Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2011-2 | Award Amount: 1.97M | Year: 2012
VERTIGEEN addresses a need identified by olive sector SME-Associations for the rapid and reliable on-site detection and quantification of the Verticillium dahliae fungus in soil and plant samples. The increasing frequency and severity of this pathogen in most EU olive growing areas has made it the most serious problem of commercial olive plantations. For an estimated commercial price of 1,000/device and 10/test, VERTIGEEN will allow olive producers to reduce losses caused by this pathogen by means of precise and efficient field interventions within an Integrated Pest Management Strategy. The system innovatively integrates in a single platform new but successfully demonstrated technologies: the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method and the original in-solution-DNA electrochemical detection, overcoming the limitations of the state of the art in terms of heterogeneity, portability, price, ease of use and time-to-result. VERTIGEEN will directly benefit the European olive sector by limiting disease spread and reducing its impact. Crop yield and profitability will increase, while production costs related to the systemic use of pesticides and the production of healthy olive trees will be reduced. Other benefits extend to olive nurseries being able to issue quality certificates of planting material, and for authorities monitoring disease occurrence. The SME-AGs who have a direct role in the production and distribution of olive oil will benefit from direct economic benefits of their IPR ownership, while their associated SMEs will increase their profit margins, preserve employment and maintain a competitive edge in the global market. Industrial SMEs, chosen by SME-AGS to guarantee the best exploitation route to the market, will benefit from an innovative portfolio product to generate new income sources and open new markets in Verticillium control.