Grapevine virus testing research has earned a senior scientist at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) international recognition.
Grapevine Virologist Sudarsana Poojari’s research has been evaluated by a French research group and published in the reputed EPPO Bulletin, the official publication of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO).
Poojari’s virus test is cited in the EPPO publication titled “Selection, optimization and characterization of molecular tests for the detection of Tobacco ringspot virus (TRSV).”
The authors recommend the protocol published by Poojari and his co-authors be used in post-entry quarantine purposes as well as virus surveys on grapevines worldwide. TRSV is a quarantine virus in Canada that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has protocols in place to test imported grapevines for.
The recognition, Poojari said, helps to bring awareness to this area of research.
“Through CCOVI’s grapevine virology lab, we offer commercial virus testing and also work in collaboration with researchers across Canada,” he said. “Our main focus is to deliver better and accurate diagnostic services and having this kind of recognition is important for the Canadian grape and wine industry, as well as the research programs that we are carrying out.”
Poojari joined CCOVI last summer to establish the virus testing service and since then his team has performed almost 30,000 virus tests. Grapevines, like other plants, are susceptible to virus and virus-like agents that can negatively impact the health and quality of the vine and its products. They can be spread from plant to plant through virus-infected planting material as well as by some insect species.
CCOVI’s ongoing research and testing, in partnership with Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc., is helping grape growers detect and manage these diseases.
This laboratory work supports the federally funded Canadian Grape and Wine Science Cluster, a collaborative project which includes university researchers, federal research scientists, grape growers and industry partners in Ontario, B.C., Quebec and Nova Scotia. It’s overseen by the national grape and wine not-for-profit, Canadian Grapevine Certification Network, which is working to advance the $9-billion industry with a sustainable supply of quality grapevine material.
“In Canada, we don’t have a grapevine certification program. Now that the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network has been formed, the industry is moving forward to establish such a program” Poojari said. “It’s important to keep grapevines clean of viruses because once they are infected, there is no cure. Growers have to remove and replace them with healthy, virus-free ones.”
Poojari’s research paper that was cited was published in the Journal of Virological Methods entitled “SYBR® Green-based real-time quantitative reverse-transcription PCR for detection and discrimination of grapevine viruses”.