Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Solving problems of quarantine diseases for protection of stone fruit (Prunus spp.) production

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.05  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Phytomedicine 

Code Science Field
B390  Biomedical sciences  Phytotechny, horticulture, crop protection, phytopathology 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Monilinia, ESFY, sharka, PPV, inventarization, resistance, identification
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (17)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  10256  MSc Barbara Ambrožič Turk  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  150 
2.  08280  PhD Marina Dermastia  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  872 
3.  09478  PhD Nikita Fajt  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  165 
4.  20069  PhD Barbara Gerič Stare  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  274 
5.  12688  PhD Kristina Gruden  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  985 
6.  27953  Ivan Kodrič  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  88 
7.  15489  PhD Irena Mavrič Pleško  Plant production  Head  2011 - 2014  380 
8.  23610  PhD Nataša Mehle  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  542 
9.  10506  PhD Alenka Munda  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  227 
10.  29598  PhD Petra Nikolić  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2011  64 
11.  31334  Aleksandra Podboj Ronta    Technical associate  2011 - 2014 
12.  30090  PhD Nina Prezelj  Biology  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  61 
13.  05229  PhD Maja Ravnikar  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  1,369 
14.  33224  PhD Matevž Rupar  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  55 
15.  07442  MSc Gabrijel Seljak  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  464 
16.  03853  PhD Mojca Viršček Marn  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  419 
17.  17853  Barbara Zagorc  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  373 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,239 
2.  0401  Agricultural institute of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055431  20,373 
Stone fruit production is of a great importance for Slovenia. Peaches and nectarines are predominant in intensive orchards and plums in small production. Many pests and diseases are threatening stone fruit production in Slovenia including three important quarantine diseases – Plum pox potyvirus, Monilinia fructicola and 'Candidatus Phytoplasma prunorum'. Recently they spread so much that they cannot be under control using usual phytosanitary measures. All three diseases have been studied in Slovenia and in the world but many questions are still opened. Plum pox potyvirus (PPV) is the most important virus disease of stone fruits. It’s presence in Slovenia was confirmed in 1987. Recently it was discovered in the region of Brkini where it was absent for a long time. Plum cultivar Brkinska češplja grown in this region looks to be extremely sensitive to PPV. The fruits drop prematurely from infected trees and are not suitable for fresh consumption or for processing. This is causing big economic losses. Due to the big reduction of plum production the production of ‘Brkinski slivovec’, the important product with geographic origin is endangered. The only way to fight virus diseases is to avoid the infection using different measures including the use of resistant or in some cases even tolerant varieties. In frame of the project we will characterize a number of Slovenian PPV isolates. In plum orchards, predominantly planted with cultivar Domača sliva we will look for potentially resistant or tolerant trees. Monilinia fructicola, quarantine pathogen and the causal agent of brown rot, was confirmed in Slovenia in 2009. Similar disease is caused also by other species from the genus Monilinia. These pathogens are difficult to control and can cause big economic losses. M. fructicola is common in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. It is listed as a quarantine pathogen in the European Union and was absent from this region until 2001 when it was detected in France and soon after detected in other regions of south and central Europe. In the frame of the project we will monitor the presence of M. fructicola in comparison with other species, study the factors influencing the disease outbreak, prepare the guidelines to study the resistance of peaches and nectarines to brown rot and introduce the methods for fast detection and identification of Monilinia spp.. The phytoplasma 'Ca. P. prunorum' is causing the European Stone Fruit Yellows (ESFY) disease which is also the reason for apricot dieback. This disease is affecting apricot production in Slovenia. Some local apricot types or cultivars which survived the disease can be found in some areas. We will develop the protocol to study the disease resistance of apricot types which could be planted in regions with high disease pressure. We will monitor the health status of apricots in Slovenia and asses the presence of ESFY in apricot production orchards in the region of Goriška. We will also study the ecology of Cacopsylla pruni, the only confirmed vector of ESFY. We will also study the presence of 'Ca. P. prunorum' in other potential vectors of this phytoplasma.
Significance for science
During this research project we gained important new knowledge and information about the three most important quarantine diseases of stone fruits. This knowledge and information is important for fruit growing (experts from extension service, growers, plant health specialists…) and for scientific community. We improved already existing methods used in our laboratories (e.g. DNA extraction for detection of fungi and DNA extraction from different life stages of insect vectors) and introduced a new method for detection of different Monilinia species. The detection of phytoplasma Ca. P. Prunorum in eggs of the vector indicates a possibility of transovarial transmission of phytoplasma from infected females to progeny. This finding still needs further confirmation. Experience of phytoplasma detection in insect vectors will be used in the future on different insects and pathogens. The knowledge about molecular diversity of PPV was expanded with the new information on diversity of PPV in Slovenia.
Significance for the country
This research project was aimed to find solutions for problems in fruit production in Slovenia. It was dealing with three most important quarantine diseases of fruit trees in Slovenia and produced many important practical results. The calculations of economy of production for plum and apricot showed considerable differences economy of production for different fruit trees production technologies. These calculations can be used in the future as the basis for stone fruit orchards planning. We prepared a list of PPV tolerant plum varieties which could substitute the production of extremely sensitive plum variety Domača sliva in Brkini. The results of bionomy studies and recommendations for control of Cacopsylla pruni will help to control the vector and better disease management. Obtained knowledge about the vector of ESFY will enable effective and targeted use of plant protection products. Old Slovenian apricot variety Domači flokarji is an interesting variety which could be used for recovery of apricot production in Slovenia. The results show that this variety is potentially tolerant to ESFY infection, single trees also show to be less sensitive to Monilinia sp.. This way the apricot, which was an important fruit in production in Slovenia would again gain an importance. These and several other project results could be used in the future in extension service and expert work in stone fruit production and disease management.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report
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