- EPPO Diagnostics conference
EPPO Diagnostics conferenceIn May, Fera successfully hosted the European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) conference on diagnostics. Following previous meetings in 2000 and 2003 (both held in the Netherlands), this was the first time the UK had played host. With over 140 plant health scientists and diagnosticians attending from 29 different countires, this is the largest international meeting dedicated to plant pest and pathogen diagnostics held anywhere. In addition to an open general session on new methods and approaches, the meeting also focussed on four specific themes: DNA barcoding and sequence-based identification, novel detection methods including field-testing, advances in array-based systems and quality systems for phytosanitary diagnostics. In total there were 44 speakers, covering topics as diverse as next generation sequencing for identifying unknown viruses, the acoustic detection of insects in wood and the potential use of satellite imaging. The programme also showcased the depth of work being carried out in this field by Fera staff, with a total of 7 speakers: Alan Inman, Ian Adams, Jenny Tomlinson, Neil Boonham, David Galsworthy, Amanda Reynolds and Rachel Glover.
In addition to the conference itself, there were also associated workshops on topics including containment of quarantine pests, quality assurance in diagnostic laboratories and even a practical session on whole genome amplification, linked to a collaborative project being run by Fera and Dutch colleagues at Plant Research International.
In addition to being a successful scientific meeting, the conference was also a first for Fera in terms of sustainability. Working with the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), it was estimated that the meeting would produce 150 tonnes of extra carbon (mostly through international air travel). To help offset this, a portion of the registration fee has been used to fund a tree planting project in Dumfries & Galloway. It is envisaged that this will act as a model for future international meetings held at Fera.
28th May 2009