Department of Phytopathology
Τhe objective of the Department of Phytopathology is the study of plant diseases caused by parasitic (fungi, bacteria, phytoplasmas, viruses, viroids) and non-parasitic (nutrient deficits, environmental impacts on plant health, etc.) agents aiming at protecting and sustaining the national plant capital.
The research and other scientific activities carried out by the Department of Phytopathology are driven by the actual needs and problems of Greek agriculture. Research fields include the development of modern diagnostic methods of plant diseases, the study of systematic taxonomy, physiology, biology, genetics, epidemiology and population dynamics of plant pathogens, as well as the etiology of non-parasitic disorders. The development of innovative disease control strategies embraces research in plant–pathogen–environment molecular interactions, microbe pathogenesis and plant defense mechanisms. At a more applied level, research is also conducted on the development and implementation of methods for the prevention of introduction into and spread within the country of harmful microorganisms, development of biological and low input management strategies, as well as on the development of management schemes regarding crops, protection and remediation of soil quality, and agricultural wastes.
The Department of Phytopathology carries out the official surveys for EU quarantine microorganisms, aiming at the maintenance of the “Protected zone” status of the country, as well as the phytosanitary laboratory testing on imported and locally produced plants and plant products, according to the European and national legislation. The Department provides services regarding the diagnosis of plant diseases, the analyses of plant tissues, soils, irrigation water and soil improvement products, and recommends guidelines for the successful management of the diagnosed problems with absolute respect for the people and the environment. It evaluates the technical data submitted by fertilizer manufacturers for the acquisition of a permanent license allowing the marketing and distribution of fertilizers. It also ensures the maintenance and enrichment of the Benaki Phytopathological Institute Collection (BPIC) of plant pathogenic microorganisms, and supplies pure cultures for scientific purposes.
The Department employs high quality scientific staff and has all the modern laboratory equipment and facilities required to carry out its scientific and research activities. It collaborates with the international scientific community, participating in European research projects, networks, as well as in European and International Plant Health Organisations.
Head of the Department of Phytopathology: Dr Christina Varveri, Head Research Scientist
Antigoni Akrivou, MSc, Agronomist
The Department comprises the Laboratories of: