Phytosanitary diagnostic, on-site detection and epidemiology tools for fire blight (PHYTFIRE)


Fire blight is a devastating disease of apples, pears and related ornamental plants. Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of the disease, is a quarantine bacterium in Europe and the long-term control of fire blight still requires the eradication of inoculum reservoirs. The project entitled `Phytosanitary diagnostic, on-site detection and epidemiology tools for E. amylovora (PHYTFIRE) ́ was a three-year project in the frame of the EUPHRESCO-2 action funded by EU FP7 ERA-NET that ran nominally from January 2012 to December 2014. The research aims of the project were the development, adaptation, application and dissemination of innovative phytosanitary tools to fill fundamental research gaps in pathogen detection and epidemiology in order to improve phytosanitary and control strategies against fire blight. Procedures for monitoring of pathogen populations in flowers, vectors and asymptomatic infections, and for pathogen genotyping were to be developed. Deliverables were detailed for each Work Package (WP) and included: 

- development of novel methods and protocols (e.g., SNP genotyping, specific PCR for ‘new’ Erwinia spp., etc.);

- validation of the newly developed diagnostic protocols in a ring test;

- adaptation of existing techniques for phytosanitary applications (e.g., source-tracking, LAMP-PCR, etc.);

- training in fire blight diagnostics at several levels with the ultimate goal of capacity building within a pan-European network of structures to support PPO;

- generation of new epidemiological data




  • Erwinia amylovora


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