ISSUE 02 July 2016


Effective Management of Pests

and Harmful Alien Species: Integrated Solutions


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This project has been funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation

programme under grant agreement N° 634179.

ISSUE 02 July 2016


Prof. John Mumford,

Imperial College London,

WP1 leader

The EMPHASIS project comes at a time when

European agriculture is facing several major

challenges: new alien pests are threatening,

pesticide use is more restricted, consumers

demand higher food and environmental quality,

and growers must deliver produce in very

competitive markets. The natural environment

is also under increasing threat from alien

species. The new Plant Health Directive and

the recent Invasive Species Regulation are

directed at these issues at a policy level, but

we need new and practical technical responses

as well. All of us working within EMPHASIS

are dedicated to developing new integrated

pest management solutions that address this

complex set of pressures.

Our project partners are working on

37 different combinations of pests and

technological measures that deal with

problems of surveillance, diagnosis and control

across many of the most important crops and

trees grown in Europe. We need to be sure that

the integrated solutions offered from our work

will meet the range of demands that will make

them good commercial products in the future.

Our EMPHASIS consortium designed the project

to include a specific integrating function that

I am very pleased to lead. We have produced

an analytical tool for all the technical measures

under development, described further in this

newsletter, that catalogues and matches design

features conceived by the technologists and

demand features found by partners working

closely with stakeholder groups. The overall

framework also incorporates a process for

evaluating impact through the multi-actor

approach adopted within EMPHASIS.

Our aims are to help focus on efficient

performance traits in the new technological

measures, to ensure that the demonstration

trials carried out in the field produce evidence

that is relevant to markets, and to provide

well-documented indicators of effectiveness

that can be readily evaluated by criteria useful

to potential users.

As we continuously learn what users want

and what our science can achieve, we are

systematically linking that learning experience to a

communication effort to accelerate the uptake of

promising pest management solutions. Regularly

throughout the project we are evaluating the

level of readiness of new technologies and

planning for uptake. Conventional pesticides

have taken years to enter the market, but the

emphasis in this project is on technology that

can enter practice more quickly, through better

informed control decisions based on surveillance

and diagnosis, the adaptation of current cultural

practices, or the better use of natural biocontrol


I judge my work by impact, and I am proud that

this project is doing more than just science: It is

actively anticipating market needs and planning

for the effective management of pests, as the

project name says. In this newsletter you will see

how we are moving technology closer to the user.



ISSUE 02 July 2016



Sixth Meeting of the

EWRS Weeds and

Biodiversity Working


Riga, Latvia

September 28–29, 2016

Hogweeds (Heracleum spp.) are included in the

EPPO A1/A2 lists and recommended for regulation

as a quarantine pest with a wide geographical

distribution in the EU in non-agricultural areas. They

are one of the EMPHASIS project pathosystems, and

the aim is to develop new and effective integrated

pest management (IPM) methods (a combination

of biological, chemical and mechanical methods)

to control harmful alien pests, where the biological

method is the main element of the crop protection

instrument. (www.ewrs.org )


First International



spp. Containment

with Integrated Pest

Management Methods

Riga, Latvia

November 29, 2016


Third Consortium

Meeting and First

Project Review


Szentendre, Hungary

October 12–14, 2016

This workshop for Baltic countries, Scandinavia,

and other EU countries on controlling hogweeds

in non-agricultural areas using new IPM methods

(biological, chemical and mechanical) will be

presented by Integrētās Audzēšanas Skola with the

aim of transferring knowledge and technology to

stakeholders and project partners. The results of two

EMPHASIS project cropping seasons, developed by

WP3, will be presented, along with practical solutions

and on-farm experiments (WP4) demonstrating the

economic and environmental value of IPM to control

alien and native pests.

The third consortium meeting and first project review

meeting will be hosted by the Regional Environmental

Center. A first day of preparation for WP leaders will

be followed by the two-day review meeting with

the GA, AB, EC project officer and external reviewer.

