The TROPICSAFE final conference was celebrated on days 3,4 and 5 April, on Corsica. Held by INRAE CIRAD – one of the project partners – the event was presented on a hybrid format, both in person and online. Watch here the recordings of Day 1 (Grapevine Yellows), Day 2 (“Huanglongbing” in citrus) and Day 3 (coconut Lethal yellowing).
The programme consisted on three days of knowledge sharing, dedicating one of each to a insect-borne prokaryote-associated disease studied by the project over the last five years. Each day, several researchers explained the investigations made, the results obtained and the knowledge generated to the nearly 300 registered people from 45 different countries.
For the in-person attendees, there was an extra activity every morning to complement the experience.
On day 1, the organisation prepared a guided tour throughout the city of Bastia just before starting the final conference. The first day was dedicated to Grapevine Yellows and how it is affecting different parts of the world such as South Africa, Chile or Italy. The creation of diverse assays and tests to identify, detect and monitor the disease were discussed, as well as the economic and social analysis of the proposed innovation against Grapevine Yellows.
TROPICSAFE’s researchers from around the world, such as Nicoletta Contaldo, Nicola Fiore, Kerstin Krüger, or Mogens Nicolaisen, were the ones in charge of explaining the results of the project and answering some of the questions the participants had to ask. You can check the full programme of the first day here.
The second day started by visiting INRAE’s citrus collection field in San Giuliano, thanks to the collaboration and guidance of Yann Froelicher. There, the participants of the final conference were able to get to know and taste several varieties of citrus fruits straight from the tree.
After tasting some savoury fruits, the second session of the conference started with the viewing of the final TROPICSAFE video, which is now available on the project’s YouTube channel and shows in less than 10 minutes the highlights of the last five years of research.
Presentations about the “Huanglongbing” disease of citrus began with the participation of one of the advisory board members, Leandro Pena, explaining briefly how the disease is spreading and its worldwide impact today.
The diverse phytoplasmas associated with this disease were explained through the investigations and trials by researchers from around the globe, such as coordinator Assunta Bertaccini from Italy, Gerhard Pietersen from South Africa, Maritza Luis-Pantoja from Cuba, Marcin Maëva from Guadeloupe or Alejandro Tena from Spain. Here’s the full programme.
On day 3, the journey started again on the fields, thanks to the hosts, INRAE and Cirad. This time, the attendees enjoyed an explanation of the citrus breeding programme taking place in Corsica to create and select excellent varieties of mandarin, and grapefruit-like.
On the last session of the event, the main focus was Lethal Yellowing in palms. An overview of this disease worldwide was given by Dr. Wayne Myrie from the Coconut Industry Board. Phytoplasmas affecting different countries, alternative hosts, studies on the identification of vectors, or potential varieties for rehabilitating the coconut industry were some of the topics covered in the presentations. You can read the full programme here.
The three sessions ended with a warm greeting from the project coordinator, Assunta Bertaccini, to all the online attendees, who attentively followed all the presentations from several continents.
All the in-person participants were also given a physical copy of the handbook with all 23 innovation factsheets generated throughout the project. The digital copy can be found on the website of the project in the four official languages of TROPICSAFE: English, Spanish, French and Italian.
For maximizing the impact of the conference and further disseminate the knowledge generated, two special guests were invited – Muriel Suffert, scientific officer at the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) News, and Beastie the Bug, their stuffed mascot who has travelled 425836 km around the world to raise awareness on plant health for the International Year of Plant Health 2020.
And for those who have not been able to attend, either in person or online, the recordings of the presentations are now available on the TROPICSAFE YouTube channel for free consultation.
On behalf of all the project partners, we are proud of how hard we have worked and of the results we have achieved, and we would like to thank all the people who have collaborated and followed us these five years. Here’s to more scientific research projects!