Benaki Phytopathological Institute (BPI) is a Legal Entity of the Public Sector established in 1929. BPI has been a leading research institute in Greece in the field of plant health protection. It is structured in three Departments, namely Phytopathology, Entomology & Agricultural Zoology, and Pesticides Control & Phytopharmacy, addressing issues related to plant health, environmental management as well as quality control of agricultural products and water resources. The Institute implements research projects and provides technical support to the Central and Regional agencies of the Ministry of Rural Development & Food, the Prefectural Administration, other governmental organizations, agronomists, growers and agricultural cooperatives. The Institute encompasses official laboratories for quarantine pests/pathogens and ISO/EN-10-25 certified laboratories for toxicology, physical & chemical analysis of pesticides and pesticides-residues. The laboratories of the BPI involved in the project have been nominated by the Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development & Food to conduct official nation-wide surveys of agricultural crops in Greece aiming at the recognition of protected zones, as well as phytosanitary checks on imported and domestic propagative and non-propagative plant material for the presence of quarantine and regulated bacteria, phytoplasmas and insects, according to national and EU legislation.
Role in the Project
The laboratories of the BPI involved in the project will participate in 5 out of the 10 work packages (WPs). The main effort will be put into the implementation of sampling schemes and innovative tools for early detection of Xylella fastidiosa in host plants and insects (WP4), as well as the study of the vector biology and ecology and its role in disease epidemiology (WP5). In this respect, BPI will contribute to the development of diagnostic tools and procedures for an early surveillance system, which is crucial for the efficient implementation of pest management activities. In addition, BPI will participate to the studies on the occurrence and bioecology of confirmed and potential insect-vector species (xylem-sap feeder communities) of X. fastidiosa. Genetic characterization of these xylem-sap feeder communities and their microbiome will also be performed aiming at the development of innovative control strategies. Finally, BPI will assist XF-ACTORS consortium effort to build capacity and competence to strengthen and implement the EU plant health regime (WP9) as well as to raise public/stakeholders awareness for X. fastidiosa via communication networks and dissemination events (WP10).