On the occasion of the handover of the funding notices for two new joint research projects to curb the golden yellow yellowing of the vine (Flavescence dorée = phytoplasmosis), which are coordinated by the vine protectors and vine breeders of the Julius Kühn Institute at the Geilweilerhof site in Siebeldingen, the JKI published the following homepage announcement.

Federal Minister Klöckner hands over funding notices for new JKI research projects on quarantine diseases in vines and fruit

On Monday (April 12th, 21st), Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner handed over the grant notices from her ministry for the two new research projects "VectoScreen" and "PhytoMo" via video. In the am Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) in Siebeldingen The projects worked on are about the diagnosis of flavescence dorée, in English golden yellow, and the monitoring of the pathogen causing this vine disease and the insects that transmit it. The disease is caused by a bacterium without a cell wall, a so-called phytoplasm. This quarantine pest organism, which is worth fighting, or its vector insect, the American vine leafhopper, are finding better and better conditions in local wine regions. Diseased plants and pathogens are subject to transport bans within the EU and other measures that help prevent the introduction and spread of quarantine pathogens. Both projects are funded by the BMEL as part of the tender "Innovations to avoid the introduction and spread of regulated and new harmful organisms in plants".

Both "VectoScreen" and "PhytoMo" are about developing new technical possibilities for monitoring the flavescence dorée or the transmitting insect, which can be transferred to other quarantine pests in fruit and wine growing as well as regulated non-quarantine pests. Since phytoplasmoses in viticulture are an important field of research at the JKI, the institute coordinates both joint projects. Other research institutions and smaller companies are also on board as cooperation partners. Three JKI specialist institutes are involved in the projects. The responsibility for VectoScreen lies with the vine protection experts at the Siebeldingen location of the JKI Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit and Viticulture. The JKI Institute for Strategies and Impact Assessment is also involved. The PhytoMo network is coordinated by the JKI Institute for Grapevine Breeding, here too the JKI vine protectors, who also work at the Geilweilerhof in Siebeldingen, are involved.

To the VectoScreen project (Funding certificate for JKI for 768,848 euros):

VectoScreen is designed to make the monitoring of phytoplasmosis and other vector-borne diseases of fruit and vine even more efficient by analyzing mass traps of the vector insects, including cicadas and mealybugs, using high-throughput sequencing. In connection with bioinformatics, high-throughput sequencing is a powerful tool in the diagnosis and assignment of pathogens and harmful agents in crop cultivation. An important goal is the development of an internet platform for the administration, analysis and communication of monitoring data, which can be made available afterwards for all monitoring projects for regulated harmful organisms. In addition to the phytoplasmoses mentioned, the vectors of the bacterium are also used Xylella fastidiosa that causes severe damage to olives and stone fruit in southern Europe and causes Pierce's Disease on the vine in North America. Approx. Phytoplasma mali, Grapevine Leafroll Virus and Little Cherry Virus are also included in the investigations. The two viruses are transmitted by mealybugs and damage vines and cherries. They pose a particular problem when exporting varieties and growing material.

To the PhytoMo project (Funding certificate for JKI for 574,218 euros):

Since vines are defenseless against cell wallless bacteria (phytoplasms), early detection can help to reduce the problem. It is important to track down and remove infected vines in good time. Therefore, based on the results of a previous project (BigGrape), a multispectral image processing system for the specific detection of phytoplasmosis is to be developed and then suitable sensor systems for the detection of infected vines are to be developed. The systems mentioned are to be used both on the ground and from the air, supported by drones. The phytopathological reference for the development work is created through differential diagnostic examinations and the genetic characterization of the phytoplasmosis pathosystems with the inclusion of alternative host plants, in the special case these are alder trees. Molecular screening tools are to be developed for monitoring alternative host plants. Other project participants in PhytoMo are the State Teaching and Research Institute for Viticulture and Fruit Growing (funding certificate for 698,452 euros), RLP AgroScience GmbH (funding certificate for 51,911 euros), the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technology and Image Evaluation, IOSB for short (funding certificate for 536,709 euros) and the University of Bonn, Institute for Geodesy and Geoinformation, Professorship for Geodesy (funding certificate for 261,616 euros).

Click here for the official press release from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)  https://www.bmel.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/DE/2021/057-schutz-der-weinreben.html

Pictures of the disease under: https://www.julius-kuehn.de/aktuelles/aktuell/news/bundesministerin-kloeckner-uebergibt-foerderbescheide-fuer-neue-jki-forschungsprojekte-zu-quarantaenekran/

Photos of the digital delivery will be made available with a delay.

Background information:

With the increasing global trade in plants, there is a steadily increasing risk that new pathogens or their carriers will be introduced to Europe and Germany. Due to climate change, the chances of heat-loving pathogens to establish themselves in Central Europe after they have been introduced are increasing. Harmful organisms in plants, the introduction of which is likely to have serious economic, social or ecological consequences, are listed as quarantine pests in the EU. As long-term permanent crops, fruit and viticulture are particularly endangered in regions that are often climatically favored.

Phytosanitary measures aim to prevent the introduction of quarantine pests or to contain them after they occur and prevent their further spread. Monitoring measures are an important component in order to determine the occurrence of such organisms as early as possible and to delimit the infested areas. However, the scope of such official surveillance measures is limited by the high amount of work involved. The results of both projects help to make phytosanitary monitoring measures much more efficient and to check propagation systems for planting material production at the optimal times for the specific diseases.

The fact that phytoplasm, which occurs in alders in Europe and which triggers flavescence dorée on vines, is due to the cicada species from North America Scaphoideus titanus found a perfect vector insect. How this mesalliance is fueling the spread of the disease can be read in this specialist publication: https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1007967

With best regards from the JKI press office

Stefanie Hahn

Press office in Quedlinburg and Braunschweig

Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) - Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants   

Tel. (Qb): 03946/47 - 105 or -102

Tel. (Bs): 0531/299 - 3205 or -3207

E-mail: press office@ julius-kuehn.de


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The Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) brings together 17 specialized institutes at 10 locations in Germany under one roof. The headquarters are in Quedlinburg. Other locations are Braunschweig, Berlin, Kleinmachnow, Dresden, Darmstadt, Dossenheim, Münster, Siebeldingen and Groß Lüsewitz. The Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants is one of four research institutes of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).