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Surveillance for plant pests using meta-barcoding and LAMP techniques

Neil Boonham: Fera Science Ltd

<div>The overall aim of the EMPHASIS project is to provide integrated response measures to predict, prevent and protect European agriculture, forestry sectors, and natural ecosystems from native and alien pest threats. The effectiveness of these solutions will be assessed, validated and promoted through co-innovative research and demonstration in line with end user needs and capacities. The talk will focus on the development of targeted and non-targeted methods for the detection and surveillance of quarantine pathogens and pests. LAMP tests have been developed for a range of targets in arable (including wheat, rice and potatoes), horticultural crops (including basil and lettuce) as well as diseases impacting ornamental plants and the environment (e.g. <em>Xylella fastidiosa</em>). The work aims to develop and validate to international standards (EPPO) a large range of LAMP assays for a number of different end users in disease diagnosis, seed testing and environmental monitoring. The assays are developed to run on the Genie suite of instruments (Optigene) and the platform has been further developed to facilitate usage, including the development of on-screen protocols, training, and formatting of kits to enhance the end-user experience. Non-targeted detection has focused on the development of meta-barcoding approaches for surveillance of airborne fungal spores and insect pests following trapping. The aim is to profile the species present in the traps and provide broad spectrum data on the presence of quarantine and other pathogens moving in a particular location. We are focusing this surveillance work on pathogens/pests of interest to farmers and regulators to facilitate the implementation of early control measures in each sector.</div>