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NO BLACK - “New strategies to contrast the black rot an emerging threat to the Lombard viticulture”

The research group of the Biosciences Department, led by Prof. Simona Masiero, has recently started a research project funded by the Lombardy Region within the framework of the Research Call in the agricultural and forestry fields, to investigate the new emergency disease, known as black rot, which is creating several problems in the phytosanitary defence of the grapevine.

Black rot, or black rot of the grape bunch, is a disease that comes from North America and is considered one of the most important causes of yield loses for grapevine. G. bidwellii, the causal agent, penetrates into the receptive tissues of the host producing an appressorium, and causing the drying out of the berries, the formation of red-brownish spots on the leaves, necrosis and tumors on the shoots. Black rot is observed in Valtellina since 2012, where it is the cause of important production losses but it is also present, although in a discontinuous way, in Oltrepò Pavese and Mantua.

The control of the disease has been ensured by the application of antiperonosporic and antioid fungicides, also effective against G. bidwellii, such as dithiocarbamates, strobilurins, triazoles, copper/sulfur mixtures. However, the recent abandonment of broad-spectrum active ingredients, such as dithiocarbamates, because of their harmful effects on human health and on off-target organisms, in favour of fungicides with a very selective action on either downy mildew or powdery mildew, has favoured the proliferation of black rot.

Furthermore, the increasing usage of grapevine varieties resistant to downy mildew and powdery mildew will lead to a reduction in interventions with fungicides and a greater spread of black rot. In addition, the epidemiological characteristics of G. bidwellii are not clear, yet, and require further investigations.

Within this scenario, the No-black project, supported by the Lombardy Region, is aimed:

to characterize the biological and epidemiological characteristics of the pathogen with the final objective to use predictive models, able to give reliable indications on the possibility of infection by G. bidwellii and to adequately modulate the defence;

to identify new active compounds with low impact both on human and animal health and on the environment, able to fight in a sustainable and specific way G. bidwellii.

The No-black project is coordinated by Prof. Simona Masiero and the partnership includes:

1. Università degli Studi di Milano, departments:

DBS, prof. Simona Masiero, prof. Elisabetta Caporali prof. Paolo Pesaresi
DISAA, dr. Silvia Toffolatti
DISFarm, prof. Sara Pellegrino

2. Fondazione dott. Piero Fojanini di Studi Superiori, dr. Martino Salvetti

3. Cantina Terre d’Oltrepò, dr. Nicola Parisi

4. Cantina Valpantena, dr. Matteo Pinzetta

03 July 2020
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