The NRC is responsible for generating scientific knowledge, inside (inter)national research projects, focusing mainly on fytosanitary organisms. Research activities deal with the biology, epidemiology, taxonomy and diagnosis, including the development and optimalisation/validation of diagnostic protocols for Q-bacteria, as well as with the eradication of these organisms. This knowledge forms actually the basis for performing Pest Risk Analysis and consequently for policy making, at a national, as well as, an international level. Additionally, the NRC plays an important role in providing guidance at private diagnostic laboratories and at the inspection bodies. In this way, the NRC forms an essential part of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority into its international role as NPPO (National Plant Protection Organisation). Our laboratory applies various innovative diagnostic tools which significantly contribute to the rapid and reliable detection, identification and characterization of bacterial phytopathogens. Such tools include: 1. Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization and Time-Of-Flight (MALDI-TOF) Mass Spectrometry 2. TaqMan® real-time PCR methods for specific and sensitive detection of bacterial phytopathogens in different plant matrices and water. 3. Diverse sequencing approaches which allow rapid identification and characterization of (new) bacterial phytopathogens, including MLSA/MLST, NGS (Illumina HiSeq 2500 and/or 3d generation PacBio applications).
Role in the Project
NVWA has an active role inside WP4 of XF-ACTORS that deals with the implementation of sampling schemes and innovative tools for early detection of X. fastidiosa in host plants. Main objective in WP4 is to develop an early surveillance system that can strengthen the reliability, confidence level and sampling efficiency for consignments. Knowledge of the appropriate statistical sample size for large lots of plants will support the development of appropriate guidelines for survey and sampling (WP9). Based on the indications contained in the ISPM 31 guidelines, experiments will be performed simulating different levels of infection within a lot of plants, and sampling at different percentage and with different sample size. The experiments will be performed on several host species, mainly ornamentals that constitute a high percentage of the EU imported plants from third countries. In this direction studies on the use of indicator plants (i.e. plants exhibiting characteristic symptoms rapidly upon infection) may be of help in maximizing the efficiency of detecting X. fastidiosa in risky locations. Additionally, NVWA has an active role inside WP9 that deals with the capacity building and competence of the EU Plant Health (PH) Laboratories.