The Project

Project concept & Main Objective

MYCORRAY aims to develop a DNA microarray tool for the early, reliable, simultaneous identification of the 11 most relevant grapevine trunk fungi responsible for the most harmful diseases of grapevines (namely Eutypa dieback, Esca disease, Botryosphaeria canker and dieback and Black Foot disease), with crop losses estimated at thousands of millions of Euros in the EU alone every year.

Background info

These complexes of grapevine trunk wood fungi infect grapevines primarily through pruning cuts and have devastating effects for the wine sector:

By attacking the vine’s perennial organs, causing significant damage to productivity with yield reductions uo to 30 to 50%, and ultimately leading to the death of the vine.

By threatening vineyard longevity, since growers are forced to replant sizeable vineyard areas resulting in losses especially of the most susceptible grape varieties (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon or Ugni blanc) and Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) standards.

As the fruit fails to ripen there is also a reduction in wine quality due to mixing of grapes of different ages, leading to lower returns on investment and lost market share in the EU and globally, where the main competitive edge of European wine is its quality differential.

Competitive advantages

Grapevine trunk diseases are very complex, usually involving more than one causal organism, may coexist in the same vine or evolve into each other depending on external factors. Because of this visual diagnostics are extremely unreliable. Other currently available diagnostic methods only detect one organism per test, meaning that at least eleven tests per vine (one per pathogen) would be required, making the detection of all the 11 pathogens involved impractical and prohibitively expensive.

MYCORRAY mirrors the complexity of the fungal trunk disease reality, and will provide European winegrowers and vine nursery SMEs with an end-user’s-adapted routine laboratory tool that allows the simultaneous cost-effective sensitive and accurate identification of the 11 most relevant grapevine trunk fungi and that gives information on the phytosanitary status of their vineyards and nursery plantations so that they can adapt management practices and perform, when available, immediate, precise and efficient interventions to effectively control these pathogens, their active spread and associated losses.

Treatments based on actual pathogen populations will increase the efficiency while reducing costs and environmental impact of indiscriminate fungicide use for improved sustainable agriculture practices.

The Technology

The MYCORRAY system consists of:

 

A disposable array tube with a DNA microarray chip in its base.

A cost-effective standalone (no PC needed) array reader suitable for non-specialists, composed of an optical system and of an image processing system.

Additionally, a simple and inexpensive DNA extraction method as well as a Guide for Best Practices will also be provided.

While the new MYCORRAY system compares very well with the state-of-the-art in terms of sensitivity and specificity (being based on DNA amplification), it overcomes the limitations in terms of simultaneous detection, test and platform price, time-to-result, ease of use and interpretation, and self-sufficiency.

MYCORRAY is a project funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. Concretely under the “Research for the benefit of SMEs” (Capacities) programme.

The FP7 “Research for the benefit of SMEs ” funding instrument aims at developing technical solutions to solve problems and cover common needs of SMEs in specific industrial sectors, such as the winegrowing sector.

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