Vitiswiss visits the NCCR Plant Survival

press release of March 27, 2006

On March 30, the NCCR (National Centre of Competence in Research) Plant Survival will welcome a delegation of Swiss grapevine professionals attending the Vitiswiss general assembly that will be held the same day in Neuchâtel. The highlight of the programme:  a visit of the laboratories specialised in the control of downy mildew, insect pests and the interactions between roots, earthworms and fungi.

The idea came about during a meeting between Professor Jean-Michel Gobat, director of the Soil and Vegetation Laboratory at the University of Neuchâtel and member of the NCCR Plant Survival, and Sébastien Cartillier. A scientific collaborator at the cantonal service for viticulture, Mr Cartillier was in charge of organising in the Trois-Lacs region the 2006 general assembly of Vitiswiss, the association for integrated production in Swiss viticulture, to which he thus added a visit to the NCCR Plant Survival. 

The wine-growing consultant from Neuchâtel sees this event as a good opportunity to "sensitise the Vitiswiss members to current grapevine research in order to create close links between NCCR laboratories and growers."  Both organisations have the same objectives. The NCCR Plant Survival develops solutions for a sustainable, environmentally friendly agriculture, while Vitiswiss issues similar directives that enable the grower to obtain the Vinatura® label of quality. Hence, the preference is given to biological methods for the control of diseases and insect pests, which in turn reduces the use of chemical pesticides.

Studying the defence mechanisms used by certain grapevine varieties against downy mildew is in perfect agreement with this philosophy, as professor Jean-Marc Neuhaus, vice-director of the NCCR Plant Survival, will explain on March 30. Patrick Guerin, director of research in animal physiology, will talk about an elegant control method for grapevine moths, whose larvae cause considerable damage to grapes. This method consists in attracting males to lures containing a drop of insecticide with the help of sexual pheromones, which are normally released by females for mating purposes.

For the sixty expected visitors, the tour will finish with a short foray into the rhizosphere. Jean-Michel Gobat will discuss the soil structure around grapevine roots, the way it forms and the benefits derived from relationships between roots, earthworms and fungi.

more info

date and time:
30.03.2006; 15:15-17:20

Institut de chimie, av. de Bellevaux 51, Neuchâtel

programme (word file)