Heterobasidion irregulare; Heterobasidion spp.

The fungus Heterobasidion spp. includes some of the most destructive pathogens of conifers worldwide, with losses estimated at 790 million Euro per year in Europe27. In addition to the native species, the North American H. irregulare was recently discovered in Italy causing significant mortality of pine stands. Based on its observed and potential impact, H. irregulare has been recently included in the EPPO Alert List. EMPHASIS will develop a LAMP assay for detection (WP2), and within WP3 fungi isolated from stumps of oak and pine in mixed stands will be assessed as biological control agents. In addition, a user-friendly operational device will be developed to inform whether stump treatment is necessary and the amount of product needed (optimized use of chemicals).

Management approach

For Monitoring techniques:Develop EPPO standard (PM 7/98) validated LAMP assays and commercial kits for species level detection and identification by non-experts for pests/ pathogens
For biological control agents: Screen antagonistic fungi
For Improved chemical control:
1) Heterobasidion ssp. (alien) - Develop a device to inform whether and how much stump treatment is necessary.
2) Heterobasidion ssp. (native) - Develop procedures for treating infected logs in situ and locally eradicating the disease.

Solution proposed by EMPHASIS

For Monitoring techniques:Automated result calling algorithms for LAMP assays (CO) and at least 20 validated LAMP assay kits for species level detection/ identification (PU)
For biological control agents: Report on the most effective BCAs for the management of target pests (PU) clarifying the availability of BCA’s
Impact: eradication of H. irregulare
For Improved chemical control:
1) Heterobasidion ssp. (alien) - User-friendly operational device for native Heterobasidion ssp. Containment in conifers (PU)
2) Heterobasidion ssp. (native) - Procedures for locally eradicating the alien H. irregulare on conifers (PU)

Contact person/organisation

Paolo Gonthier (UNITO)