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Pierce's Disease


The objective of this project is for the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to establish and coordinate a peer reviewed competitive research program to address the needs of the California grape industry in combating the current Pierce's Disease crisis. The threat of Pierce's Disease has been exacerbated by the introduction and establishment of the Glassywinged Sharpshooter, an additional more effective and dangerous vector of the Pierce's Disease pathogen, Xyella fastideosum. Researchers will be sought from Experiment Stations and Universities across the country where pertinent expertise exists.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Pierce's disease of grapevines causes significant losses in many areas where grapes are grown. The introduction and establishment of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a highly efficient vector of the Pierce's disease bacterium, into California and other grape producing states, poses a devastating threat to the viticulture industries of those areas. The purpose of the Pierce's disease program is to coordinate a research program to develop lasting control measures for the Pierce's disease of grapevines and it's vectors.


APPROACH: The University of California will establish a peer reviewed competitive research program under the management of a Project Director and a Guidance Committee. The guidance committee will consist of industry, research and extension personnel. Their charge and responsibilities will include identification of the current status of research and the needed areas of research to address both the short and long term needs for Pierce's disease control. The Project Director and the guidance committee will develop a request for research proposals designed to address the research needs in the current Pierce's Disease crisis. The Request for Proposals will be sent to Experiment Station Directors throughout the U.S. and other universities with evidence of strong viticulture and Pierce's disease research capacity. The Directors and Deans will be asked to circulate the request to appropriate scientists within their organizations. A Scientific Review Panel of researchers will be formed to evaluate and rate the proposals received. The criteria for evaluation and rating of proposals will include consideration of established research priorities, the appropriateness of the proposal to meet those needs, an evaluation of the scientific merit, experimental design, and the adequacy of the personnel and facilities to insure the fulfillment of the objectives of the proposals.
PROGRESS: 2001/06 TO 2004/05 <BR>
This grant, administered through the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, sponsored the UC Pierce's Disease Research Grants Program (2001-03). The grant funded 16 projects that addressed Pierce's disease and its vectors. More information about each project can be found at In 2001, the initial year of this project, the UC Pierce's Disease Research Grants Program received 31 proposals. Through the scientific review process, we were able to fund 16 projects represented by investigators from five states (California, Arizona, Illinois, Florida, New York). Some of the projects were funded for two years; when two-year funding was approved, it was contingent upon receipt of continuing proposals and yearly reports required to document progress and continued potential of success of the projects. Following is a list of the projects funded by the University of California Pierce's Disease Grants Program in 2001. <UL> <LI> Sharpshooter feeding behavior in relation to transmission of Pierce's disease bacterium <LI>Characterization and studies on the fundamental mechanisms of Xylella fastidiosa transmission to grapevines by the glassy-winged sharpshooter <LI>Keys to management of glassy-winged sharpshooter: interactions between host plants, malnutrition and natural enemies <LI>Chemical control of glassy-winged sharpshooter: Establishment of baseline toxicity and development of monitoring techniques for detection of early resistance to insecticides <LI>Biology and ecology of glassy-winged sharpshooter in the San Joaquin Valley <LI>Reproductive biology and physiology of glassy-winged sharpshooter <LI>Sampling, seasonal abundance and distribution of glassy-winged sharpshooters in citrus and grapes <LI>A monoclonal antibody specific to glassy-winged sharpshooter egg protein: A tool for predator gut analysis and early detection of pest infestation <LI>Impact of sub-lethal doses on neonicotinoids on glassy-winged sharpshooter feeding and transmission of Pierce's disease <LI>Microplate reader for analysis of plant tissue for the presence of Xylella fastidiosa <LI>Rootstock influence on Pierce's disease <LI>Role of type I secretion in Pierce's disease <LI>Production and screening of Xylella fastidiosa transpose on pathogenicity and attachment mutants <LI>Role of Xylella fastidiosa attachment on pathogenicity <LI>Directing potential anti-Xylella gene products <LI>Epidemiology of Pierce's disease in the Coachella Valley
IMPACT: 2001/06 TO 2004/05<BR>
The California wine industry is now being assessed to support of efforts to contain the glassy-winged sharpshooter and control Pierce's disease, resulting in the formation of the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Pierce's Disease Control Board. Coordination of the CDFA program and the UC program will improve the likelihood of success of the research. The program engaged scientists at three University of California campuses and in four other states to work on this important issue. While it is unrealistic to expect that the first two years of a research program would have much specific impact, effort has been directed toward the glassy-winged sharpshooter, including surveys and trapping, increased inspection of nursery shipments and movement of harvested grapes. When new infestations of glassy-winged sharpshooter are found, attempts to eradicate them have been carried out, often successfully. There has also been a major effort to identify glassy-winged sharpshooter parasites and develop methods for mass rearing and release, and fundamental studies on Pierce's disease biology, vector and disease control, and development of PD-resistant grapes have been initiated.

Gomes, W R (Reg)
University of California - Office of the President
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