Phytophthora fragariae, the cause of strawberry red stele disease, is a quarantine pathogen in Europe. Detecting low levels of infection requires sensitive and specific methods. In the past, Dutch and English inspection services have used bait plants to test strawberry propagation stocks destined for export. Increasingly though, PCR is being incorporated into these testing procedures in an effort to increase sensitivity and speed. Various combinations of baiting and PCR assays were compared with existing testing procedures. Water and root samples from the bait test were screened by nested PCR and the PCR amplicon was detected by several methods, including fluorescent labelled probes ( TaqMan(TM) and Molecular Beacon T). PCR amplification was monitored in real-time and semi-quantitative detection was possible. Because PCR reactions are sensitive to inhibitors present in extracted DNA samples, an internal control containing the primer sequences specific for P. fragariae was developed to avoid false negatives.