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This project has received funding from the
European Union's Seventh Framework Programme
for research, technological development and
demonstration under grant agreement no 289108


Seed health: development of seed treatment methods, evidence for seed transmission and assessment of seed health

Seed health: development of seed treatment methods, evidence for seed transmission and assessment of seed health

EU FP7 project - started 1 Oct 2012: 40 month duration
Healthy seed are key to high crop yields, underpinning European and global food security. A wide range of diseases and pests are carried by seed and as well as spreading and increasing old problems, new problems may be introduced into the European Community countries via this route.

The TESTA project will develop a range of novel methods to underpin the control of these diseases and pests, including faster, more accurate methods to assess the mode of seed transmission, economic and practical sampling approaches for the detection of low levels in large seed lots, novel and efficient generic detection methodologies, non-destructive testing methods and improved, effective and sustainable disinfection methods. Target crop and disease/pest combinations have been identified in consultation with EPPO, ISHI-ISF and ISTA. Outcomes from the project will include a comprehensive electronic database of seed transmitted diseases and pests, validated detection methods for target species, a validation protocol for assessing the efficacy of disinfection, as well as many key scientific publications. These will provide supporting methods and sources for the EU seed testing laboratories and plant health services.

The consortium comprises experienced researchers who have been involved in key previous research projects funded by the EU and national authorities, representatives of EPPO, ISTA plant health panel and ISHI working groups as well as seed testing laboratories and SMEs involved in seed production. The consortium includes a member from South Africa who is an international expert on seed production in non-EU countries and will provide insight into emerging risks. Involvement of these important players in the management of the project will guarantee that the project plans and outcomes are well-targeted and taken up in a practice so that the project legacy is ensured.

This project will aim to:

  • Enhance the understanding of the biology of seed transmission by developing novel methods based on labelled microorganisms and microscopy.
  • Establish a comprehensive web-based database as a global resource, detailing all known pests and diseases of crop plants transmitted by seed.
  • Develop novel methods for assessing levels of seed transmission and their relevance to disease levels in crops in support of risk assessment.
  • Improve generic sampling methodologies for seed lots to generate representative samples for testing.
  • Establish generic platforms for testing methods for seed
  • Assess the potential for using innovative methods for testing seed
  • Assess the potential for using non-destructive testing methods for seed
  • Validate practical methods for immediate use in regulatory control laboratories
  • Develop novel disinfection methodologies for seed
  • Develop protocols for assessing the proficiency of disinfection methods
  • Disseminate results to National policy stakeholders, testing laboratories and inspection services via websites, workshops, scientific papers and conferences

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