The WP leaders will be asked to focus on objectives,

progress compared to planned activities (months

1 to 18), and future plans (months 19 to 36). At the

close of the meeting, the outcome of the review and

recommendations will be presented by the EC project

officer and external reviewers.



ISSUE 02 July 2016


EMPHASIS for the


Green Week

Turin, Italy

May 30, 2016

EMPHASIS for the Environment”, an art initiative

combining performance arts and science, was

organised in the context of Green Week 2016

(www.greenweek2016.eu). It covered the

topic of plant health and the prevention of the

spread of new pathogens, pests and weeds

across countries due to globalisation and climate

change. The event took place in the impressive

baroque Teatro Carignano in Turin. Using a

very original approach, artists, singers, worldrenowned

professionals working in the fields

of green architecture, wine making and travel

writing, conveyed to the audience key messages

about the role of plant health in environment

and landscape protection, food production and

human health. Free of charge and open to the

general public, the event focused on plants as

an essential resource for future urban systems,

and on how plant health is essential in order to

guarantee biodiversity conservation and a better

world for future generations.



Green Week

Brussels, Belgium

June 1, 2016

On June 1, 2016, in the framework of

the EMPHASIS project, the workshop

“Stakeholder dialogue to foster investment in

agriculture and integrated pest management

(IPM) strategies” was organised at the

Delegation of the Government of Catalonia

to the European Union in Brussels. The workshop

was an official partner event of European Green

Week, promoted by the European Commission.

Participants were warmly welcomed by the

permanent representative of the Catalan

Government to the EU, Amadeu Altafaj.

The goal of the workshop was to learn more

about stakeholders’ perceptions of how to

protect the EU agricultural and forestry sector

from both alien and native pests through

prediction and prevention. The workshop

brought together representatives of industry,

policy advisors, regional officers, farmers and

forestry associations, agrarian consultancies,

environmental NGOs, natural and social sciences

researchers and the general public to discuss the

technologies developed by project researchers as

well as cross-cutting issues related to European

plant health issues. Preliminary survey results on

pest management addressed to both multipliers

and end users were presented and discussed.

The workshop featured 10 roundtables: six

highlighting different EMPHASIS technologies;

and four related to cross-cutting issues, all

of which were described by moderators and

discussed with participants.

The event was positively evaluated by

participants in terms of its organisation, the

relevance of the issues discussed, and the quality

of the networking.

Communication regarding IPM technological

advantages was suggested as one of the main

issues for present and future exploitation by EU

end users, along with the need for cost reduction

and the availability of decision-making tools.



ISSUE 02 July 2016


Designing the

Circular Economy

Green Week

Turin, Italy

May 31, 2016

to-cradle design. Mr. McDonough is a

globally recognised expert in the field

of sustainable development, and is the

architect of many flagship examples of

sustainable design. Italian journalist Laura

De Donato gave the opening address.



for Endless Benefit

Green Week

Turin, Italy

May 31, 2016

AgriNewTech srl, a spin-off of the

University of Turin, and Circolo del Design

of Turin also invited William McDonough

to give a presentation at the conference

as part of the discussions about green

building, cradle-to-cradle design, and the

role of natural systems in innovative and

multifunctional infrastructure design. In

addition, Mr. McDonough presented case

studies of Italian and other European

Agroinnova, the Centre of Competence of

the University of Turin, and the Chamber

of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and

Agriculture of Turin invited renowned

American architect William McDonough

to speak at a conference on environmental

sustainability, green building and cradleprojects,

with a focus on the future

of cradle-to-cradle design and urban




ISSUE 02 July 2016


John Mumford, Imperial College London

The first two WP1 deliverables were

submitted in 2016. They describe the tools

that EMPHASIS is developing to support

technology and innovation targeting,

evaluation, stakeholder engagement and

decision making. The EMPHASIS project

aims to produce 37 diverse and innovative

pest management and surveillance

measures for a broad range of important

pest species in the EU. These measures

are being produced and tested within

WPs 2 and 3.

