Surveillance of terrestrial eDNA is achieved by: (1) Sampling of spatially distributed eDNA (2) A strategy to aggregate species-specific samples (3) Concentration of target eDNA (4) Extraction of eDNA and testing
Early recognition and rapid eradication of exotic species can prevent detrimental ecological or economic effects. However, in terrestrial systems, this approach is often limited by the difficulty of detecting the invasive species early, while its population numbers are still low. To address this challenge, scientists at Rutgers have developed a method for surveilling terrestrial exotic species by aggregating environmental DNA (eDNA), which is contained in fragments (e.g., skin flakes, fecal matter, etc.) shed by individuals as they move about an environment.
The novel technology describes the following strategy: (1) identify likely deposits of target eDNA (e.g. on fruiting bodies, plant surfaces, or in soil); (2) utilize an easily implementable method for aggregating the eDNA (e.g., sampling crop wash water); (3) concentrating the sample; and (4) extracting the target eDNA and utilizing a sensitive detection method (e.g., qPCR). The key = aggregation step significantly increases the likelihood of detecting species present at very low abundance.
This simple, yet powerful surveillance technology has been verified in field studies as being effective for monitoring the brown marmorated stink bug, a newly invasive species in an area where it was too rare for detection by other presently available methods.
- Pre-emptive agricultural pest control
- Conservation of endangered species and habitats
- Monitoring of disease-carrying arthropods
- Rapid, highly specific and sensitive molecular method
- Enables early detection of introduced pests
- Does not require visual detection of the pest
- Easy to adapt to a variety of agricultural, epidemiological or ecological needs
Intellectual Property & Development Status:
Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.
Valentin, R. et al. Early detection of invasive exotic insect infestations using eDNA from crop surfaces. Journal of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16 (5), 265-270, (2018), doi:10.1002/fee.1811
Valentin et al. 2016 Real-time PCR assay to detect brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål), in environmental DNA (eDNA). Pest Management Science 72(10):1854-61. doi: 10.1002/ps.4217