The vines : the camels possible cure to the virus of the fanleaf

Health 18 August, 2017


Published the 17.08.2017 at 18: 59


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The virus of the fanleaf, this means nothing to you ? And yet, it is the obsession of every viticultueur. It occurs in most wine-growing regions and affects two-thirds of the French vineyards. Good news : researchers from the university of Strasbourg would have found a way to protect the vines, using… of antibodies of a camel !

The process, published in the scientific journal Plant Biotechnology Journal, and relayed by France Bleue, is very inventive. Scientists have sought a way to immunize plants vines against the virus, a kind of vaccine for vineyards in the sum. However, camelids have the particularity of producing anti-bodies that are smaller than those of other mammals. The researchers therefore exposed camels to the virus of the fanleaf, totally harmless to humans and animals, so that they produce anti-bodies specific against that germ. It is then only a part of these antibodies that is used to be injected into the vine.

A test in a natural environment

The technique tested in the laboratory has yielded inconclusive results. The virus does not spread in branches that have received an injection of these “nanobodies” produced by the camels. Now all that remains is to show that the efficiency is the same in the open ground, with a mode of infection, ” natural “, that is to say via a worm, present in the earth.

But it is here that researchers could see their draft compromise, as the opposition against GMOS is strong in the wine scene. In 2010, similar research conducted by the national Institute of agronomic research (INRA) had been abruptly halted, after the destruction of an experimental plot, reminiscent of France Blue.

Christophe Ritzenthaler, co-authors of the work on the anti-bodies of camels stresses in the columns of the media regional have ” only proven that it was possible to immunize plants against disease. But is that the company wants this solution, or not ? This is not for me to decide “. Only the future will tell if the winemaker are ready this time to take the plunge, to protect their vineyards from the scourge of the short-knotted.