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Harmonized protocol for monitoring and detection of Xylella fastidiosa in its host plants and its vectors (PROMODE)

Saponari, Maria; Gottsberger, Richard; Maes, Martine; Dimitrova, Elka; Križanac, Ivana; Olivier, Valérie; Jacques, Marie-Agnès; Müller, Petra; Fraser, Karen; Ambrus, Agner; Melika, George; Loreti, Stefania; Bergsma-Vlami, Maria; Bonants, Peter; Sá Pereira, Paula; Kornev, Konstantin; Dreo, Tanja; Landa, Blanca; Matoušková, Hana; D'Onghia, Anna Maria; Balestra, Giorgio Mariano; Fatmi, M'Barek; Kałużna, Monika; Lin, Hong; Krugner, Rodrigo; Cara, Magdalena

The PROMODE project workplan was developed to achieve two goals: (i) to strengthten/build the capacity of the laboratories working on the diagnosis of plant pathogens and (ii) to improve the performance (such as reliability and sensitivity) of the diagnostic tests used for the detection and identification of X. fastidiosa in host plants and insect vectors. In order to avoid duplication of efforts, the PROMODE network had set relevant collaborations with the EU-funded consortia of POnTE (GA 635646) and XF-ACTORS (GA 727987), whose research activities were also focused on the same pathogen. Three main actions were undertaken during the PROMODE project lifespan:

  • To support the organization of laboratory training courses through which trainees could get hands-on practise on different diagnostic protocols;
  • To organize proficiency tests and test performance studies, to gather data on the proficiency of the laboratories involved in the official monitoring program as well as to assess the performance criteria of the different diagnostic tests available.
  • To improve specific aspects of the diagnostic protocols: i.e. use of novel approaches like digital PCR, LAMP or HTS, and to validate the use of reliable internal controls.

Four distinct training courses were organized and three large interlaboratory validations were carried out. Useful information on the most suitable diagnostic tests for the rapid detection of the bacterium in different plant matrices was obtained, as well as data on the detection limit of the different tests. The test performance studies carried out within PROMODE implemented the availability of supporting validation data for the diagnostic tests nowadays included in the EPPO Diagnostic Protocol for X. fastidiosa (EPPO 7/24). With regard to the development of novel diagnostic tests, partners of PROMODE successfully demonstrated the possibility to detect the bacterium in the host plants by digital PCR, HTS, and triplex real-time PCR.

The PROMODE network was actively involved in numerous dissemination events, among which the most relevant was the co-organization of the first European Conference on Xylella fastidiosa, held in November 2017 in Palma de Mallorca (Spain).

Report of the Euphresco project 2015-F-146 'Harmonized protocol for monitoring and detection of Xylella fastidiosa in its host plants and its vectors (PROMODE)'
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