PLANT-DX: Field-Based Multiplexed Crop Pathogen Surveillance
Julius Lucks of Northwestern University in the U.S. will develop a low-cost diagnostic test that can detect multiple plant pathogens with a simple visual output for farmers in low-income countries to better monitor their crops. Current diagnostic field tests can only detect one disease and are generally difficult to use and costly. The alternative is laboratory testing, which is often unavailable in low-resource settings. Taking a different approach, they will develop a sensitive, multiplexed test that only requires basic sample preparation, such as mixing and using body heat, and can detect multiple pathogens using biosensors. The results will be visually presented using color changes that can be recorded by cell-phone cameras for analysis and reporting to aid global plant pathogen surveillance efforts. They will develop the methods and tools to detect three model plant pathogens and field test their diagnostic system in the U.S., Uganda, and Kenya.