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Agriculture - Planting the seeds for sustainable farming and forestry
“To provide EU inspection services with state-of-the-art molecular diagnostics assays for detecting key quarantine pests and pathogens.”

The problem

The introduction of non-indigenous pests and pathogens of plants and plant products into the European Union (EU) can severely impact cross-border trade. The current methods used to detect quarantine organisms have several drawbacks, such as being limited to certain pathogens and being slow or needing bulky equipment. There is a need for a generic, fast and portable tool to detect and identify quarantine pests and pathogens at points of entry.

PORT CHECK  Improved tools for detecting quarantine organisms


PORT CHECK will deliver tools and procedures for the inspection of plant material at points of entry, using the latest molecular diagnostics technology.

The project will:

  • Develop sampling strategies and techniques for extracting nucleic acid from quarantine organisms
  • Develop and evaluate real-time and portable PCR assays for a range of key quarantine organisms, including Phytophthora ramorum, the cause of Sudden Oak Death, and Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (pinewood nematode)
  • Deliver easy-to-use diagnostics technology to end-users and evaluate its use in practice

Contribution to policy development:


  • Directly support the implementation of Directive 2000/29/EC
  • It will do this by providing improved measures to prevent non-indigenous organisms harmful to plants or plant products being introduced into the EU
  • Improve the efficiency of inspection services, thereby reducing the risk arising from introduced pests and pathogens that potentially threaten policy developments in sustainable agriculture

Project deliverables

  • Sampling protocols for key quarantine organisms – March 2006
  • Delivery of nucleic acid extraction device – March 2006
  • Molecular diagnostics assays for key quarantine organisms – March 2006
  • Final protocols for diagnostics kit – March 2007


  • Website – June 2004
  • Publications in scientific and popular press – June 2004
  • Posters, leaflets and brochures – June 2004
  • Progress and final reports – March 2005, March 2006, March 2007
  • Molecular diagnostics protocol booklet – March 2006

Technical information

Project acronym: PORT CHECK
Project’s official full title: Development of generic ‘on site’ molecular diagnostics for EU quarantine pests and pathogens
Research priority: Tools and assessment methods for sustainable agriculture and forestry management
Specific webpage: Details not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 502348
Start date: 01/03/2004
Kick off meeting: March 2004
Completion date: 28/02/2007
European Commission scientific officer: Daniele Tissot (

Name: Central Science Laboratory
Abbreviated name: CSL
Address: Sand Hutton
YO41 1LZ
Country: UK
Tel: +44 1904 462000
Fax: +44 1904 462111


Name: Plant Research International
Abbreviated name: PRI
Country: The Netherlands

Name: Unite Sante Vegetale et Environnement
Abbreviated name: INRA
Country: France

Name: Plant Protection Service
Abbreviated name: PD
Country: The Netherlands

Name: DNA Research Innovations Ltd.
Abbreviated name: DRI
Country: UK

Abbreviated name: BIOREBA
Country: Switzerland

Name: Cepheid Europe s.a.
Abbreviated name: Cepheid Europe
Country: France

Name: Department of Biology, University of Evora
Abbreviated name: UE
Country: Portugal

Name: Instituts für Forstschutz, Bundesamt & Forschungszentrum für Wald
Abbreviated name: BFW
Country: Austria

Name: Unité de Phytopathologie, Unité des Ressources phytogénétiques
Abbreviated name: CRAGx-DLbRp
Country: Belgium

Name: Agricultural Research Centre – Ghent
Abbreviated name: CLO-DGB
Country: Belgium

Name: Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Abbreviated name: DIAS
Country: Denmark

Name: Danish Plant Directorate
Abbreviated name: PDIR
Country: Denmark

Name: Kasvintuotannon Tarkastuskeskus (Plant Protection Inspection Centre)
Abbreviated name: KTTK
Country: Finland

Name: Ministère de l'Agriculture - DRAF /SRPV Bretagne
Abbreviated name: LNPV Nematologie
Country: France 

Name: Pflanzenschutzamt Hannover
Abbreviated name: Pflanzenschutzamt Hannover
Country: Germany

Name: Biologische Bundesanstalt für Land- und Forstwirtschaft
Abbreviated name: BBA
Country: Germany

Name: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Abbreviated name: AUTH
Country: Greece

Name: Istituto Di Virologia Vegetale
Abbreviated name: CNR-IVV
Country: Italy

Name: Settore Fitosanitario – Regione Piemonte
Abbreviated name: SFR-RP
Country: Italy

Name: Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
Abbreviated name: UTAD
Country: Portugal

Name: University of Salamanca
Abbreviated name: USAL
Country: Spain

Name: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Abbreviated name: SLU
Country: Sweden

Name: Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate
Abbreviated name: PHSI
Country: UK

Name: Forest Research
Abbreviated name: FR
Country: UK

Name: Lithuanian Plant Protection Service
Abbreviated name: VAAT
Country: Lithuania

Name: Plant Health Department
Abbreviated name: Plant Health Department
Country: Malta

Name: Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Gdansk
Abbreviated name: IFB
Country: Poland

Name: Phytosanitary Inspection Service
Abbreviated name: IAFHF-PIS
Country: Slovenia

Name: National Institute of Biology
Abbreviated name: NIB
Country: Slovenia

Name: Plant Protection Section, Department of Agriculture
Abbreviated name: Department of Agriculture
Country: Cyprus

Name: The Agricultural Research Institute
Abbreviated name: ARI
Country: Cyprus

Name: L'Agence fédérale pour la Sécurité de la Chaîne alimentaire
Abbreviated name: FASFC
Country: Belgium

Name: Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias
Abbreviated name: IVIA
Country: Spain

Name: Divisão de Identificação e de Bioecologia de Patogéneos
Abbreviated name: DGPC
Country: Portugal

Name: Scottish Agricultural Science Agency
Abbreviated name: SASA
Country: UK

Name: Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department
Abbreviated name: SEERAD
Country: UK

Name: Takara Bio Europe S.A.
Abbreviated name: TAKARA BIO Europe
Country: France