Analysis of RNA Interference (RNAi) Biopesticides: Double-Stranded RNA (dsRNA) Extraction from Agricultural Soils and Quantification by RT-qPCR

Ke Zhang, Jingmiao Wei, Kara E. Huff Hartz, Michael J. Lydy, Tae Seok Moon, Michael Sander, Kimberly M. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules are used as a novel class of biopesticides. To enable assessments of the ecological risk associated with their release to receiving environments, we developed an approach to quantify dsRNA in agricultural soils using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). To allow quantification of dsRNA adsorbed to particles, we also developed a protocol to transfer dsRNA from particles to the extraction buffer by changing particle surface charge and adding constituents to compete with dsRNA for adsorption sites. Our approach could quantify dsRNA amounts as low as 0.003 ngdsRNA/gsoil. This approach is the first available field-applicable approach able to quantify dsRNA biopesticides down to environmentally relevant concentrations. We applied this approach to investigate dsRNA dissipation (including dilution, degradation, and adsorption) in two agricultural soils. When we applied a low amount of dsRNA (1 ngdsRNA/gsoil) to the soils, we observed that a greater fraction of dsRNA was adsorbed to and extractable from soil particles in a silty clay loam soil than in a fine sandy loam soil. In both soils, dsRNA dissipated on the timescale of hours. Overall, these results demonstrate that our approach can be applied to assess the environmental fate of dsRNA biopesticides at concentrations relevant to their release to soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4893-4902
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume54
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 21 2020

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