EMPHASIS Deliverable 1.1 describes

an analytical framework, applied as a

dynamic tool throughout the project, to

link descriptions, test results, evaluations

and potential commercial plans for the

measures. The Excel-based analytical

framework tool has been produced

to make these technology/innovation

support functions more integrated and

accessible. It provides an overall structure

for evaluating the various measures,

according to the specific attributes

designed by their developers, and

also within the wider context of other

stakeholders. It currently incorporates

the benefits or added value, as perceived

by the technologists, compared to

options currently available, with a list of

questions to elicit qualitative feedback

on perceptions from stakeholders

about performance indicators for the

technologies under development.

Pest management challenges and

opportunities were analysed using a

DPSIR model (drivers, pressures, states,

impacts and responses) relevant to

the stakeholder groups making pest

management decisions: technology and

service providers, policy makers and

consumers. The analysis will guide other

work packages as pest management

innovations are developed, tested and


EMPHASIS Deliverable 1.2 describes a

learning platform, much of which will be

housed in the analytical framework tool.

EMPHASIS is a participatory research

project where stakeholder engagement

goes beyond merely the dissemination

of results at the end of the project. Based

on a co-development approach, potential

users and their circumstances are taken

into account from the beginning in order

to understand opportunities and potential

obstacles to the use of technologies.

There is no “one multi-actor approach”

that fits all technologies: the learning

platform therefore aims to help scientists

take appropriate and systematic steps to

bring relevant solutions that will be taken

up by end users. Part of the engagement

activity revolves around the eliciting of

stakeholder needs and constraints by means

of carefully constructed surveys and workshop

discussions, both of which have already


Across all work packages and partner

countries, over 100 different organisations will

be actively involved in the EMPHASIS project,

covering the private and public sector, as well

as NGOs, academia and civil society. Through

workshops, meetings, field trials, trainings and

press releases, EMPHASIS is hoping to bring

about actual changes in policy and practice,

as well as raise awareness and encourage

long-lasting collaborations. The learning

platform will record, analyse and support this

very diverse multi-actor approach, which is a

requirement in Horizon2020 projects, thus

enhancing technology development. As a

first step, lead scientists for individual tasks

provided information on planned stakeholder

engagement, and the annual monitoring of

actual engagement will show how organised

activities between scientists and stakeholders

inform and shape the innovation pathways.

EMPHASIS will take into account the European

Academies’ Science Advisory Council report

Risks to plant health: European Union priorities

for tackling emerging plant pests and diseases

(EASAC, 2014), which identifies three priority

areas in which action is needed in order to

achieve EU goals related to the analysis and

management of plant health risks:

• Surveillance systems: Actions to

improve the monitoring of pests with the

establishment of early warning systems;

enhance linkages between databases;

introduce new forms of monitoring; and

extend surveillance to natural habitats,

also taking into consideration possible new

challenges such as bioterrorism.

• Research and training: Research addressing

diagnosis; the biology, ecology and

epidemiology of plant pests and pathogens

and their relationships with hosts and

vectors; plant pest resistance; biological

and cultural strategies for sustainable pest

management; and modelling, prediction

and extrapolation. In addition, networking

between disciplines and sectors should be


• Innovation: EASAC recommends the

translation of knowledge from research

to practical applications. The project will

develop innovative responses to pest

challenges. Practical solutions will then be

evaluated at micro and macro level and

validated on farms. The involvement of

SMEs will result in marketable products.

The EASAC report also stresses that the

protection and promotion of plant health cannot

be tackled successfully without raising political

and public awareness of the importance of plant

health and resilience for sustainable agriculture,

food security and environmental protection.

