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Verticillium wilt in tree species; a Concerted Action for developing innovative and environmentally sound control strategies

Contract nr: FAIR-CT96-2015
Project nr: 2015
Project type: CA
Starting date: 01/01/1997
Duration: 24 months
Total cost: 117,000 EUR
EC Contribution: 117,000 EUR
Scientific Officer: Arnaud BORCHARD
Research topic: Plant health
Acronym: Verticillium wilt in trees

The soil-borne fungus Verticillium dahliae causes disease in a wide range of plants including annual crop species such as cotton, potato, tomato, and strawberry, as well as perennial species among which are many shade and fruit trees. V. dahliae is widely distributed in Europe. In the Mediterranean area the culture of olive, stone-fruits and pistachio is threatened; in north-western Europe verticillium wilt is an important problem in the cultivation of nursery stock of shade and ornamental trees, especially maple species.
Plant resistance is probably the best control for woody hosts but resistance must be found first and the ways of using it must be developed. In order to develop a full range of integrated approaches to disease management, research is required into aspects of resistance, risk assessment, epidemiology and biocontrol. Integration of the results will enable the development of innovative and environmentally sound control strategies.

This Concerted Action contributes to the objectives addressed by concertation in Area 6 by coordinating research in Area 4 (agriculture, forestry and rural development) of the programme. It mainly concerns the topic areas Plant health (441) and Agriculture-environment interactions (412), although the research is also related to Areas 432 (Biomass production) and 453 (Forest conservation and protection). The proposal involves eight research groups from five EU Member States.

The general objectives are: 1. Coordination of European research on verticillium wilt in tree species; 2. Developing innovative and environmentally sound control strategies; 3. Preparation of a compendium on verticillium wilt in tree species; 4. Compiling a proposal for shared cost research. The structural philosophy of the project is to bring together the eight participating groups, currently working on several aspects of Verticillium wilt in different member countries, and is aimed at interchanging ideas and scientific knowledge, and fostering a standardisation of methods and promoting future cooperation on the basis of a SC project. During the three meetings which have been planned over a two-year period, a compendium on verticillium wilt in trees and also an RTD-proposal will be prepared. The research activities that will be co-ordinated include three main research areas: 1. Identification of resistant germ plasm; 2. Improving pre-planting risk assessment procedures; 3. Epidemiological aspects related to biological control. Within these three research areas, 12 research tasks have been identified. Integration of the results from the three research areas with present information will prepare the basis for developing innovative and environmentally sound control strategies.

Current situation/results:
The CA was completed on 31 December 1998. Substantial progress has been made in the exchange of information and the co-ordination of research. This has resulted in "A compendium on verticillium wilts in tree species" (Hiemstra and Harris (eds.), 1998) and a successful RTD-proposal submitted to the first call of FP5.
The Compendium summarises all available information on verticillium wilt in trees. The book is available free of charge from the co-ordinator or from participants in the CA.
The RTD proposal (Verticillium wilt in tree species; developing essential elements for integrated and innovative management strategies) has been accepted for financing by the Commission under nr. QLK5-1999-01523. The main research themes are: (1) Pathogen variability, (2) Host resistance, and (3) Detection and risk assessment. The project started on 1 March 2000. It has ten participants; the eight groups from the CA and, in addition, IOR from Poland and SLU from Sweden. The co-ordinator is the same as for the CA.

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  • Epaminondas PAPLOMATAS
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    University of Bari
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