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New EU FP7 project: TESTA

Application of VideometerLab for fast and non-destructive screening of seeds for pathogens.


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. There are currently opportunities to improve seed quality control by implementing emerging novel methodologies. 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.

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