Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Grapevine yellows: methods for their early detection and control

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.05  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Phytomedicine 

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.05  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Other agricultural sciences 
grapevine yellows, Flavescence doree, Bois noir, Scaphoideus titanus, remote sensing, bionomy, migra
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (17)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  00691  PhD Andrej Čokl  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  339 
2.  08280  PhD Marina Dermastia  Biology  Principal Researcher  2011 - 2014  842 
3.  24785  Alenka Ferlež Rus  Plant production  Technician  2011 - 2014  116 
4.  12688  PhD Kristina Gruden  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  931 
5.  14929  MSc Matej Knapič  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  318 
6.  05666  MSc Boris Koruza  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  208 
7.  23610  PhD Nataša Mehle  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  483 
8.  29598  PhD Petra Nikolić  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2011  64 
9.  24978  MSc Jolanda Persolja  Plant production  Researcher  2013 - 2014  93 
10.  30090  PhD Nina Prezelj  Biology  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  56 
11.  20162  PhD Sebastjan Radišek  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  578 
12.  20163  PhD Magda Rak Cizej  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  549 
13.  05229  PhD Maja Ravnikar  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  1,322 
14.  26091  PhD Jaka Razinger  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  402 
15.  27503  PhD Ana Rotter  Biotechnology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  307 
16.  05672  PhD Gregor Urek  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  709 
17.  05231  PhD Meta Virant Doberlet  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  276 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,214 
2.  0401  Agricultural institute of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055431  19,450 
3.  0416  Slovenian Institute of Hop Research and Brewing  Žalec  5051762000  4,054 
The important economic sector in Europe for producing grapevine planting material and wine is facing an epidemic threat caused by FD phytoplasma (FDp), phytopathogenic bacteria in the Mollicutes class that is responsible for Flavescence dorée (FD). FD is the most destructive and dangerous disease of grapevines among various grapevine yellows with the disease symptoms indistinguishable by a visual inspection.  Since 2005 when FD was diagnosed in Slovenia for the first time, the disease incidence has been raising rapidly and in 2010 shows a clear epidemic pattern in some winegrowing regions. FDp is a quarantine pest in Europe, listed in the EU2000/29 Council Directive on harmful organisms, as well as in the EPPO A2 quarantine list of pests. The destruction of diseased stocks, plants showing symptoms and surrounding plants is mandatory in countries affected by the disease in order to limit its spread.   Phytoplasmas are transmitted from plant to plant by sap-feeding insect vectors and propagates within the cytoplasm of both insects and sieve elements of plant phloem. The only known natural insect vector of FDp in grapevine is the monophagus leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus. Therefore, for the complete sanitation of vineyards both, the use of healthy planting material, in parallel with the efficient control of the vector, is critical. To achieve these goals, the development of new suitable, accurate and timely detection systems, which are urgently needed, depends on a profound knowledge of biology of S. titanus and FDp. The later is severely limited at the moment due to the lack of understanding of the mechanisms of phytoplasma phytopathogenicity, hosts, resistance and insect transmission in general and because of the quarantine status of FDp.   In the proposed project we will focus on the introducing of remote sensing based analysis of grapevine yellows by using high resolution multispectral data. Method has been applied in detection of various plant weeds and pathogen, but not in grapevine yellows. Research of the bionomy of S. titanus in Slovenia will be implemented in the improvement of strategies for its eradication. We will introduce a well worked method of soaking dormant grapevine material in hot water, which has been proved to be efficient against phytoplasmas and S. tiatanus eggs and harmless to plant material, providing that the temperature is carefully regulated and the treatment is included properly in the schedule of plant production. During the proposed project we will also investigate some alternative methods for the eradication of S. titanus.  To overcome the problems of unavailability of research FDp material we will use in the bioinforamtic study of grapevine genes after the phytoplasma infection with the widespread stolbur phytoplasma Bois Noir (BNp), which causes the same disease symptoms on the grapevine as FDp, presumably by very similar mechanisms. With this study we will presumably find some significant genes that are changed upon the infection and might be used as disease markers in diagnostics.   The proposed principal investigator is a head of the laboratory for phytoplasma research at NIB, which is officially appointed by the Phytosanitary Administration of Republic of Slovenia for phytoplasma diagnostics. The laboratory closely collaborates with similar diagnostic laboratories and official services in EU. She is currently engaged as a leader of a work package in a FP7 project VITISENSE with a main goal to develop a portable handheld device for vineyard and nursery managers to perform rapid infield tests of FDp. Her research group participate in current COST Action FA0807 - Integrated Management of Phytoplasma Epidemics in Different Crop Systems. The project team involved Slovenian leading professional entomologists working in the field of Scaphoideus titatnus. The experiences of the whole team together with the most-up-to-date laboratory equipment assure the total feasibility of the proposed project.
Significance for science
In this project we have successfully introduced a remote sensing based analysis of grapevine yellows by using high resolution multispectral data. This is a qualitative step of this application from plant weeds and pathogens to phytoplasmas. The introducing of various bioinformatics tools into phytoplasma research have opened a completely new area of studies which has already revealed potential genetic markers of phytoplasma infection and led to the first construction of a disease triangle – an old concept describing the diseases, based on the real experimental data.
Significance for the country
In the frame of this project the hot water treatment as a known successful method for the eradication of FD phytoplasma and the eggs of its vector has been tested for the first time in Slovenia with very promising results. In addition, a study of the bionomy of S. titanus in Slovenia has been implemented in the improvement of strategies for its successful eradication.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report
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