This facility is working to unify collections of plant-pathogenic fungi, plant-associated fungi, bacteria, agricultural weeds, nematodes, pest insects and crop samples, to provide a single outward-facing, searchable specimen database. This brings together the various collections at Fera, Rothamsted Research and CABI in a virtual environment, to improve industry’s ability to search for promising candidate isolates for a new generation of candidate pesticides and bio-pesticides.
Why is there a need
This resource will drive new insights into the population dynamics and management of biotic crop threats. The value of such collections rises over time, as new questions require a historical perspective – only accessible through the collections. There has also been increasing interest from commercial organisations keen to exploit such collections to extend plant protection product life. CHAPs collection will be an unrivalled resource within the UK for the crop health community, built on optimal storage of new and existing pathogens which will be characterised using state-of-the-art methodologies and which will be vital for identifying crop pathogens and monitoring their spread or mitigating their potential (re)introduction to the UK.
What is the Asset
A complementary new repository of specimen DNA and organisms is being gathered from field sampling networks. CHAP uses its facilities, for example, to grow-on and screen fungal samples, then store and preserve them in liquid nitrogen for future use. This allows us to maintain and provide historic baseline species, isolates, strains and populations of insects and pathogens and weeds that are important biotic threats to UK crop production.
Why is it of interest to industry
These specimens will be used by commercial and academic communities to understand population properties of different biotic crop threats and their variables. Genetically- and geographically-varied field samples of interest to the agrichemical industry can then be tested against the standardised reference collection, an important efficiency support and audit requirement for future product registrations. We can now maintain and provide species, isolates, strains and populations collected in different decades and years to explore the origin and evolution of specific biotic threats, including those that have resulted in market failures.