History

Our Institute originates from a branch of “Impresa Centro Nazionale sui Virus dei Vegetali”, which was founded in 1962.

Since then its efforts have been focusing on basic and applied research on phytoviruses and phytovirus-induced diseases, especially of crops.

We are also interested in studying virus-like agents, such as phytoplasmas and viroids.

Our traditional research lines include studies on virosis and diseases similar to virosis in horticultural and ornamental plants, as well as in grapevine. More recently we are also studying fruit-tree phytoplasmas and citrus viruses.

It is also imperative for us to dedicate immediate attention to new phytopathological problems that may raise in Italy. These diseases could be important either for their economic impact on crops or for scientific purposes, even if they are not part of our current research projects.

The research activities are divided into six research lines:

  • Biological characterization of viruses, phytoplasmas and viroids;
  • Purification of virus and virus diagnosis, including the production of polyclonal antisera and monoclonal antibodies that can be exchanged with other research institutions all over the world and represent useful diagnostic tools for improving the Italian agricultural production, e.g. in flower-growing industry and in viticulture;
  • Electron microscopy, immuno-electron microscopy and cytopathology of viral infections;
  • Epidemiology and study of the interactions between pathogens and their insect vectors;
  • Characterization and molecular diagnosis of pathogens that focuses mainly on expression studies of RNA and DNA viruses;
  • Genetic engineering to transform plants, induce resistance to pathogenic agents and, ultimately, understand pathogens’ mechanisms of action.

New discoveries are published in scientific articles and are also used as teaching materials at the University and in the diffusion of scientific knowledge to the general public, to give public and private agri-food companies scientific advice and in training activities and specializations for young and senior researchers, respectively.

Several researchers of the Institute are also invited as editors or reviewers for national and international journals, as coordinators of Italian and foreign scientific associations and research groups, as scientific supervisors of bachelor thesis and post-degree internships.