Plant Viruses

Head of Department: Dr. Björn Krenz


Plant viruses are important components of natural ecosystems and those causing disease in crops can present serious threats to the stable supply of food and fiber and thus impact the livelihood of many people. Preventing introduction, establishment and spread is key to the control of plant viruses and horizon scanning and early detection are prerequisite to guide sensible interventions to mitigate the impact of virus diseases to plants and the environment.


Fundament to the department is the worldwide most comprehensive collection of plant viruses, conserved in appropriate host plants as viable, infective isolates. Complete genome data, biological features, host range, symptoms and transmission characteristics accompany each accession to provide an exhaustive list of attributes as reference and for the development of diagnostic tools and virus screens for resistance breeding.
The expanding list of virus accessions in the collection is a result of intensive collaborative surveillance worldwide on emerging plant virus diseases, the collection of materials and discovery of the associated organisms by high throughput sequencing approaches for which the department has created the most advanced infrastructure.
Innovative virus diagnostics, more than 300 accredited ELISA test kits to detect the most common viruses by routine indexing, molecular assays base on LAMP and Oxford nanopore based identification by sequencing complement the discovery of viruses with a set of tools the enable their specific detection.   
Our research on plant viruses is supported by a most comprehensive and powerful infrastructure providing limitless opportunities to study plant viruses, diseases and vectors, from individual viral genes to reaction networks and plant response. State-of-the-art equipment and profound expert knowledge is the fundament to our work.


  • Horizon scanning and surveillance of emerging viruses
  • Virus genome analysis, diversity and evolution
  • Innovative Diagnostics
  • Precision analysis of host responses
  • Accelerated virus screening and resistance phenotyping
  • Virus elimination to free plants from pathogens
  • Virus indexing for safe movement of germplasm
  • Use of virus genes
  • Expert advise on plant health, quarantine organims, testing and certification