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Development of diagnostic methods and a rapid field kit for monitoring Monilinia brown rot of stone and pome fruit, especially M. fructicola

Contract nr: FAIR-CT95-0725
Project nr: 725
Project type: SC
Starting date: 01/02/1996
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: 1,539,300 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,001,600 EUR
Scientific Officer: Richard HARDWICK
Research topic: Plant health

Three species of Monilinia are currently recognised as causal agents of the brown rot of primarily Prunus spp. (stone fruit), Malus and Pyrus (pome fruit). There is also a potential for M. fructicola to infect Vitis. Of the three well-known species, M. laxa and M. fructigena occur widely in the EU, whilst M. fructicola is an EU quarantine-listed organism because it poses a significant phytosanitary risk both at both pre- and post-harvest. It occurs in a large number of countries which export fruit and there are unconfirmed reports of it from Spain and Egypt.

The objective of this project is to prevent the introduction of the EU quarantine-listed organism, Monilinia fructicola, into the EU by improving monitoring procedures which will cause minimum disruption to the free movement of fruit and planting material of Prunus, Malus, and Pyrus spp.

The programme of work includes a standard laboratory method for the identification of Monilinia spp.: (1) the investigation of genetic diversity at the molecular level and clarification of the taxonomy of Monilinia spp. causing serious economic damage to stone and pome fruit; (2) the production of genus and species monoclonal antibodies for Monilinia spp.; (3) the development of a rapid, robust, user-friendly detection and identification kit which can be used in a concerted effort to: (i) monitor imported fruits at the point of entry into the EU for the presence of Monilinia spp., especially M. fructicola (ii) improve methods of forecasting crop losses by accurate monitoring of pre- and post-harvest levels of Monilinia spp. on stone and pome fruit throughout the EU.

Current situation/results:

A simple identification key for M. fructicola, M. fructigena, M. laxa was produced, based on the most discriminatory cultural characters.

The genetic diversity of Monilinia brown rot isolates has been completed, including the recognition of a possible new species from Japan related to M. fructigena.
Monoclonal antibodies were raised to all three species and to the genus. A rapid (three- hour) laboratory diagnostic kit was developed for screening cultures and fruits.

Istituto Sperimentale per la Patologia Vegetale
Cryptogamic diseases Section
Via C. G. Bertero 22
I-00156 ROMA
Tel.: +39 06 82 07 03 53
Fax: +39 06 86 80 22 96


  • Roger COOK
    MAFF - Central Science Laboratory (CSL)
    Sand Hutton
    UK-YO4 1LZ York
    Tel.: +44 1904 46 23 27
    Fax: +44 1904 46 21 11

  • Hendrikus Antonius VAN KESTEREN
    Plant Protection Service
    Geertjesweg 15
    P.O. Box 9102
    NL-6700 HC Wageningen
    Tel.: +31 317 49 68 32
    Fax: +31 317 42 17 01

  • Paloma MELGAREJO
    Ctra. de la Coruna Km. 7
    E-28040 MADRID
    Tel.: +34 91 47 68 46
    Fax: +34 91 357 22 93

  • Averil BROWN
    The Queen's University of Belfast
    New forge Lane 18 A
    UK-BT9 5PX Belfast
    Tel.: +44 1232 25 52 62
    Fax: +44 1232 66 83 75

  • Stephen Jeffrey HOLMES
    Adgen Diagnostic Systems
    Nellies Gate
    UK-KA6 5HW Auchincruive - Ayr
    Tel.: +44 1292 52 52 75
    Fax: +44 1292 52 54 77

  • Ana Maria Nazare PEREIRA
    Universidade de Tras-Os-Montes e Alto Douro
    Quinta de Prados
    P.O. Box 202
    P-5000 Vila Real
    Tel.: +351 25 932 05 06
    Fax: +351 25 935 04 80

  • Carmine NOVIELLO
    Università di Napoli Federico II
    Dip. di Arboricoltura, Botanica e Patologia Vegetale
    Via Universita' 100
    I-80055 Portici (Napoli)
    Tel.: +39 081 77 55 142
    Fax: +39 081 77 55 114

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