Plant virus researchers and WUR Library join forces

April 23, 2024

Over the past two years, plant virus researchers from the Laboratory of Virology and the Biointeractions and Plant Health group have joined forces with WUR Library to build a database on transmission modes and vectors of plant viruses. The database is based on over 3500 publications spanning 100 years of plant virus research.

Centralising access to information on plant virus transmission

Plant viruses cause many of the most important diseases threatening crops worldwide. Knowledge of plant virology is therefore crucial for food security in developing countries. But searching for the literature on how plant viruses can spread is laborious. Information is scattered across different sources and much of the older literature on plant virus transmission is not available online.

Over the last 15 years, during his retirement, plant virologist Dr Dick Peters collected a vast number of papers and other scientific information covering over 100 years of plant virus research. He analysed 3500 publications on the transmission of over 1600 plant viruses.

Prof. Dr Rene van der Vlugt and Dr Emilyn Matsumura acknowledged the importance of Dr Peters’ impressive work and contacted WUR Library. With their scientific input, WUR Library developed a web-based tool to make the data publicly available.

The plant virus transmissions database brings together all literature on the transmission modes and reported vectors of plant viruses. What makes this database unique is that the bibliographic information and link to the original publication are provided for each transmission method and virus. The database was recently published in the Journal of General Virology.

Library contribution

WUR Library collaborated on the web tool, by:

1. Cleaning up and enriching the reference information using metadata from Crossref and OpenAlex.

2. Converting and storing the virus metadata from the Excel file and literature references from a Word file in an Oracle database.

3. Indexing the data from Oracle in SOLR to provide an easy search and filter interface to end-users.

4. Building an edit interface to add the virus and literature data stored in the Oracle database

You can access the database via and search by virus name, taxonomic position, mode of transmission or vector.