Institute of Plant Virology

The Institute was founded on January 22nd 2001 with measure n. 015771 by CNR President.

The activities are divided into four research lines:

1.Problems about plant viruses and virus-like pathogens (viroids and phytoplasmas) studied by means of :

(i)  Basic research (Identification, classification, biological and molecular characterization of phytopathogen agents, genomic expression, synthesis and use of biologically active transcripts, expression of recombinant proteins, plants transformation by Agrobacterium sp., etc.)

(ii)   Applied studies (Epidemiological mapping, carriers biology, infection sources, pathogens natural cycle, elaboration of infection estimating models, quarantine questions, etc.)

2.Improvement of virological diagnostics by monoclonal and policlonal antibodies. Preparation of serological, immunoenzymatic and immunochromatographic  diagnostic kits and their targeted use for particular needs; improvement of molecular diagnostic methods (nucleic acids hybridization, PCR, real time PCR, etc.), of immuno labelling and of immuno electron microscopy.

 3.Improvement  of sanitary condition of frutescent species, wood species (grapevine and fruit trees) and herbaceous ones (such as crops, flower plants and ornamental plants) by means of: clonal and sanitary selection, infectious clone cure using laboratory methods, sanitary control of reproductive materials with serological and molecular methods, and traditional bio-samples. Measures of prophylaxis are also applied.

4.Testing of ecological methods in order to protect crops from viral and phytoplasmas infections. Finding of resistance characters to the infections to introduce them in cultivated species using conventional and non conventional methods. Research about the use of genetic engineering to induce resistance in cultivated species by viral genes introduction (pathogen induced resistance).

 

The effects of these researches are contracts and conventions  signed with public and private boards. They mainly concern phytosanitary  controls  of crops or reproduction materials, and they involve Regional and Provincial Administrations, Mountains Communities, farmers associations, seeds companies, etc.

The Institute also offers advisory services to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MiPAF: for example, the plan of action to control the grapevine Flavescence dorée and to remove the Pepino Mosaic Virus ) and to the Phytopathological Services of several Italian Regions ( for example, in checking propagation material for presence of viruses).

The Institute offers training to phytosanitary officers, young graduates and agriculturalists by means of courses, seminars and visits of the Institute.

Many researchers of the Institute teach courses at university and are involved in popularization activities for Public Agencies in the agricultural field, Schools and Associations of  farmers.