Eutypiose is a grapevine die back disease which has spread through out the European vineyard over the last decade. The causal agent is Eutypa lata (ascomycetum) and seriousness of the disease has been under-estimated since a long incubation period preceed the destruction of the plant (3 to 8 years) and symptoms expression during vegetation, the only available assessment of plant health is dependant on climatic conditions of the bud-burst period. At the moment no curative method has been developed and only prophylactic and preventive control exist.
The project will have as main objectives to (1) develop methods of prophylactic and preventive control to limit spread of the disease; (2) create tool(s) for early detection; (3) improve or create new methods for controling disease including curative one.
Eutypiose is a fungal disease causing die back of grapevine which has spread throughout European vineyards over the last decade. The causal agent is Eutypa lata (ascomycetum) and the only expression of symptons occurs during the bud burst period but these are revealed only if climatic conditions are favourable. No cure exists at present, although preventive control and prophylactic measures are available. Research is underway to: develop methods of prophylactic and preventive control to limit spread of the disease; create tools for early detection; and improve or create new methods for controlling the disease including curative ones.
An observation network to assess the evolution, scale and importance of the disease has been set up covering wine growing areas in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. First results suggest that expression of symptons following bud burst is generally less important in other countries than in France. Experiments conducted on control methods such as cutting down vine stocks and fungicide sprays have demonstrated low efficacy. Research on early detection has been initiated by grafting fungal eutypine toxin on a carrier protein. Antibodies have been obtained but their titres were low. In work on the host parasite relationship, Eutypa lata strains have been selected, one aggressive and the other not. The kinetics of degradation of wood has been studied and related enzymes determined. First results on receptivity to fungal spores, following wood pruning, suggest no difference between vine stocks and that later pruning reduces infectivity. Specific studies have commenced with eutypin toxin and cytological studies have indicated an alteration of chloropasts in diseased plants.
The experiments will include : (1) dissemination of technology and setting up an observation network to assess the scale of the disease (importance and evolution); (2) agronomic experiments to study the modes of expression of symptoms during vegetation (under different climatic conditions) and to define new control; (3) development and dissemination of existing control methods among wine growers; (4) development of an early diagnostic test; (5) and (6) studies on host-parasite relationship (attack and propagation of the fungus in wood) and on Eutypine (toxin synthetized by the fungus).
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