This book describes the theory and practical aspects of a number of "diagnostic" techniques that have evolved over recent years to assess variety, yield, quality and stress by pathogens or environment pre- and post harvesting of crops. Useful diagnostic methods can be based on molecular probes such as antibodies or gene probes, physical methods based on spectroscopy or by simplifying and refining long-established enzymological approaches. A systems approach is taken, leading from diagnostic methods for the whole plant and its soil environment, to the chromosome, gene and molecular protein levels. Aspects of harvested crop quality and purity can also be rapidly assessed by physical or chemical diagnostic methods. Some of the diagnostic methods will remain for the foreseeable future as being suited only to a limited number of well-equipped laboratories, others can have immediate application, possibly in the form of test kits in the field. Some progress and constraints in making diagnostic methods widely available either commercially or through research collaborations are discussed. Authors from Europe, North America and Australasia share their expertise on an exciting variety of technologies which will take plant agriculture into the next century.
About the Author
CSIRO Division of Plant Industry, Canberra
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