Important legal notice
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“To identify the risks and develop effective measures to counter the threat of crop bioterror through the deliberate introduction of pathogens to agricultural crops.”

The problem

Potentially, plant pathogens represent strategic economic weapons that could cause an economically disastrous disease outbreak among commercial crops. This would require high-cost disease management and could result in reduced yield and quality, disruption to trade, possibly including trade embargoes, lost markets, higher food prices and specific food shortages. To counter this threat, it is necessary to assess the risk posed to European agriculture by new pathogens, races, or bio-types emerging or introduced (either by accident or design), and to develop measures to identify, contain and eradicate such pathogens.

CROP BIOTERROR  Preventing epidemics among agricultural crops from deliberately introduced pathogens


CROP BIOTERROR will establish a network of expert laboratories. Participants will:

  • Prepare a list of pathogens that pose a high-risk to European crops and a list of crops that are most vulnerable to pathogenic attack
  • Standardised protocols for assessing the risk of epidemics once a pathogen has been introduced and to establish phyto-sanitary and quarantine controls
  • Develop improved surveillance procedures and early warning systems
  • Prioritise fields and areas where more research is needed and suggest future investment needs
  • Raise public awareness and encourage readiness to meet the potential threat of crop bio-security and crop bio-terrorism

Contribution to policy development:

  • CROP BIOTERROR will inform the development of scientifically robust policies and countermeasures to meet threats from bio-terrorism.
  • The project will highlight the advantages to be gained from preparedness that is based on early detection, rapid diagnosis and effective recovery.
  • The active participation of an experienced partner from the USA will facilitate developing EU policies that are mutually supportive and compatible.
  • It will identify key gaps in scientific knowledge to assist policy-makers in prioritising future research requirements.

Project deliverables

  • List of pathogens and crop at risk – Month 9
  • Project workshops – Month 15, 24, 33
  • Report on varieties of crops resistant to pathogens posing potential risk – Month 15
  • Report on protocols for diagnosis, eradication and containment of pathogens – Month 30
  • Report on classification of epidemiological characteristics for assessing pathogenic risk –
    Month 36
  • Recommendations for action, including research priorities, by EU – Month 36


Access to sensitive and commercially confidential information will be restricted to project participants or approved collaborators.

  • Regular updating of project website – Ongoing
  • Workshop reports – Month 15, 24, 33
  • International symposium – Month 36
  • Publication of scientific findings in international peer-reviewed journals – Month 36
  • Final report to EU with recommendations and priority research areas – Month 36

Technical information

Project acronym: CROP BIOTERROR
Project’s official full title: Crop and Food Bio-security, and Provision of the Means to Anticipate and Tackle Crop Bio-terrorism
Research priority: 2.7. Issues related to civil protection (including biosecurity and protection against risks arising from terrorist attacks), and crisis management
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 6403
Start date: 01/02/2004
Kick off meeting: Month 1
Completion date: Month 36
European Commission scientific officer: Arne Flaoyen,

Name: Prof Maria Lodovica Gullino 
University of Torino
Abbreviated name: UNITO
Address: Centre of Competence for the Innovation in the Agro-Environmental Sector
Via Leonardo da Vinci, 44, 10095 Grugliasco, Torino
Country: Italy
Tel: +39 011 670 8539  
Fax: +39 011 670 9307


Name: Institut National Recherche Agronomique, Rennes
Abbreviated name: INRA
Country: France

Name: University of Bonn
Abbreviated name: UNIBONN
Country: Germany

Name: National Institute of Agricultural Botany
Abbreviated name: NIAB
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Central Science Laboratory
Abbreviated name: CSL
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Agricultural Research Center, Volani
Abbreviated name: ARO
Country: Israel

Name: The Regional Environmental Centre for Central & Eastern Europe, Budapest
Abbreviated name: REC
Country: Hungary

Name: Kansas State University
Abbreviated name: KSU
Country: USA