plant Disease Rapid Test Best Practice

Although the user protocol for testing for pathogens with different sample types is similar there are subtle differences. For example, the process for testing wood samples for pathogens will differ from testing leaf material.

Every plant disease rapid test will come with a set of instructions, probably including a troubleshooting guide. So, it is advisable to read the instructions carefully as there will be certain actions that need to take place to get the best results.

Getting the best from a plant disease rapid testRapid tests that use lateral flow immunoassay technology work on a molecular level and offer good sensitivity levels. However, sometimes they can be misused which hinders this sensitivity. The main misuse is overloading of a sample.

Our web page on how to use plant disease tests provides advice on how to avoid blocking the tests.

Lateral flow technology uses nitrocellulose membrane, coloured nanoparticles (or labels), and typically antibodies, to produce results. In an article by Abingdon Health, What is a lateral flow immunoassay? it describes how a rapid test works. Knowing how they work provides an understanding as to why a test can be blocked easily if too much sample is added.

Golden Rules

We have devised a set of golden rules to maximise the performance of plant disease rapid tests which covers the following:

  • Sample selection
  • Sample preparation
  • Sample loading
  • Other considerations

Visit the the golden rules section of our how to use Pocket Diagnostic® guide.