PataFEST

Created Sept. 18, 2023, 12:42 p.m.
Updated Jan. 17, 2024, 1:37 p.m.

PataFEST (Potato crop effective management strategies to tackle future pest threats) is a project funded by the European Union with a consortium of 18 partners from Spain, Ecuador, Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Israel, Italy and the Czech Republic. The project is based on the potato and its vulnerability to a variety of pests and soil-borne pathogen diseases. The various risks of these could lead to important economic damages within the potato industry, as well as significant food wastage.

Aim

PataFEST aims to provide a powerful European initiative, focusing on sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to treat and control the presence of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) pest and its vector in plant, and address the incidence of soil-borne pathogens during potato postharvest storage.

The main objectives of the project are:

Studying pest dissemination at a molecular level - to identify which potato varieties are resistant to the CLso pest

Implementing innovative preharvest solutons - including coatings and sensors, which will also be useful when controling soil pathogen incidence during storage

Developing real-time tools and revolutionising postharvest technologies - including mobile app image analysis and AI predictive models, which will empower farmers to protect their crops proactively.

How to participate

Molecular Biology Experiments

To engage citizen scientists within the PataFEST project, the partner organisation ECSA (European Citizen Science Association) will host two molecular biology experiments in 2025 - One at the "Long Night of Science" in the Natural History Museum in Berlin (Germany) and one at the Experimental field station of Anecoop in Valencia (Spain). The workshops will be open for citizens from all backgrounds with a strong interest in the natural sciences.

Field trials

Since one aspect of the PataFEST project is the development of sustainable solutions to prevent the spread of potato tests, field trials will take place in order to test those solutions. For these field trials, PataFEST is looking for interested citizen scientists in Germany and Spain with access to a garden (urban and community gardens included), who are interested in testing the solutions and share its effects on the potato plant. The participants will be asked to take part in a workshop, which will introduce the solutions as well as their application and will then be asked to publish their findings on the PataFEST platform.

AI Image-based detection tools

Furthermore, citizens will be invited to collect and submit data for an AI image detection tool aiming at recognising diseased plants. For this, citizen scientists are invited to submit pictures of potato plants -healthy and diseases - in order to feed data to the AI tool.

About funding

Funding bodies: European Commission

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