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Diamandis S.,Hellenic Agricultural Organization DEMETER Forest Research Institute Vassilika | Perlerou C.,Hellenic Agricultural Organization DEMETER Forest Research Institute Vassilika | Tziros G.T.,Hellenic Agricultural Organization DEMETER Forest Research Institute Vassilika | Christopoulos V.,Hellenic Agricultural Organization DEMETER Forest Research Institute Vassilika | Topalidou E.,Hellenic Agricultural Organization DEMETER Forest Research Institute Vassilika
Forest Pathology | Year: 2015

Chestnut blight caused by Cryphonectria parasitica has been one of the major reasons for the decline of chestnut cultivation in Greece over the last 50 years. A previous detailed study of the vc types of the fungus has revealed only four vc types in the entire country, those of EU-1, EU-2 and EU-10 with the dominant being EU-12 counting for 88% of the isolates. As the loss in orchard trees reached in some chestnut producing prefectures over 35% of the trees, the decision was taken to apply biological control on a nationwide scale. The project was implemented in 17 prefectures during the period 2007-2009. Hypovirulent (hv) strains of C. parasitica which were infected by the CHV-1 subtype I (Italian subtype) viruses which occur naturally in Greece were used. The necessary hypovirulent inoculum was prepared at the Forest Research Institute during the period 2007-2009 on a large scale, however, with laboratory care. Three million inoculations were made around accessible developing cankers over three consecutive years by trained personnel. An extensive evaluation conducted in 2011 in the 12 of the 17 treated prefectures, where no natural hypovirulence had been found before, demonstrated not only the successful establishment of hypovirulence but also profound dissemination and healing of non-inoculated cankers. The extent of dissemination varied significantly among sampling plots and among prefectures. The conclusion is drawn that CHV-1 subtype I has successfully established and spread into chestnut orchards and coppice forests resulting in a gradual decline of chestnut blight. © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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