Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Virus-resistant grapevines

A good wine needs to ripen. But it's a long way to the barrel. Even before the harvest, the grapevines have to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

Extremely hot or rainy periods can destroy entire crops, not to mention the wide variety of pests that can appear on the scene. Bugs such as the vine louse or the rust mite, fungi such as mildew, or viruses such as the "Grapevine fanleaf virus" (GFLV for short) can give the vines a hard time.

The GFLV infects the grapevine and causes fanleaf disease, resulting in deformed and very yellowed leaves, smaller grapes and crop loss.

However, there will soon be a cure for GFLV infections: Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Aachen are making certain plants resistant to the GFLV by genetic engineering. "Our modified plants produce antibodies," explains Dr. Stefan Schillberg, head of department at the IME. "These antibodies 'recognize' the viruses and prevent them from spreading in the plant and causing damage."

To enable the plant to produce the antibodies, the scientists have to modify its genotype and channel genetic information for the antibodies into it. This task is performed by tiny helpers called agrobacteria, which genetic engineers have been using for over twenty years. These are soil bacteria that inherently transfer parts of their own genome to that of the plant. Using simple routine processes, the researchers introduce the antibody gene into the bacteria, which then act as a transport vehicle and carry it over to the vine.

The researchers are still testing this process on model plants, and the first results show that their modified versions are up to 100 percent resistant to the virus. "The antibody is produced very effectively inside the plants," says Schillberg. "The next step on the agenda is to test the method on actual grapevines and then to carry out field tests." The scientists' long-term goal is to curb the use of pesticides.

"Certain pesticides are necessary to fight GFLV infections," Schillberg explains. But they often only have a limited effect. They are also harmful to the environment and therefore banned in many regions. Countries like Chile, for example, which depend strongly on their winegrowing business, could benefit enormously from the pathogen-resistant grapevines and improve their crop yields.

Stefan Schillberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>