Brock Launches National Facility for Virus-Free Vine Planting Material – The Brock News

A facility that maintains high-quality, virus-free plant materials and eliminates viruses and other pathogens of concern in vineyards is in place and operating at Brock University.

The National Grapevine Germplasm Repository project, led by Sudarsana Poojari, Principal Investigator at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), is funded by Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc. (OGWRI), Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN-RCCV) and Brock University.

“With changing climatic conditions and the need for new and agronomically improved vine varieties that suit local climatic conditions, it is critical that Ontario’s grape and wine industry have access to virus-free vine stock. varieties that are both popular and regionally important,” says Poojari.

Grapevines are vulnerable to infection by many types of plant viruses, which typically spread through vineyards by planting new vines that have been propagated from infected vine material. Some viruses can be spread by certain species of insects in the vines.

Once a plant virus infects a vine, there is no cure, Poojari says. Some plant viruses negatively impact vine performance, reducing yield, fruit quality and vine winter success.

“It’s important to start with virus-free vines and maintain them following best pest management practices,” he says. “We don’t want to start with virus-infected vines and assume they’ll do well in field conditions.”

Poojari’s lab uses a combination of virus detection and removal methods on vines, including but not limited to heat therapy, microshoot-tip tissue culture therapy, and high-throughput sequencing. (HTS). “This process has proven itself in the certification program and meets the long-term certification standards established by the CGCN-RCCV,” he says.

Microshoot tip tissue culture is a virus removal technique in which a tiny portion of the tip of a vine’s shoot tip is cut and grown under controlled conditions.

HTS is a genomics-based test capable of detecting all known and unknown viruses in grapevines with high accuracy and reliability. This genomics-based solution would replace more than 30 tests currently performed on vines to look for diseases.

Poojari’s lab adopts the combination of microshoot tip tissue culture therapy and HTS to shorten the time needed to generate virus-free vine material from about three years to 12 months or less, providing rapid access to valuable new varieties.

In addition, Poojari is also collaborating with Professor of Biological Sciences Ping Liang, who is developing a new grapevine genetic test to provide “true-type” grapevine material, also funded by OGWRI.

Nursery growers, winegrowers or winegrowers wishing to test and certify their new grape varieties or vine clones can send a request to the CGCN-RCCV.

This initiative provided a tremendous opportunity for CCOVI and Brock University to serve as a back-up facility to maintain the National Grapevine Germplasm Repository at the Canadian Food Inspection Plant Virus Diagnostic Facility in Saanich, Utah. British Columbia, Poojari said.

Having a ready supply of virus-free material “creates domestic and global trade opportunities for Canada, benefiting growers, nurserymen, contract propagators and academic researchers in viticulture and breeding programs,” he says. .

“Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc. is pleased to partner with Brock, CCOVI and CGCN-RCCV on this important new facility,” said Matthias Oppenlaender, President of OGWRI.

“Having access to certified virus-free grapevine material is critical to the sustainability of our grape and wine industry and we look forward to continuing to work with our industry partners on critical research and development,” a- he declared.

CGCN-RCCV President Hans Buchler said the network is “excited about the development of an additional repository of clean plants for the Canadian grape and wine sector.”

“We hope this is a first step towards substantially increasing the availability of virus-tested second-generation propagation material for use by certified virus-free Canadian nurseries,” he said. he declares. “It will be a great contribution to the sustainability and growth of the national grape and wine industry.”

In the repository under development, Poojari and his team are expanding the current offering of around 50 virus-free vine varieties with state-of-the-art technologies.

This latest research and Brock’s new National Grapevine Germplasm Repository builds on a $6.2 million national research program, co-led by CCOVI, supporting clean plant programs for grapevine.

This national research will enable the CGCN-RCCV to speed up the certification of vine planting material as virus-free.

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