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Epidemiology and population structure of Cryphonectria parasitica and associated Cryphonectria hypoviruses in the Balkans

English title Epidemiology and population structure of Cryphonectria parasitica and associated Cryphonectria hypoviruses in the Balkans
Applicant Rigling Daniel
Number 111089
Funding scheme SCOPES
Research institution Swiss Federal Research Inst. WSL Direktion
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Start/End 01.10.2005 - 30.09.2008
Approved amount 72'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Environmental Research

Keywords (5)

Epidemiology; phytopathology; population biology; biological control; Mycovirus

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
European chestnut is an important multipurpose tree species in many rural areas in the Balkans. Wood is used for fuel, timber, poles, stakes, and as a natural source of tannins, while fruits are used for food - directly or manufactured. Tanning and food industry depend on the supply of these raw materials from chestnut trees.Chestnut blight is responsible for a widespread decline of chestnut trees across the Balkans. This disease is caused by the introduced, highly pathogenic fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, which causes bark lesions and cankers on infected trees. Because C. parasitica is recognised as a quarantine organism in Europe, its presence in the Balkans also affects trading of chestnut plants and wood. Transmissible hypovirulence, a viral disease of C. parasitica has the potential for biological control of chestnut blight. Infection by the hypovirus causes a reduction in fungal virulence and its reproductive capacities. The invasion of C. parasitica populations by the hypovirus appears to be highly influenced by the population biology of the fungus. Spread is favoured by low diversity of vegetative compatibility (vc) types and limited sexual reproduction.Therefore, the information and understanding of the population structure and epidemiology of C. parasitica and the hypovirus is important for the success of biological control of chestnut blight.We will conduct population studies in order to obtain the distribution map of vc types, mating types and SCARs markers of C. parasitica across the Balkans. Concurrently, the incidence and genetic variation of naturally occurring hypoviruses will be studied. Phylogenetic analyses will be conducted to investigate the relationships among C. parasitica and hypovirus populations in the Balkans and in Europe. Hypoviruses will be tested for variation in symptom expression in different fungal host strains both in situ and in vitro. These results will form the basis for selection of fungal host strains and hypovirus isolates to be used for biocontrol in the region. In addition, novel application methods to improve hypovirus dissemination will be evaluated.The cooperation of scientific institutions from 3 countries will enable a more complete insight into the population structure of Cryphonectria parasitica and CHV-1 in the Balkans.We also expect to answer questions about the epidemiology of hypovirulence and the relationships between genetic diversity of the fungal host population and the incidence of virus infections. From a practical point of view, the results will provide the basis for biological control of chestnut blight in this region to improve health condition and productivity of Balkan’s chestnut forests. Further it will be used for risk analysis in respect to the spread of C. parasitica genotypes by trading of chestnut timber and plants among the Balkan countries and between the Balkans and other European countries.This project will allow the continuation and strengthening of research activities on an important tree disease in the partner countries (Croatia and Macedonia), purchase of equipment and consumables, and will also provide training for young scientists.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
127922 Chestnut blight research in the Balkans and Georgia: population studies and biological control methods 01.11.2009 SCOPES

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