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ISPP Subject Matter Committee: Seed Pathology

Chair: Prof  Gianfranco Romanazzi
Plant Pathology
Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences
Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute
Marche Polytechnic University
60131 Ancona (IT)

Seed Pathology

The ISPP Subject Matter Committee on Seed Pathology is to be revived. The Committee will address seed pathology in its broadest possible meaning. The aim is to have committee members from chemical and seed companies, universities, research institutions, government departments and international bodies such as ISTA, ISF, EPPO, NSHS etc. The production of pathogen-free seed is essential for global food security and safety. Due to economics and the importance of seed-borne diseases and pathogen-free seed in international seed trade, renewed interest in the ability to identify and detect seed-transmitted pathogens using the latest technological advances has occurred.  Seed treatments have also become more feasible and environmentally friendly. With the update of the "Annotated list of seed-borne diseases" currently taking place, the input of a revived ISPP Seed Pathology Committee will be invaluable. This is a call for all interested colleagues to participate in the ISPP Seed Pathology Committee. 


2018 ISPP Seed Pathology Committee Meeting.pdf

Global Impact of International Seed Movement IPPC session.pdf

International Society for Plant Pathology Seed Pathology Committee (2014)





Key words

Gianfranco Romanazzi


Marche Polytechnic University

Vegetables, seed-borne diseases, seed pathology, diagnosis, control measures

Guro Brodal



Seed borne diseases cereals, oil seed crops, legumes, grasses, seed treatment, mycotoxins, organic seed

Quenton Kritzinger

South Africa

University of Pretoria

mycotoxins, seed health, seed treatments, biopesticides

Jose da Cruz Machado


Federal University of Lavras

Seed Pathology

Lindsey du Toit


Washington State University

Vegetables, small-seeded, dry-seeded

Marie-Agnes Jacques



Xanthomonas, Clavibacter, Bacteria', Microbial community plant-microbe interaction

Gary Munkvold


Iowa State University

Maize, soybean, vegetables

Dorota Szopińska


Polish Phytopathological Society

Seed pathology, fungi associated with seeds, methods of seed health evaluation

Casiana M. Vera Cruz


International Rice Research Institute

Rice, Xanthomonas oryzae

Shuxian Li  USA  United States Department of Agric.    Soybean seed diseases, soybean Phomopsis seed decay, resistance  
Gerbert Hiddink   The Netherlands   Enza Zaden Seed Operations     Seed health testing. 
Carlos Bolanos-Carriel USA  University of Nebraska- Lincoln   Propagation of biocontrol agents
Marwa Moumni   Tunisia  National Institute of Agronomy     Mycotoxins in Caraway and Cumin seeds


