Research Program

Phytopathology and Biorational Control

The ‘Phytopathology and Biorational Control’ research program focuses on epidemiology, diagnosis and control of plant pathogens for the benefit of the horticultural industry. Through close collaborations with growers, auctions, seed and agrochemical industries, horticultural research stations and universities, locally as well as internationally, our team works towards professional advice and practical solutions for plant disease problems.

The core purpose of this research program is to study the epidemiology, population dynamics, virulence, aggressiveness and behavior of plant pathogens in relationship to their hosts and to their environment, and to exploit this knowledge for the development of reliable, sustainable and ecologically sound disease management strategies that are compatible with today’s high-tech horticultural crop production systems. The continuous emergence of new diseases, enhanced by increasing global trade, combined with a decreasing availability of authorized pesticides, urges the development of such innovative disease management tools.

Research and consulting - topics

  • Development of molecular diagnostic tools for accurate and fast identification of viral, fungal and bacterial plant pathogens
  • Characterisation of current plant virus problems in greenhouse crops, with a focus on Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) in greenhouse tomato
  • Development of bioassays to screen plant materials for susceptibility to viral and viroid pathogens and to evaluate the virulence and aggressiveness of different isolates
  • Study the importance of environmental factors in plant virus interactions and disease development
  • Biological control of root knot nematodes in ornamental plants through root colonization by beneficial fungi
  • Verify the efficiency of novel, environmentally sound (biological) disease control products

Click here for a list of related publications.