Non-destructive method for detecting Aphanomyces astaci, the causative agent of crayfish plague, on the individual level
Self archived versionfinal draft
MetadataShow full item record
CitationPavic D, Cankovic M, Svilicic Petric, I. Makkonen, J. Hudina, S. Maguire, I. Vladušic, T. Šver, L. Hrašcan, R. Orlic, K. Dragicevic, P. Bielen, A. (2020). Non-destructive method for detecting Aphanomyces astaci, the causative agent of crayfish plague, on the individual level. Journal of invertebrate pathology, 169, 107274. 10.1016/j.jip.2019.107274.
The pathogenic oomycete Aphanomyces astaci, transmitted mainly by invasive North American crayfish, causes the crayfish plague, a disease mostly lethal for native European crayfish. Due to its decimating effects on native crayfish populations in the last century, A. astaci has been listed among the 100 worst invasive species. Importantly, detecting the pathogen in endangered native crayfish populations before a disease outbreak would provide a starting point in the development of effective control measures. However, current A. astaci-detection protocols either rely on degradation-prone eDNA isolated from large volumes of water or, if focused on individual animals, include killing the crayfish. We developed a non-destructive method that detects A. astaci DNA in the microbial biofilm associated with the cuticle of individual crayfish, without the need for destructive sampling. Efficiency of the new method was confirmed by PCR and qPCR and the obtained results were congruent with the traditional destructive sampling method. Additionally, we demonstrated the applicability of the method for A. astaci monitoring in natural populations. We propose that the new method should be used in future monitoring of A. astaci presence in endangered European native crayfish individuals as an alternative to eDNA-based monitoring.