New biological control agents against European fruit tree canker disease (Neonectria ditissima) in apple: from microbiome analysis towards product development

    Project: EU research project

    Project Details


    Neonectria ditissima is the causal agent of European fruit tree canker, one of the most devastating apple diseases in Europe. This pathogen causes cankers on apple twigs, branches and main stem, which may lead the loss of the whole tree. While chemical control is the essential component in the management of this disease, no suitable biocontrol products are commercially available against N. ditissima. Following the commitment of the European Union to prefer sustainable biological methods in integrated pest management strategies (Directive 2009/128/EC), BioNeedit will contribute in the development of a new biocontrol product to control European fruit tree canker disease. To achieve this objective, potential antagonistic microorganisms against N. ditissima will be selected i) based on the beneficial role of the microbiome found in N. ditissima infected and healthy tissues of apple trees, ii) through a systematic stepwise antagonist screening program, iii) testing the antagonist behaviour of the microorganisms against N. ditissima in a robust and cost-effective bioassay in planta and iv) evaluating the up-scaled biomass production of the selected antagonists. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that the selected microorganisms will not only have antagonistic properties, but will also fulfil the basic criteria regarding commercial production, safety and registration of plant protection products, as well as the ecological needs for the applications on the field. This approach will also overcome major constrains in the development of a biocontrol product and will reduce additional costs on its registration procedure. BioNeedit will mean a step forward in my career, broadening my existing Plant Pathology expertise and providing me new training in Biological Control. This project will expand my international network to a large group of active scientists and a biocontrol company that will help me to consolidate a position as a mature researcher in academia and/or industry
    Effective start/end date1/04/1931/03/21