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Maitrise de l'esca et respect de l'environnement

Contract nr: FAIR-CT95-0654
Project nr: 654
Project type: SC
Starting date: 01/03/1996
Duration: 42 months
Total cost: 783,000 EUR
EC Contribution: 453,000 EUR
Scientific Officer: Richard HARDWICK
Research topic: Plant health

ESCA is a disease of vinestock wood, which has existed for a long time, but which tends to develop in European vineyards. It attacks the stockwood and kills it in the medium-to-long term in the case of the 'slow' form, and much more quickly in the case of the 'striking down' form. The only effective pesticide is sodium arsenite, a substance discovered in 1926, but its working method is not yet known. This currently essential compound is, however, toxic to man and the environment and, despite precautions in use which limit its residue in the environment, it could be prohibited in the long-term. Such is already the case in Italy. As soon as the treatment stops, development of the disease can be observed. Along with vineyard survival, die-back diseases like ESCA threaten the qualitative potential of vines.

The objective of this project is to provide the scientific and technical base necessary for the development of new environmentally friendly methods to control the disease, and to disseminate them, in order to eliminate the use of sodium arsenite in the vineyard in the long term.

The implementation of this programme will include: an identification of the fungi involved in the syndrome of ESCA; the creation of tools, in particular molecular identification to understand and follow the development of the disease; and preliminary tests to prepare new more environmentally friendly treatment methods (the development of a chemical substitute for sodium arsenite that is less harmful to the environment, and a bio-technological method based on the plant's natural protection system).

Current situation/results:
The research has been achieved. The main fungi involved in ESCA disease have been identified. No differences have been found in fungi species present either in different vineyards, or in different forms of the disease. Likewise, no difference was found resulting from the use of sodium arsenite. Preliminary results on the biology of Phaeoacremonium, one of the fungus genus involved in the disease, have been obtained. A strain collection has been achieved and the genetic variability of the fungi involved has been studied through RAPD techniques. A PCR test for Eutypa lata detection has been established. Biological tests have been set to evaluate the aggressiveness of fungal strains, and several toxins, released by these fungi have been identified. On the other hand, the study of the sodium asenite working mechanism has shown the presence of arsenic in grapevine sap, even in untreated plants, but the concentration in the berries is insignificant, even in treated plants. Preliminary data on the use of molecular tools for improving grapevine tolerance to ESCA and grey mould have been obtained.

LVMH R GIEE - Groupement Interêt Economique
Moet et Chandon
Avenue de Champagne 20
F-51333 Epernay Cedex
Tel.: +33 3 26 51 23 26
Fax: +33 3 26 51 20 11


  • Bernadette DUBOS
    I.N.R.A. - Centre de Recherches de Bordeaux
    Av. Edouard Bourleaux
    B.P. 81
    F-33883 Villenave d'Ornon
    Tel.: +33 5 56 84 32 07
    Fax: +33 5 56 84 32 22
  • Raffaele TABACCHI
    Université de Neuchatel
    Av. de Bellevaux 51
    CH-2000 Neuchatel
    Tel.: +41 38 23 24 29
    Fax: +41 38 23 25 11
  • Marco BISIACH
    Università Degli Studi di Milano
    Via G. Celoria 2
    I-20133 Milano
    Tel.: +39 02 236 24 18
    Fax: +39 02 70 63 12 87
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