Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Discovery and water-linked epidemiology of emergent tobamoviruses infecting crops

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
tobamoviruses, irrigation water, epidemiology, reliable detection
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on May 23, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  258  11,191  10,270  39.81 
Scopus  278  12,368  11,345  40.81 
Researchers (18)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  50563  PhD Katarina Bačnik  Biotechnology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  132 
2.  56612  Jakob Brodarič    Technical associate  2022 - 2024  58 
3.  23399  PhD Tomaž Curk  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2021 - 2024  253 
4.  56610  Maja Ferle    Technical associate  2023 - 2024  21 
5.  27827  PhD Jon Gutierrez Aguirre  Biotechnology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  363 
6.  35424  PhD Tomaž Hočevar  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2021 - 2022  30 
7.  39610  MSc Tina Klepac  Biotechnology  Researcher  2021 - 2024 
8.  52584  Zala Kogej Zwitter  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  104 
9.  35384  PhD Denis Kutnjak  Biotechnology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  290 
10.  55123  Živa Lengar    Technical associate  2021 - 2024  27 
11.  23610  PhD Nataša Mehle  Biotechnology  Head  2021 - 2024  544 
12.  52096  Amra Omanović  Computer science and informatics  Junior researcher  2021 - 2022 
13.  57702  Neža Pajek Arambašič  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2023 - 2024 
14.  38081  PhD Anja Pecman  Biotechnology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  98 
15.  19626  Rok Štravs  Biotechnology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  18 
16.  30142  PhD Marko Toplak  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2021 - 2022  27 
17.  35216  MSc Martina Vitanc  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2021 - 2024 
18.  54287  PhD Ana Vučurović  Plant production  Researcher  2021 - 2024  223 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,285 
2.  0158  BIA, Laboratory and process equipment company, Ltd.  Ljubljana  5327601  18 
3.  1539  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Computer and Information Science  Ljubljana  1627023  16,284 
Diseases caused by emerging viruses have become more and more important over the last few decades in terms of their incidence and economic impact. Currently, the most economically important emerging virus is the tobamovirus tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), which emerged in Israel around 2014. Since then, outbreaks of ToBRFV have occurred around the world, including recent outbreaks in several European countries. This endangers tomato and pepper production, the main host plants for ToBRFV. The same crops can be severely infected also by other emerging tobamoviruses, such as tomato mottle mosaic virus (ToMMV), which was first described in 2013 in Mexico, and was subsequently found in the Americas, Asia and Europe. The physical and biological properties of tobamoviruses allow their rapid spread and provide them with high epidemic potential, which as a consequence, can have significant impact on agriculture. Therefore, a search for yet unknown tobamoviruses in different plant species and in different environmental sample matrices will provide us with valuable information before the emergence of such species as crop pathogens. This is included in the proposed project, in the form of a meta-analysis of a large set of already published sequence datasets, and it will enable quicker development of tests and better understanding of possible origin points of the viruses in question. This latter will also help us to better understand the possible future spread of such viruses in crops, and consequently provide us with better means for containment of their spread. The most important accepted introduction route of tobamoviruses into new countries and regions is by infested seeds and infected planting materials. Tobamoviruses are particularly stable, and after their introduction into a new region, they can be easily spread to other plants via mechanical transmission. For ToBRFV, it has already been confirmed that it can survive for long periods of time on different surfaces, and that it is environmentally stable. Furthermore, once ToBRFV enters its plant objective, it is difficult to eradicate using existing disinfection techniques. ToBRFV RNA has been detected in some water samples; however, as its survival in water has not been studied yet, including the efficiency of its transmission through irrigation water to plants, this will be studied within the proposed project. This knowledge is needed for the definition of its complex epidemiology and for risk assessment studies to be carried out to reveal the critical points for monitoring and control. Similar studies to fill in the gaps in the understanding of the epidemiology of ToMMV and other potentially important (re)emerging tobamoviruses will also be conducted within proposed project. The crucial step towards successful control of emerging tobamoviruses and prevention of their further spread is accurate and timely detection of the virus. Several molecular tests for detection and identification of ToBRFV in plant materials and seeds are available, but none of these have been validated with the purpose of their use in monitoring of irrigation waters. Moreover, such tests are in high demand for other emerging tobamoviruses; e.g., ToMMV. In this project, significant effort will be directed towards the development of reliable diagnostic procedures (for both laboratory and on-site testing) to monitor emergent tobamoviruses in irrigation waters. The experienced research team will ensure the success of the project in terms of the water-linked epidemiology and diagnosis of recently emerged tobamoviruses, and the discovery of potentially new emergent tobamoviruses. This will lead to better plant protection, which is indispensable to catch up with the frequent emergence of new species and the rapid spread of these pathogens because of climate change and the rapid movement of plants and plant products through trade activities.
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