Research outputs

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Main research question/goal

This project focuses on a plant virus that threatens cherry cultivation, but also parts of the ornamental plant, namely the so-called Little Cherry virus (LChV). The aim is to arrive at a knowledge-based sustainable management strategy, and to implement this in practice. Concretely, we want to: (1) discover a number of crucial knowledge gaps around the virus (complex) (epidemiology, survival, risk of contamination of starting material, sensitivity cultivar / rootstock, fast reliable in field detection method) through practice-based research. (2) discover a number of crucial knowledge gaps around the insect vectors and their role in spreading LChV through practice-based research. (3) develop and test practical measures that effectively prevent the introduction (appropriate procedures in production of the propagation material based on rapid detection / certification strategy, use of resistant / tolerant rootstocks / cultivars), contamination and further spread of the disease on the basis of risk evaluation and knowledge gained in points 1 and 2. (4) draw up a guideline and communicate with effective management measures and support of their broad implementation in practice.

Research approach

The research strategy of the project consists of four parts: 1) study and understand virus epidemiology; 2) study and understand transmission of LChV through insect vectors, and 3) develop and 4) implement a control strategy for the disease (including use of certified virus free starting material, minimise the risk of transmission and infection of healthy trees) in cherry production orchards.


By developing a series of knowledge-based control measures and supporting their practical implementation through demonstration tests and advice, we expect the LChV problem to be significantly reduced. We aim to translate this into fewer symptoms (suspect samples) that are signaled and that these samples contain significantly less LChV. Dismantling the LChV problem will create an essential solid foundation that will be the trigger that will convert the greatly increased potential and interest in Flemish cherry growing into investments for high-yield cherry cultivation. This will generate considerable economic added value for both Flemish cherry growers and (fruit) tree nurseries. In addition, this project also has an important impact on the social level that should not be underestimated. Through the development of knowledge-based control measures, we aim to establish a consensus between professional cherry growers and owners of standard orchards / (ornamental) cherry trees regarding the LChV control strategy, despite their different perspectives and interests.

Funding provider(s)
Effective start/end date1/09/1531/08/19

ID: 4160535