Published November 27, 2023 | Version v1
Publication Open

Development of an in-field detection and cost-effective kit for cacao swollen shoot disease (CSSD) in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana

  • 1. Integrated Pest Management, Plant Sciences Laboratory, Mars Wrigley, Davis, CA, United States,
  • 2. Swiss de Code, Lausanne, Switzerland,
  • 3. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA,
  • 4. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 5. CNRA, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire,
  • 6. CRIG, Tafo, Ghana,
  • 7. World Agroforestry Center, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire,


Cocoa Swollen Shoot Disease (CSSD) is one of the most prevalent issues affecting cocoa plantations in West Africa and has been causing serious losses to farmers since it was first discovered in Ghana in 1936. The disease can remain asymptomatic and go undetected for several months. Once symptoms appear, the trees become unproductive and can die within 3-5 years. If detected early, the farmer can reduce the impact before the disease spreads. Therefore, early detection is fundamental. Built on SwissDeCode's DNAFoil technology and incorporating underlying research on virus diversity from Mars Wrigley in partnership with ICRAF, CRIG, CNRA and the University of Arizona, the new solution is an easy-to-perform testing kit that enables field personnel to test cocoa trees in less than 60 mins, using their leaves as samples. The detection LOD has been evaluated in the laboratory and can detect as little as 1500 copies of the virus per sample. Sensitivity and Specificity of the kit have been validated in both laboratory and field settings and gave satisfactory results. Customer surveys with suppliers, coop leaders and male and female farmers have also been carried out confirming the desirability of this technology to alleviate the burden of CSSD in West Africa. 

Keywords: Cocoa Swollen Shoot Disease, Diagnostics, Early detection, Virology, LAMP


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