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Development of new strategies for resistance engineering in transgenic potato towards Ralstonia (Pseudomonas) solanacearum and Erwinia carotovora

Contract nr: FAIR-CT97-3676
Project nr: 3676
Project type: SC
Starting date: 01/02/1998
Duration: 48 months
Total cost: 1,556,281 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,360,000 EUR
Scientific Officer: Richard HARDWICK
Research topic: Plant health

Erwinia carotovora and Ralstonia (Pseudomonas) solanacearum are major bacterial pathogens of potato and other important plant species. Disease can occur in the field (E.carotovora and R.solanacearum) and also during storage (E.carotovora).

R.solanacearum, causing bacterial wilt in potato, is a quarantine phytopathogen in the EU. The problem is especially difficult in case of R.solanacearum because of its many host plants. Black leg and soft rot, the diseases caused by E.carotovora, pose a serious problem in Europe in potato production. Highly sophisticated technical measures allow planting, harvesting and storage of potatoes under optimum conditions. However, export of seed potatoes, which is a major commercial application, is strongly affected by occurrence of the pathogen.

Topic 4.4.1. of the FAIR work programme addresses plant health with a strong focus on quarantine pathogens.

The objective of the project is the development of new, highly innovative and specific - as well as efficient - resistance strategies towards Erwinia carotovora and Ralstonia solanacearum targeted at the interaction with specific signalling molecules in the plant-pathogen-interaction. Classical breeding techniques cannot be successful because of the lack of resistance traits, but for the first time, genetic engineering allows efficient resistance breeding. The approaches chosen are highly innovative and straightforward.

This project gathers all those scientific groups in Europe that are specialised in - and provide excellent experience of - the different aspects of the experimental work necessary to achieve the aim of the strategy. The application of a set of different scientific technologies and the dedication of all groups to one central problem and goal, assembling the experience of six groups to make a broad, interacting research team guarantees highest possible efficiency for the project.

Current situation/results:
The performance of this project was severely affected initially by late issue of the contract by the EU Commission. Although good progress was made in the first year, the project suffered another major drawback as the second instalment was not paid by the Commission until March 2000. As a result, the consortium ran out of money in the second year. Therefore, the experimental work could not progress as scheduled. After settlement of the financial matters, the experimental programme will be continued in a revised schedule.


Universitaet Hohenheim
Institut für Phytomedizin (360)
Otto-Sander-Str. 5
D-70599 Stuttgart
Tel.: +49 711 459 23 87
Fax: +49 711 459 24 08

Technical coordinator:

MPB Cologne GmbH
Neurather Ring 1
D-51063 Koeln
Tel.: +49 221 647 010
Fax: +49 221 647 01 99


  • George P.C. SALMOND
    University of Cambridge
    Department of Biochemistry
    Tennis Court Road
    UK-CB2 1QW Cambridge
    Tel.: +44 1223 33 36 50
    Fax: +44 1223 33 33 45

  • Barrie Walsham BYCROFT
    University of Nottingham
    Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
    University Park
    UK-NG7 2RD Nottingham
    Tel.: +44 1159 51 51 01
    Fax: +44 1159 51 50 49

  • Sjefke ALLEFS
    Agrico Research b.v.
    P.O. Box 40
    NL-8300 AA Emmeloord
    Tel.: +31 527 26 14 41
    Fax: +31 527 26 14 44

  • Eckhard TACKE
    Bioplant GmbH
    Brüggerfeld 10
    D-29574 Ebstorf
    Tel.: +49 5822 93 33
    Fax: +49 5822 93 34
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