New DNA analysis to treat downy mildew less but also better

Thursday July 16 2020 by Vitisphere

“We will be able to tell our customers which agents the strains are resistant to, whether these resistances are weak or strong, and help them choose their plant protection products”, explains Jérémie Brusini.“We will be able to tell our customers which agents the strains are resistant to, whether these resistances are weak or strong, and help them choose their plant protection products”, explains Jérémie Brusini. - Photo credit : Laboratoire Baas

‘Baas’ for ‘Biology as a solution’ is the name of the Gironde laboratory due to be set up in a few weeks' time. It will be housed in the same facilities as Inrae and at its helm will be Jérémie Brusini, a molecular biology specialist, and Tovo Rabemanantsoa, a computer scientist. They will be providing winegrowers with a new service. “We are going to use PCR to identify the strains of downy mildew, powdery mildew and grey rot occurring in their vineyards," explains Jérémie Brusini. “There is often a cocktail of several strains, whose significance depends on the track record of spraying”.

Once the strains have been identified, the arrangement of amino acids within their proteins will be studied by DNA sequencing to identify mutations. Using molecular biology, the resistance of strains of downy mildew, powdery mildew and grey rot can now be predicted for 80% of antifungal agents, such as amiulbrom, cyazofamide, ametotradine, dimethomorph and boscalide. The mutations responsible for resistance to the remaining 20% of products, such as those based on cymoxanil, are not yet known.

During the shoulder season, the laboratory will provide analyses of soil samples, to study the DNA of downy mildew eggs and help winegrowers stock up on plant protection products. “In the spring, we will analyse the leaves in batches of 50 to 100. We are also developing spore traps at Château d'Arsac to detect the presence of fungi before the first symptoms appear”.

With his partner, Brusini is also working on a smartphone application. “Each client will have access to mapping for each vineyard and its epidemiological history, and will be alerted when there is an outbreak of disease within a radius of 5 km around his/her vineyards”.

 

We will be able to tell our customers which agents the strains are resistant to, whether these resistances are weak or strong, and help them choose their plant protection products”, explains Jérémie Brusini.

 

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