The virology-phytoplasmology laboratory performs molecular and serological diagnoses as well as the epidemiological monitoring of viral and phytoplasma diseases of plants cultivated in Switzerland (all crops), and of bacterial diseases in field crops and special crops (except for arboriculture and horticulture). It is also responsible for the diagnosis of certified material intended for import and export. Viruses, phytoplasmas and bacteria are to blame for sizeable economic and qualitative losses in all cultivated plants, and certain of these are quarantine organisms. There is no direct means of combating them, and their identification requires rapid, reliable and streamlined laboratory diagnostic methods.
The development and maintenance of specific antibodies remains a priority and falls within the scope of a private-public partnership for the development of Elisa tests applied on a large scale in the majority of cultivated plants. The research and development of molecular methods or methods for producing new antibodies by phage display are projects currently being developed in collaboration with other research institutes. Indirect control measures against these diseases involve the propagation of healthy plant material. This activity is part of the certification process requiring thousands of analyses of basic material for potatoes, grapevines and fruit trees every year.