Research - Plant Viruses

The research interests are covering both basic and applied problems in plant virology and plant virus diagnosis. The description of new viruses and information on the variability of virus genomes provide the basis for R & D to devise virus diagnostic reagents and protocols.
Studies on the genetic structure of viral populations have implications for virus evolution, ecology and emergence and for the development of strategies to develop virus resistance in plants.

A main interest is the evolution and ecology of tropical plant viruses and especially on plant-virus-vector interactions. As part of this work we are investigating how plant viruses are transmitted by the insects in order to elucidate the mechanisms of virus recognition and translocation.
We are also interested in the molecular mechanisms triggered by virus infections leading to recovery and plant resistance and although initially of a basic virological nature, most of this work ultimately will have practical applications in the development of virus resistance in significant crops.

Guide to plant virus diagnosis

These guides summarize all basic information on particular emerging and important virus diseases and offer instructions for a safe and reliable detection of the species being involved. Please click on the image to download the DSMZ Guide to Plant Virus Diagnosis as pdf.

Our second guide deals with Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV), an important pathogen that causes severe crop losses in cucurbitaceous crops and affects tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants.

Our first guide deales with maize lethal necrosis (MLN), a serious emerging disease of maize in East Africa. The MLN disease (syn. corn lethal necrosis, CLN) is known to naturally affect varieties of maize (Zea mays) resulting in chlorotic mottling of the leaves, severe stunting and necrosis, often leading to plant death. MLN is caused by a mixed infection between Maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV, genus Machlomovirus) and potyviruses infecting maize. In Kenya and other countries, most frequently Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV). DSMZ offers ELISA and lateral flow assays for a reliable and fast detection of both species.