Ecofriendly Crop Protection in Viticulture and Horticulture

A reduced input of pesticides is regarded as one of the main aims in modern viticulture and horticulture. In this regard, part of our research currently focuses on the endophytic establishment of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana in grapevine plants as a novel and sustainable plant protection strategy. Furthermore, we are developing a new application technique for UV C radiation of canopies and grape clusters to reduce fungicide applications. For controlling the invasive spotted wing drosophila Drosophila suzukii we are working on the development of attractants and their potential use in bait traps or in attract-and-kill strategies. Within the European project PromESSinG we ask how biodiversity can contribute to ecosystem services in viticulture and analyse diversity of soil organisms and insects to identify management options promoting biodiversity in vineyards. We are also actively involved in the EU project innovine aimed at improvement of agricultural practices maximising grapevine features in terms of berry quality, resistance to pests and diseases, and adaptation to climate change. In addition, we work with entomopathogenic fungi for biological control of insect pests like the black vine weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus, and are also interested in monitoring the fate of these biological control agents after application to potting substrates or in the field (Reineke et al. 2014).

Interactions between Plants, Pests and Microorganisms

For a couple of project related questions we are applying next-generation sequencing technologies to characterize the microbial communities in insects (Hirsch et al. 2012), on fruits such as grapes and strawberries (Sylla et al. 2013a ; Sylla et al. 2013b) or in the soil (Hirsch et al. 2013). For understanding interactions between organisms involved in the grape berry bunch rot complex such as Botrytis cinerea we applied these techniques to characterise the microbial community on grape berry skins (Kecskemeti et al. 2016). At present, metagenomics are applied to investigate putative shifts in the composition of the soil microbiom with corn salad (Valerianella locusta) plants showing symptoms of the “Yellow Wilt” (Gelbe Welke). Using the Geisenheim free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) system we are currently studying the effects of elevated CO2 concentrations on interactions between grapevine plants and two of their economically most significant pests – the downy mildew pathogen Plasmopara viticola and larvae of the grape berry moth Lobesia botrana (Selim et al. 2015).

Diagnosis and Management of Phytopathogens in Horticulture

For a rapid and simultaneous detection of different groups of phytoplasmas infecting Rubus species and in order to monitor the presence and distribution of these phytoplasmas in putative insect vectors we have recently developed a multiplex real-time PCR assay using TaqMan probes. In addition, molecular markers are being developed for population genetics as well as diagnosis of certain plant pathogens, insects (Hirsch et al. 2010) and entomopathogens (Reineke et al. 2014). The Institute of Phytomedicine is a centre of competence for phytopathological aspects of closed irrigation systems and disinfestation of irrigation water. We do research on a diverse range of water disinfection systems that are currently being used in the horticultural industry. Goal is the better understanding and optimisation of these systems in the context of horticultural practice. At the moment we are investigating the effects of organic material and plant fertilizer on chlorine based water disinfection methods.

Efficacy Assessment of Plant Protection Products

According to Directive 1107/2009 of the EU our department is officially recognised as a facility for efficacy testing of plant protection products. We are thus holding a GEP (good experimental practice) Recognition Certificate, authorized from the German Plant Protection Service. Over the years, we have gained huge experience in conducting field trials in particular in viticulture, testing various aspects of integrated and biological control of grapevine pests and diseases. In field and greenhouse trials, we are testing plant protection products and/or agents for their efficacy, selectivity and (un)desired side effects, focusing on the best application date and interval, screening for the optimal concentration of active ingredients, taking fungicide resistance aspects into consideration and optimising newly developed biological control agents (e.g. application coat, uptake by fungal cells, rain stability).

head of department

Prof. Dr. Annette Reineke
Room ZIG 01.56
Tel. +49 6722-502-411
E-Mail Annette.Reinekehs-gmde


Sigrid Dolezal
Room ZIG 01.53
Tel. +49 6722-502-411
Fax +49 6722-502-410
E-Mail Phytomedizinhs-gmde