PLANT PATHOLOGY LABORATORY

The plant pathology laboratory is equipped to receive and maintain plant material in isolation for the identification and diagnosis of vegetable and fruit crop diseases, caused by viruses, virus-like, bacteria, fungi, phytoplasmas, insects, mites and nematodes, included in quarantine and non-quarantine lists, in compliance with technical protocols recognised at national and European level (EPPO standards, IPPC-ISPMs) and updated in line with technological advances and relevant official validations.

The laboratory is divided into 5 operational units:

  • Quarantine
  • Virology
  • Micology
  • Nematology
  • Bacteriology

Analysis

The laboratory is approved  by Regione Puglia for disease diagnostic testing and the characterisation of causal agents via isolation techniques on artificial substrates, serological (ELISA, DTBIA) and molecular assays (molecular hybridisation, PCR, real-time PCR, real-time LAMP).

The following activities are carried out in the laboratory:

  • Development and validation of techniques for the diagnosis and assessment of the health status of plant material coming from different Mediterranean countries, as support to international cooperation projects;
  • Studies for the molecular characterisation of the major or newly reported pathogens;
  • Development of innovative methods for post-harvest control of pathogens, studies on host/pathogen/vector interactions and studies on the transmission and spread of quarantine pathogens and of their vectors;
  • Characterisation and conservation of fungal and bacterial collections for comparative studies.

 

Main instruments

Nucleic acids extractor
Autoclave for sterilisation
Laminar flow hood
Microscopes ad binoculars
Low and high-speed ultracentrifuges
Refrigerated benchtop centrifuges
Density gradient fractionator
Electrophoresis power supply
Gel electrophoresis display
Thermocyclers for PCR, Real-time PCR, RT LAMP (smart, ICgen…)
Hybridization oven
Incubators
Passive cooling experimental chamber for post-harvest tests
Ozone generator connected to passive cooling chamber
Incubators

 

Geomatics Laboratory

The laboratory is equipped to support training, research and early diagnosis of large-scale infections and  the smart phytosanitary management of agricultural and natural resources. The products and services developed integrate mapping and traditional monitoring/surveillance systems with geomatic and high technology information methodologies based on the Global Positioning System, remote sensing, management and spatial modeling using GIS, and networked sensors.

Analysis

The following activities are performed in the laboratory:

  • processing and analysis of vector and raster data
  • development of script sources and spatial models using Image processing and Spatial analysis software (Autocad MAP 3D, ArcMap, GRASS, LizMap, ERDAS Imagine, ENVI, eCognition, Matlab, LEICA Geo Office, Android Studio, Intel XDK, etc.) that enable the implementation of applications and maps
  • basic and multivariate statistical analysis to discriminate the reflectance and hyperspectral vegetation indices correlated to phytopathology (ViewSpecPro, Statistica, etc..).

Main instruments

  • stereoscopic workstations
  • spectroradiometers (FielSpec HandHeld and FieldSpec 3, ASD)
  • sub-centimeter total GPS station (LEICA RX1250)
  • DGPS portable receivers (Magellan MobileMapper CX)
  • thermal infrared camera NEC TH7800
  • smart devices (android and iOS)
  • A0 map plotter.

 

a) FieldSpec® 3 ASD (range spettrale 350-1830 nm) and b) HandHeld ASD (range spettrale 325-1075 nm)
Total GPS station Leica RX 1250
XylApp application developed for tablet android, aimed to monitoring Xylella fastidiosa in Puglia

 

In vitro culture laboratory

The laboratory is equipped for the sanitation and propagation of plant healthy material via in vitro culture techniques (micropropagation, meristem-tip culture, micrografting, and somatic embryogenesis).

Main instruments

  • Temperature-controlled cabinets for in vitro plant growth
  • Atmospheric moisture-controlled cabinets for heat treatment
  • Laminar flow hood
  • Autoclave

 

Teaching laboratory

The laboratory is primarily intended for training purposes for the students of the Master of Science course of “Sustainable Integrated Pest Management Technologies For Mediterranean Fruit and Vegetable Crops”. It is supplied with large benches, equipment and apparatuses (chemical fume hood, microscopes, stereo-microscopes, etc.) used to carry out experimental activities for teaching and demonstration purposes.  Video projection system for on-screen display of tests is also available.

 

 

Experimental fields

Greenhouses, shades and insect-proof screenhouses

The IPM sector is provided with a climate-controlled greenhouse,  insect-proof screenhouses and shades, mother blocks (varietal collections of healthy and infected plants of citrus, stone fruit and pome fruit crops, grapevine, olive and fig trees). Main activities include :

  • Biological testing (transmission by grafting onto woody indicators and mechanical transmission to herbaceous indicators), including the production of indicator plants;
  • Conservation of primary sources included in the certification scheme of Regione Puglia, and of sources sanitised within national and international cooperation projects;
  • Conservation of collections of infected plants for scientific use and research;
  • Acclimatation of material sanitised by in vitro techniques.

 

Photos

Temperature-controlled greenhouse split in different boxes at different temperatures
Heated tunnel for the production of citrus plant indicators
Insect-proof screenhouses for the conservation of healthy germplasm of citrus, stone and pome fruits
Insect-proof screenhouses for the conservation of infected plants
Shades for the production of stone fruit indicator plants and for the acclimatation of in vitro sanitised citrus plants
Shades for the conservation of grapevine infected plants
Fields covered with insect-proof nets for growing of citrus, grapevine, stone and pome fruit indicator mother plants