Pests and Plant Diseases

The research area Pests and Plant Diseases deals with the identification and diagnosis of new pests, also focusing on understanding their biology and spread. It carries out investigations into the ecology of pests, studying the entire host plant range and habitat. It also conducts epidemiological studies, exploring the connection with the phenology and prognosis of pests. These studies are aimed at identifying objective foundations for the development of effective prevention and control strategies to protect plants and promote healthy crops.



In the working group Entomology, studies are carried out on the biology and ecology of harmful and beneficial arthropods. The occurrence of new, invasive harmful organisms in the various agricultural crops is also continuously monitored and documented.


  • Molecular and classical identification of insects and mites
  • Biology and ecology of harmful arthropods and their predators and antagonists
  • Biotic and abiotic influences within host plant complexes
  • Studies on food webs, host plants and associations of the most important phytophagous insects and mites (functional biodiversity)
  • Plant stress and infestation by insects and mites
  • Development of life tables and studies on fitness, phenology and diapause behaviour of harmful arthropods
  • Establishment of breeding protocols of harmful arthropods and their antagonists




Dr. Manfred Wolf
+39 0471 969 643


In the working group Phytopathology, basic studies are carried out on the biology of phytopathogenic fungi and bacteria.

Particular attention is paid to the investigation of the life cycle and epidemiology of emerging plant pests in South Tyrol. In addition, innovative active substances (BCAs; biocontrol agents) are tested on a laboratory scale for their effectiveness against phytopathogens.

Areas of activity:

  • Studies on the fundamentals of phytopathogen biology
  • Sensitivity testing of new active substances on a small scale in the laboratory
  • Studies on resistance development
  • Support for the development and adaptation of plant protection strategies


The use of healthy propagation material is a prerequisite for the success of an agricultural crop.

The Laboratory of Virology and Diagnostics carries out the relevant examinations of propagation material in fruit growing, viticulture, horticulture and ornamental plants as part of the legally prescribed health checks.
In particular, diagnostic examinations of plant samples are carried out for pathogens of the virus, viroid, phytoplasma, bacterial and fungal groups. 
The laboratory is commissioned by the Plant Protection Service of the Autonomous Province of Bozen/Bolzano for phytopathological examinations as part of the phytosanitary controls carried out by the Service and is responsible for the detection of quarantine diseases and diseases subject to compulsory control.

The Laboratory of Virology and Diagnostics has been accredited according to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard since 2022.

Accredited analyses: Further information on accreditation can be found under the following link:

  • Testing of the scion cuttings and rootstock mother quarters for viruses, phytoplasmas and virus-like diseases

  • Testing of the Laimburg vine clones as well as all planting material in the clone selection for virus diseases

  • Ongoing monitoring of the stone fruit stand for Sharka infestation

  • Testing of seed potatoes for bacterial quarantine diseases



Dr. Yazmid Reyes Domínguez
+39 0471 969 641