About NCPN Grapes
Members of the grape industry as well as the fruit and nut tree industry were instrumental in founding the National Clean Plant Network in 2008. Representatives from nurseries, growers, wineries, land-grant universities, state regulatory agencies and USDA had been meeting since 2006 to organize and procure federal aid to maintain and improve existing clean plant programs for specialty crops. This was in response to eroded federal funding to state agricultural experiment stations, which in turn reduced funding to clean plant centers because practical service work did not serve the teaching and research mission of these institutions. In addition, as faculty who worked on clean plant programs retired and were replaced by scientists with other interests, there was a risk of losing the body of knowledge and experience in managing clean plant programs.
The importance of clean plant programs may not always be apparent, especially if there is no major disease outbreak. This is a continuous challenge - clean plant programs tend not to be glamorous and can they easily be taken for granted due to the simple fact that using clean planting material is a preventative measure to manage viral diseases, much like good sanitation or vaccination.
In grapes, the importance of clean plants became glaringly apparent in the 1950s when fanleaf degeneration was a serious concern. It was found that it could be controlled by using clean propagation material which led to the formation of Foundation Plant Services (FPS) at the University of California, Davis in 1958.
- Distribution. Clean, tested propagation material is provided to nurseries and growers throughout the United States.
- Foundation Vineyards.
- Extensive collections of grapevines are established, maintained and regularly monitored for health status.
- Diagnostics. Plants are rigorously tested for viruses using laboratory and field tests. Network members develop state-of-the-art techniques for detecting pathogens as well as establish diagnostic guidelines and standards.
- Importation. New cultivars are imported and then quarantined to reduce the risk of introducing pests and diseases that can be difficult and costly to control.
- Therapy. Viruses are eliminated from valuable plant cultivars using microshoot tip culture.