July 1, 2015

Grapevine trunk diseases, a worrying challenge for the world viticulture

Trunk diseases of grapevine are surely of the most recent challanges the growers are facing, but also one of the hardest to overcome.

The spread of the fungal pathogens involved in wood decay, necrosis, consequent malfunctioning of the vascular system is bringing increasing losses as for quality and quantity of production, general decline and / or frequent death of the vines. Losses of increasing relevance are reported by different authors in Europe (Hofstetter et al. 2012, Bruez et al., 2012) in Australia, in USA (Gubler et al, 2005), i.e, in all grape growing countries, and a special meeting was organized by the European network of farmers to call the attention of the European Commission on this increasing problem (

Different fungal pathogens are involved, and different diseases can develop. To be stressed the relevance of this increasing problem caused, all over the grape growing areas, by the same large group of fungal pathogens that can cause disease in strong interaction with the local environmental and cultural factors.

In all grape growing countries research is setting up new tools to prevent infections and to help vines reaction towards the trunk diseases onset, but a lot a basic research is still needed on the pathogens, and the diseases involved. An European network is developing to this aim, aside with the International Council on Grapevine Trunk Diseases ( thanks to a devoted COST action (FA1303 – Sustainable control of grapevine trunk diseases,

One of the factors making these diseases management so complicated is the presence of different pathogens in the same vine, and even in the same wound, often interacting and not easy to distinguish among each other, even for the specialists, by simple visual observation.

Even if the pathogens are different, and are different also the diseases they cause, most of them have two main types of contamination / infection sites in common: the nursery propagation process and the pruning wounds infections.

It is of outmost importance to get as many as possible tools in order to investigate on the initial stages of the diseases, i.e. the infection development both in the nursery and in the field, and the amount and type of pathogens present, in order to really start a new season for viticulture, where wood infections, to be considered as a true risk factor for a long and healthy life of the vineyard, can be strongly reduced, allowing prevention management to be carried out and developed.



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UE Seven Framework Programme FP7-SME-2012-1-315166 Rss Seven Framework Programme