Figure: WP1 covers four tasks that build on the DPSIR analysis model, widely used in Europe

and North America


Task 1.1: Conceptual Framework

• DPSIR analysis (macro scale)

Task 1.3: Evaluaon Framework

• Ex ante

• Ex post

• DPSIR analysis (macro scale)

Making task outputs

accessible to stakeholders

Inputs on end-user


WP 2+3

• Technology


Task 1.2: Learning Plaorm

• Stakeholder engagement

and feedback


Determinants of decision making



WP 4

• On-farm experiments

and demonstraons

Task 1.3: Evaluaon Framework

• Ex ante

• Ex post

• DPSIR analysis (macro scale)


with stakeholders

WP 5

• Disseminaon

and training plan


with stakeholders



ISSUE 02 July 2016



XXI National Meeting of

the Italian Society of Plant

Pathology (SIPAV)

Turin, Italy

September 21–23, 2015


Workshop on the Evaluation

and Regulation of the Use of

Biological Control Agents in

the EPPO Region

Budapest, Hungary

November 23–24, 2015

The XXI National Meeting of the Italian

Society of Plant Pathology was organised

by Agroinnova (Centre of Competence for

Innovation in the Agro-environmental Field)

and the Department of Agricultural, Forestry

and Food Science (DISAFA) of the University

of Turin. The successful congress attracted

around 150 participants, 30 presentations,

116 posters and 146 submitted abstracts.

The topic of the meeting was plant

protection four food and energy, and

presentations were divided into for

sessions: aetiology and epidemiology;

genomics and plant-pathogen interaction;

post-harvest diseases and mycotoxins; and

disease control. Studies on fungi, viruses,

bacteria and phytoplasmas were included.

One evening session was devoted to

presentations by 20 young researchers,

selected from 41 applicants.

The opening lecture by Christian

Patermann, former director of the

Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food

Research Directorate-General, focused

on bio-based economy and plant and

The workshop planning committee

comprised members of the EPPO Secretariat,

representatives of the European Cooperation

in Science and Technology (COST) action

SMARTER, the Institute of Biological

Control (IOBC), the International Biocontrol

Manufacturers Association (IBMA), the Centre

for Agriculture and Biosciences International

(CABI), and the Ministry of Agriculture of

Hungary. Participants from the European Food

Safety Authority (EFSA) and from the EMPHASIS

project also contributed. The key conclusions

of the meeting were the following: properly

authorised releases of BCAs are of benefit for

crop protection and for the environment, with

little evidence of adverse effects; and a more

harmonised approach across countries could

increase opportunities for biological control

use and ensure that risks are addressed in a

more coherent and consistent way.

An EMPHASIS white paper will build on these

conclusions, summarising and explaining the

main points and actions being taken within the

EPPO to take forward the recommendations.

The white paper will be available at the

beginning of the autumn.

See: http://archives.eppo.int/



agro research perspectives. Invited

lecturers included Mike Jeger, chair of the

EFSA Plant Health Panel, who spoke on

network epidemiology and plant trade;

science journalist Piero Bianucci, who

focused on scientific communication; and

Gregory Kemmitt of Dow AgroSciences,

whose presentation outlined fungicide


EMPHASIS partners gave presentations

about the invasive forest pathogen

Heterobasidion irregulare and the native

sibling species H. annosum, and about

the control of soil-borne pathogens by

suppressive compost. The 2015 Professor

Giovanni Scaramuzzi award for the

best PhD thesis was given to Dr. Houda

Banani (Agroinnova) for “Unraveling the

tritrophic interactions between fruit

host-pathogen-antagonist in the postharvest


The XXII SIPAV congress will take place in

Rome on September 19–22, 2016.

See: http://www.sipav.org/main/



ISSUE 02 July 2016



Second consortium meeting

Brussels, Belgium

January 20–22, 2016

Joint workshops on January 20 focused on

interactions and complementarities among

work packages. Discussions focused on the

analytical framework for pest management

challenges and opportunities, possible

pathways to enhance learning, stakeholder

engagement and evaluation options.

