Yellowing Viruses Infecting Sugar Beet

Sugar beet is a valuable crop in many European countries. The economically important aphid-borne yellowing viruses have been successfully controlled in the past by the use of insecticides in the seed coat, particularly neonicotinoids. The future ban on these neonicotinoids makes it necessary to mimic this scenario and determine which viruses will be of utmost important for pioneering breeding activities.

Project description:

  • in cooperation with IfZ and sugar beet breeders
  • funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (2017-2020)
  • to survey which yellowing viruses occur in Europe
  • analysis of their genetic diversity
  • to simulate in field trials the scenario of an EU wide neonicotinoid ban
  • assessment of  it the impact on sugar yield and quality

Q-bank Initiative and Euphresco Projects

The access to well-characterized virus isolates is often difficult, and some regulated viruses are not available at all. To ensure the long-term availability of such isolates which are required as reference material for molecular and serological tests as well as fundamental research activities, several Euphresco projects aimed to link collections hosted by individual institutions via Q-banks. Q-bank is a freely accessible database for regulated and other important plant pests and diseases including plant viruses and viroids which is now hosted by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO). It presents information and sequence data of such species in general and isolates that are physically available in particular, providing links to the respective collection. To ensure the reliability of the data presented and the quality of the isolates provided, minimum quality standards were defined and Q-bank is curated by a network of experts including DSMZ plant virologists.

Project tasks:

  • Building an international network of reference 
  • Identification of gaps in reference collections
  • Define and harmonize quality standards for collections
  • Backup of non-public or not accessible collections

J.W. Roenhorst, N. Boonham, S. Winter, W. Menzel, R. van der Vlugt (2013): The plant viruses and viroids database and collections of Q-bank. EPPO Bulletin, 43:238-243.
J.W. Roenhorst, Nisbet, C., Lacomme, C., Winter, S., Menzel, W., van der Vlugt, R. (2017): Euphresco project VirusCollect – Fulfilling the need for a common collection of plant viruses and viroids for reference. EPPO Bulletin, 47:41-47.

Organization of Proficiency Tests

Quality management (QM) in general is gaining in importance in research and diagnostic activities, leading to the subsequent accreditation of more and more diagnostic laboratories of the governmental and private sector  according to internationally accepted standards like ISO 17025 “General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories”. The periodical participation in proficiency tests (PT) is mandatory for ISO 17025 accredited laboratories to demonstrate their competence in their particular field of expertise. At DSMZ we are experienced in the production and handling of custom-made PT samples, acting as co-organizer with international partners. Test samples may consist of fresh or freeze dried leaf material, nucleic acid extracts for all kind of molecular, serological or biological assays. Please contact us if you are interested in organizing a proficiency test.