Biotechnological Hub of the NIB (BTH-NIB)

The purpose of the investment project BTH-NIB is the assurance of the appropriate infrastructural conditions for the use of research and developmental opportunities in the fields of operation of the NIB.

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Discovery and water-linked epidemiology of emergent tobamoviruses infecting crops

Project coordinator: Asist. prof. dr. Nataša Mehle

Code: L4-3179

Duration: 1.10.2021 - 30.9.2024.

Numerous disease and pests globally endanger plant production. Among them, plant viruses can cause significant yield losses for crops worldwide. Over the last decade, two emerging species, tomato mottle mosaic virus (ToMMV), and tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), of the Tobamovirus genus have raised concern in agriculture due to some devastating losses they caused in solanaceous crops in many countries worldwide. Due to their physical and biological properties, tobamoviruses can spread rapidly and have high epidemic potential. In addition, there is the constant danger of the emergence of new tobamovirus species, and this requires frequent evaluation of detection and identification methods and their harmonization with the latest findings. The main objective of the project is to expand the knowledge on the epidemiology and behaviour of these important plant pathogens, and to devise novel efficient strategies for plant protection through prevention and improved diagnostics.

To achieve it, we will address important research questions concerning emergence, epidemiology and diagnostics of tobamoviruses we defined as our specific aims:

Ø  to prepare a curated catalogue of sequences of possible new tobamoviruses by scanning a large accumulated set of data from different metagenomics data repositories. These genomic data will enable better preparedness in case of future emergence of these viruses as crop pathogens.

Ø  To determine stability of emerging tobamoviruses in water and the possibility of their transmission through water, elucidating the role of water-linked epidemiology of emergent tobamoviruses that infect crops, importantly informing future risk assessment studies and management practice strategies.

Ø  To develope and validate reliable, efficient, fast and easy-to-use diagnostic procedures for monitoring of emergent tobamoviruses in water samples.

The project received funding as small applied project by Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS). Co-financers of the project, besides ARRS, are Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MKGP) and BIA d.o.o.

Partners in the project are National Institute of Biology (Slovenia), University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Computer and Information Science (Slovenia) and BIA d.o.o (Slovenia). We will cooperate with CREA (Italy).

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