Plant Pathology Laboratory

The plant pathology laboratory is equipped to receive and maintain plant material in isolation for the identification and diagnosis of vegetable and fruit crop diseases, caused by viruses, virus-like, bacteria, fungi, phytoplasmas, insects, mites and nematodes, included in quarantine and non-quarantine lists, in compliance with technical protocols recognised at national and European level (EPPO standards, IPPC-ISPMs) and updated in line with technological advances and relevant official validations.

The laboratory is divided into 5 operational units:

  • Quarantine
  • Virology
  • Micology
  • Nematology
  • Bacteriology


The laboratory is approved  by Regione Puglia for disease diagnostic testing and the characterisation of causal agents via isolation techniques on artificial substrates, serological (ELISA, DTBIA) and molecular assays (molecular hybridisation, PCR, real-time PCR, real-time LAMP).

The following activities are carried out in the laboratory:

  • Development and validation of techniques for the diagnosis and assessment of the health status of plant material coming from different Mediterranean countries, as support to international cooperation projects;
  • Studies for the molecular characterisation of the major or newly reported pathogens;
  • Development of innovative methods for post-harvest control of pathogens, studies on host/pathogen/vector interactions and studies on the transmission and spread of quarantine pathogens and of their vectors;
  • Characterisation and conservation of fungal and bacterial collections for comparative studies.

Main instruments

Geomatics Laboratory

The laboratory is equipped to support training, research and early diagnosis of large-scale infections and  the smart phytosanitary management of agricultural and natural resources. The products and services developed integrate mapping and traditional monitoring/surveillance systems with geomatic and high technology information methodologies based on the Global Positioning System, remote sensing, management and spatial modeling using GIS, and networked sensors.


The following activities are performed in the laboratory:

  • processing and analysis of vector and raster data
  • development of script sources and spatial models using Image processing and Spatial analysis software (Autocad MAP 3D, ArcMap, GRASS, LizMap, ERDAS Imagine, ENVI, eCognition, Matlab, LEICA Geo Office, Android Studio, Intel XDK, etc.) that enable the implementation of applications and maps
  • basic and multivariate statistical analysis to discriminate the reflectance and hyperspectral vegetation indices correlated to phytopathology (ViewSpecPro, Statistica, etc..).

Main instruments

  • stereoscopic workstations
  • spectroradiometers (FielSpec HandHeld and FieldSpec 3, ASD)
  • sub-centimeter total GPS station (LEICA RX1250)
  • DGPS portable receivers (Magellan MobileMapper CX)
  • thermal infrared camera NEC TH7800
  • smart devices (android and iOS)
  • A0 map plotter.

In vitro culture laboratory

The laboratory is equipped for the sanitation and propagation of plant healthy material via in vitro culture techniques (micropropagation, meristem-tip culture, micrografting, and somatic embryogenesis).

Main instruments

  • Temperature-controlled cabinets for in vitro plant growth
  • Atmospheric moisture-controlled cabinets for heat treatment
  • Laminar flow hood
  • Autoclave

Teaching laboratory

The laboratory is primarily intended for training purposes for the students of the Master of Science course of “Sustainable Integrated Pest Management Technologies For Mediterranean Fruit and Vegetable Crops”. It is supplied with large benches, equipment and apparatuses (chemical fume hood, microscopes, stereo-microscopes, etc.) used to carry out experimental activities for teaching and demonstration purposes.  Video projection system for on-screen display of tests is also available.

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