Biosensors detect plant viruses

Description

Plant viruses cause economic losses of several billions of dollars every year. The often unspecific symptoms of a virus infection and the enormous variability of the genomes of plant viruses make it very challenging to come up with reliable diagnoses. In the event of an infection it is also vital to act quickly so as prevent spreading. However, the analyses required – such as single-stage simultaneous detection of various viruses in an infected plant – are difficult if not impossible to carry out using commonly available diagnosis kits.

The Fraunhofer project BioPat involves Fraunhofer EMFT researchers working alongside the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Fraunhofer Center for Systems Biotechnology CSB to develop highly specific and robust in-field sensor components for the detection of plant diseases.

Application

By creating novel biosensors, the team aims to enable fast, simple and simultaneous detection and differentiation of a wide range of viral genomes at an early stage of infection. The work being done on BioPat will focus on the analysis of viruses that are most relevant to the main crop plants in Chile and Germany, namely the grapevine and the potato.

As soon as the new generation of biosensors is established, it can quickly be adapted to meet other analytical requirements. This will open a wide spectrum of potential applications ranging from human pathogen detection to food analysis and marker-assisted breeding. The project is supported and funded by the Fraunhofer Executive Board.

Partners

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME
  • Fraunhofer Center for Systems Biotechnology CSB

Funding

The project is supported and funded by the Fraunhofer Executive Board.