The increasing globalisation in production and trade of plants and plant products and world-wide tourism increased the risk of the introduction and spread of plant pests and pathogens considerably.
These harmful organisms might have a profound economic and ecological impact if they can establish themselves in these new environments. Hygiene in seed production and plant propagation and the availability of efficient tools for detection play a key role particularly to prevent (starting) plant material from infections by latent or non-symptomatic infections which may contaminate the production chain later.
Within Europe there is a comprehensive program to prevent the introduction of quarantine organisms and pests from infested areas and intervention strategies to counteract risks for spreading after an unwanted introduction. We advise national and international authorities like the Ministry of Economic Affairs, EPPO and EFSA on technical aspects to support political decisions and legislation and co-operate with them in technical committees. We coordinate and lead taskforces for correct identification of species and harmonization of detection assays with ISTA, IPPC, EPPO and EFSA and participate in control and survey programs.
We perform risk analyses to assess the potential impact of an organism after a possible introduction and derive control strategies. We develop assays and procedures for the detection of target organisms by NPPO’s (national plant protection organisation) and Inspection Services. With our efforts we help to prevent spreading of quarantaine organisms and to assure plant health.