Practical solutions for the management

and eradication of pests and diseases and

open-ended multi-actor activities were

debated. Practical solutions for surveillance

and monitoring, such as LAMP, sentinel

plots, insect surveillance and Genie

software/hardware development were

considered. Participants in the plenary

session included project officer Charles de

Chefdebien and members of the Advisory

Board Nicola Spence (chief plant officer at

the Department for Environment, Food and

Rural Affairs, UK) and Jim Stack (director of

the Great Plains Diagnostic Network, Kansas

State University, USA).


Green Week Workshop:

Stakeholder Dialogue

to Foster Investment in

Agriculture and Integrated

Pest Management Strategies

Brussels, Belgium

June 1, 2016

The workshop was an official partner event

of EU Green Week 2016, and the aim was to

find out about the pest management needs

of stakeholders and to focus on strategic

innovative technologies. The event brought

together 56 participants from diverse

backgrounds (the agribusiness sector, policy

advisors, farmers and forestry associations,

environmental NGOs, natural and social

sciences researchers and the general

public) to discuss perceptions of EMPHASIS

technologies and cross-cutting issues

relevant to European plant health. During

the event, experts presented the preliminary

results of two surveys on pest management,

launched within the project to address both

multipliers (open until June 30) and end

users (open until August 31). The final panel

discussion highlighted the importance of

communication regarding the advantages of

technologies, the training needs of growers,

and further initiatives to facilitate behavioural

change by EU end users.



ISSUE 02 July 2016


work package 1

work package 2

work package 3

EMPHASIS partners Imperial College and Fera have begun the task of cataloguing the wide

range of control, diagnostic and surveillance technologies being developed by the project.

Each is being followed through a systematic assessment of its technology readiness level,

a process that derives from the space programme: It really is rocket science! The database

on the various products and techniques ensures that information on the technologies and

their purposes helps to determine the design of demonstrations and business plans that will

enhance their future uptake. Each technology has target crops, target pests, and measures

of advantages that can be tested in the field against indicators elicited from stakeholders

and from formal economic and social analyses. This is an ongoing task and the next steps

involve building an interactive software tool for the information to make objectives and

progress accessible to EMPHASIS partners and other stakeholders. This tool will contribute

to partners’ efforts to learn from each other as development continues.

Work has progressed in four areas:

Isolate collections: We are preparing an extended isolate collection for establishing a

standardised cross-reactivity/validation panel to provide a robust QC strategy for LAMP

assays. The isolate collection will be shared across all members of the WP.

Assay development: A review has been completed on the availability and critical evaluation

of LAMP assays from the literature. LAMP assays have been designed successfully for

Leptosphaeria maculans, L. biglobosa and Alternaria alternata. Design and testing is under

way for assays to detect A. solani, Pyrenopeziza brassicae, Verticillium longisporum and

Peronospora belbahrii.

Training: Two training courses have been hosted on the LAMP technology, covering running

assays in real time, the design of assays and troubleshooting.

Sentinel plots: Sentinel plots of susceptible wheat varieties are being cultivated in the

UK, France, Hungary and Italy for detecting incursions of Puccinia graminis. An article on

emerging pathogens, including a reference to EMPHASIS sentinel plots, has been published

in the NAB Landmark magazine (circulation 2,500).

The goal of this WP is to provide practical tools to facilitate the effective implementation of

the principles of integrated protection included in Directive 2009/128/EC to address pest

threats (insect pests, pathogens, weeds) in agriculture, forestry and natural ecosystems.

The strategies for integrated protection will be based on biological control, host plant

resistance, cultural control (including sanitation and eradication), optimised chemical

control and semiochemicals. Existing pest management methods will be optimised, and

new and innovative pest management approaches will be developed.

