Project Addressing Crop Disease Receives €1m in Funding

SCOPE, a new research project addressing the issue of crop disease in two of Ireland’s most important crops (barley and potato), has received an investment of over €1 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine.

Crop disease is one of the biggest threats to Ireland’s tillage sector and SCOPE – a project run by Tyndall National Institute, UCC, Dublin City University and Teagasc – brings together expertise from three independent but complementary disciplines and is focused on mitigating the threats posed by two of the primary crop diseases.

Teagasc and DCU will develop specific antibodies based on their previous successful research in this area. Tyndall National Institute will then use these antibodies to develop pathogen-specific nanosensors which will deliver real time, on-site detection of disease in plants.

Speaking at the announcement at Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed said: “I am delighted to announce over €1m in funding for this important, collaborative research project, which has the potential to make a very real significant contribution to the sustainability and competitiveness of the Irish tillage sector through innovative solutions to address the major challenge of high crop disease pressures.”

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Barley is the largest cereal crop in Ireland and factoring in projections for the national herd, demand for feed will increase significantly as will demand for malting barley due to planned expansion by Malsters, and although potato consumption has declined in recent years, €162m is still spent by consumers annually on potatoes. SCOPE aims to verify the presence, or absence, of disease strains as early and as quickly as possible to protect crop yields and reduce dependency on pesticides.”

Pictured at the announcement at Tyndall National Institute are Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed and Dr Alan O’Riordan, Research Fellow, Tyndall National Institute