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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

Work Package Leaders

Work Package Leaders will monitor progress of all activities towards the objectives of their Work Packages and will take any operational decisions regarding the Work Package day to day management.

WP1 - Seed transmission of plant pathogens (Dr Marie-Agnes Jacques, INRA)

WP1 will update the current knowledge on seed transmission by mining the literature on seed transmission and collating this knowledge to the disseminated as an updated annotated list to be made available on the ISTA website (through WP6)

Research will be carried out to establish the relationship between the levels of contamination of crops growing in the field and the level of resulting seed contamination in lots. The relationship between levels of seed contamination in lots and the level of resulting crop infection will also be assessed. This work will be carried out in field trials. The information collected from this study will be of value for the development of sampling plans and detection methods in WPs 2, 3 and 5.

Detailed studies on the mechanism of transmission from plant to seed and seed to plant will be carried out in the laboratory using marked strains of the pathogens. These studies will provide information of value to the disinfection studies in WP4 and detection method development in WPs 3 and 5.

WP2 - Sampling strategies (Valerie Cockerell, SASA)

WP2 - Sampling strategies (Valerie Cockerell, SASA)

Valerie Cockerell. Chief Officer - Official Seed Testing Station, Scotland
Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA)

I have 35 years’ experience of seed testing and seed pathology, particularly development and validation of seed health tests, and epidemiology and control of seed-borne pathogens of cereals. As Head of the Official Seed Testing Station for Scotland I provide expertise and training for UK training of seed samplers and seed analysts. My laboratory is accredited to ISTA for seed sampling and I have the responsibility for sampler monitoring. I was a member (including Chair 2004-2007) of the ISTA Seed Health Committee from 1998 to 2013 when I was involved with the introduction of the ISTA Method Validation programme for Seed Health Testing.

WP3 - Generic platform- improved detection/diagnostics (Dr Peter Bonants, PRI)

WP3 will develop novel methods for the detection of pathogens. The main thrust of the WP will be to develop novel generic detection methods based on multiplex technology and new sequencing technology. However, methodology for DNA/RNA extraction and real time PCR will also de developed within WP3 and then validates in WP5.

As some seed lots are particularly valuable or small, e.g. breeding lots, the use of nucleic acid based methods is not very suitable and therefore within Task 3.5 non-destructive methods based on light reflection will be investigated.

WP4 - Disinfection methods (Dr Davide Spadaro, UNITO)


Established at the University of Torino in 2002, the Centre of Competence for the innovation in the agro-environmental field, carries out basic and applied research, knowledge and technology transfer, life-long learning and communication on up-to-date topics in the agro-environmental and agro-food sectors. It has several national and international collaborations, with public Institutions and the private sector. The Centre has extensive facilities including laboratories, experimental fields and greenhouses and hosts two National Certified laboratories, one for testing agrochemicals efficacy, the second for Diagnostics of plant pathogens.

Progress overview:

As the first of the accomplished activities, protocols for evaluating the performance of the tested disinfection methods were defined on the suitable methodology for each chosen pathosystem. Adaptation of physical methods for seed disinfection have included the evaluation of traditional technologies (seed immersion in hot water and hot air exposure) and aerated steam (ThermoSeedTM) mainly against Dithylenchus dipsaci on alfalfa, Fusarium fujikuroi on rice, and Alternaria spp. on basil and rocket. The use of microorganisms for disinfection have included the application of Pseudomonas synxantha against Xanthomonas vesicatoria on tomato and pepper, and Acidovorax citrulli on cucurbits, a bacteriophage against Xanthomonas euvesicatoria, and several strains of Pseudomonas spp. against Fusarium oxysporum on leafy vegetables and Alternaria spp. on basil, rocket, and carrot. The use of plant extracts for disinfection have included the application of a commercial plant polyphenol against X. vesicatoria and X. euvesicatoria on tomato and pepper, and A. citrulli on cucurbits, and the application of the essential oils from savory and thyme as seed treatments against F. oxysporum on leafy vegetables and Alternaria spp. on basil, rocket and carrot. At this point, selection of the most effective methods for seed disinfection is going on, the current activities are now addressed to method validation for configuring the choice of the proper disinfection method for each evaluated pathosystem.

Upcomig events:

Dissemination activity in italian:
“Incontri Fitoiatrici 2015”
March 27th 2015. (Turin, Italy)
Info: +39.011.670.8884 -

WP5 - Validation of detection methods (Dr Michel Ebskamp, NAKT)

WP5 will validate a range of detection methods. This will include methods developed prior to the TESTA project and those developed within WP3

Some of the methods developed will be for quarantine organisms and these will be assessed for suitability for use as EPPO diagnostic protocols within the framework of this project and disseminated through the EPPO website (see WP6). Other non-quarantine protocols will be adopted by ISTA or ISF-ISHI and disseminated through their websites (see WP6).

WP6 - Dissemination (Prof. Terry Aveling, University of Pretoria)

Outputs from the project will be disseminated through the project website.

Diagnostic protocols will be disseminated through the EPPO, ISTA and ISF-ISHI websites. Sampling tools and protocols will be disseminated via ISTA. Workshops/training courses will be run to allow dissemination of the methods to government and industry laboratories.

Scientific knowledge will be disseminated through scientific publications, conference presentations and through the new annotated list on the ISTA website.

WP7 - Management (Christine Henry. Fera)

WP7 is concerned with the overall management of the project and is led by the project coordinator FERA. This WP will ensure the efficient overall scientific and financial management of the project. This will include risk management, management of IP issues through a consortium agreement, overall management of dissemination, gender issues and meetings.