Dicyphus spp. are generalist predatory bugs that can be an alternative to current biological

control agents for the management of whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) in tomatoes. Laboratory

and semi-field experiments are being carried out to study some functional and life history

traits of Dicyphus spp. to assess their potential as biocontrol agents.

The codling moth Cydia pomonella is a key pest in pome fruit orchards in most of Europe.

Insect sex pheromones are an increasingly successful and effective method for insect pest

management. In Spain, field experiments are being carried out to improve this method

through new pheromone puffers, which release pheromones only at appropriate times.



ISSUE 02 July 2016


work package 4

work package 5

work package 6

Several field trials have been set up to fine tune practical solutions at farm level. Two are

highlighted below.

Agrobio started a semi-field greenhouse experiment in Spain with the predatory bug

Dicyphus tamaninii to control whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci). Whiteflies are difficult to control

due to their resistance to many insecticides, and the flies are vectors for plant viruses.

Predatory bugs that are currently used can damage the plants and fruit and have problems

establishing in the crop. The predatory bug Dicyphus might be a good alternative candidate.

In the experiment, Dicyphus is compared to the currently used predator. Until now, both

predators have proved very efficient in controlling whiteflies. In the next stage, the pest

pressure will be increased to see how the predators respond.

In June 2015, a mating disruption product from Semios was approved to control codling

moths in fruit and nuts in the Netherlands, which means that growers can start using this

method. This is a big step forward in implementing this practical solution. Within Emphasis,

already last year some growers started experiments with this technique together with

Wageningen University and Research Centre.

Current activities on the dissemination of project activities and training opportunities are

contributing to policy-making processes.

Multiple communication channels, including social media, are being used by WP5 to disseminate

project research findings and to stimulate existing and new networks. One good example is the

dissemination of a survey among farmers to stimulate discussion on current needs for integrated

sustainable pest management.

Training activities are an important forum for communication and for the identification of new

research opportunities. The exchange programme between partners can be a good basis for

replicating pilot activities at national and international levels.

Regular database management and the updating of the dissemination and publications table,

stakeholder mapping and training plan are almost everyday activities of WP5.

Key outcomes are the second edition of the newsletter, and the HabiThreats software outline by

the end of 2016.

It is now 18 months since the launch of the EMPHASIS project. During this first project

period, WP6 has ensured project governance by coordinating, monitoring and structuring

project research and innovation activities, interacting with the Research Executive Agency,

ensuring progress against the work plan, supporting the achievement of relevant milestones

on schedule, and submitting project deliverables.

The EMPHASIS consortium meeting and the second project meeting took place in Brussels on

January 20–22, 2016. The joint workshops focused on interactions and complementarities

among work packages. Project officer Charles de Chefdebien and Advisory Board members

Nicola Spence (chief plant officer at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural

Affairs, UK) and Jim Stack (director of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network, Kansas State

University, USA) provided interesting input concerning the main directions from both a

management and scientific perspective.

The first project review meeting, with the participation of external experts and the

project officer, will be held on October 12–14, 2016, at the head office of the Regional

Environmental Center in Szentendre, Hungary. The event will be an opportunity to assess

progress in relation to the project work plan, and to monitor the achievement of project

goals and objectives.



ISSUE 02 July 2016

We hope you have found this newsletter interesting and informative. We welcome your views on any of the

issues covered: please email agroinnova@unito.it

You are invited to distribute the newsletter to any other interested parties.


The information expressed in this newsletter reflects the views of the contributors. The European

Commission is not liable for any of the information contained therein. The EMPHASIS consortium cannot

accept any liability for the accuracy of the content.

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Integrētās Audzēšanas Skola



AGROINNOVA, Centre of Competence for Innovation

in the Agro-environmental Field,

University of Turin, Italy

Largo Paolo Braccini, 2

(former Via Leonardo da Vinci, 44)

10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy

Phone: +39 011 6708539

Fax: +39 011 6709307

E-mail: agroinnova@unito.it



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