 Gianfranco Romanazzi
Prof. Gianfranco Romanazzi got the degree cum laude in Agricultural Sciences at University of Bari, where he joined the PhD in "Crop Protection", he is Professor of Plant pathology and Plant disease management at the Marche Polytechnic University. His scientific activities have involved different aspects of plant pathology, and he has focused on the diagnosis and characterisation of plant pathogens and the control of plant diseases, both in the field and after the harvest, through the use of environmentally friendly means. First topic regarded the evaluation of effectiveness of natural substances, antagonistic microrganisms, salts, and physical stresses (hypobaric treatments, UV-C irradiation) to control biotic diseases of grapes, sweet cherry, strawberry and kiwifruit in storage. Since a tenth of years he investigates the use of chitosan, a natural biopolymer able to induce resistance in the host, to control diseases of fruit, focusing on the effectiveness against target organisms and on some of main mechanisms of action involved. In 2004-2005, part of his research was carried at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Parlier, California, in the framework of an Italian National Research Council (CNR) Fellowship. The second subject regarded investigations on spread, diagnosis and epidemiology of pathogens threat for the quality of fruit tree crops, both in the canopy and in the nursery. In last years he focused his interest on grapevine yellows, an emerging problem for viticulture of Central Italy. In the behalf of this activity, he carried out biological and epidemiological investigations on grapevine yellows in Marche and Abruzzi. Several efforts have been carried out to better understand the phenomenon known as recovery. The possibility to induce the recovery in Bois noir infected plants by agronomical practices and treatments with elicitors was investigated, and a system to evaluate gene expression in infected plants was setted up. His scientific activities have been carried out through European Union (FP7 framework) and Italian national (PRIN, Cariverona Foundation) and regional (from Apulia, Tuscany, Marche) research projects, where he has acted as a Coordinator or as the Leader of a Research Unit. He is a member of the COST actions on phytoplasma (FA0807) and endophytes (FA1103), and he is part of the Management Committee of the Italian Phytoplasma Working Group. He has been on the Organising Committees of several Italian and international meetings. He has reviewed scientific projects for Italian and international institutions (CONYCYT, Chile; TWAS, Trieste, Italy; GNSF, Georgia; SRNSF, Georgia; Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, Croatia). He has been a Reviewer for more than 40 international scientific journals, and he is Editor for the Postharvest Biology and Technology journal, and the Journal of Integrated -OMICS, and he is Senior Editor for the Australasian Plant Pathology journal. He is member of Italian Phytopathological Society (SIPaV), Italian Horticultural Society (SOI), Italian Society for Plant Protection (AIPP), Mediterranean Phytopathological Union (MPU), International Council for the Study of Virus and Virus-like Diseases of the Grapevine (ICVG), International Council on Grapevine Trunk Diseases (ICGTD), International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (IS-MPMI), and American Phytopathological Society (APS). He is author of more than 210 papers published on national and international journals and proceedings of congress.      
Guro Brodal
Dr Guro Brodal is a Research scientist in the Department of fungal diseases in Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Plant Health and Plant Protection Division. Her research area includes epidemiology and control of diseases on agricultural crops (small grain cereals, grasses, oil seed crops, legumes), including seed-borne diseases/seed pathology, seed health testing, seed treatments and seeds for organic farming. Recent years her main focus has been on Fusarium and mycotoxins in oats and wheat, including agronomic strategies to reduce mycotoxin risk, and effects on cereal seed quality.  She is also involved in work on pathogens on conifer seeds, and on alternative seed treatments against seed-borne diseases in organic cereals.    
 Quenton Kritzinger
Dr Kritzinger completed his PhD in Plant Pathology in 2005 from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. His PhD study focused on the indigenous African legume crop, cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), where he investigated the mycoflora and fumonisin mycotoxins associated with cowpea seed and effects thereof.  He was appointed as a full time academic staff member in 2006 and is currently appointed as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, at the University of Pretoria.  His current research activities extend from his PhD work, and primarily involve the mycoflora and mycotoxins associated with cowpea seed and leaves, with emphasis on the phytotoxic effects of mycotoxins on a physiological, biochemical and molecular level. Mycoflora and mycotoxin studies also include other African indigenous crops and South African medicinal plants. His other research interests include the antifungal potential of extracts and compounds from indigenous South African plant species against both human and plant pathogens, with emphasis on product development. Dr Kritzinger also served as Director of the BSc Extended programmes from 2011 - 2015. He has supervised and co-supervised 3 PhD students, 8 MSc students and numerous honours students. Currently he is supervising 2 PhD students and 7 MSc students. Dr Kritzinger serves on the editorial board of the European Journal of Plant Pathology and the South African Journal of Botany.      
Jose da Cruz Machado
Jose da Cruz Machado is a professor at the Federal University of Lavras- UFLA in the Departamento de Fitopatologia, Campus Universit├írio, Brazil. His research focuses on seed pathology.    
 Lindsey du Toit
Lindsey du Toit grew up in KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa, where she completed her undergraduate education at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg in 1991 with a major in plant pathology. Lindsey then completed MS (1995) and PhD (1998) degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in plant pathology. Her first position after graduate school was as the diagnostician for the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Lab at the Puyallup Research & Extension Center of Washington State University (WSU), from 1998 to 2000. Lindsey then took a position as Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist in vegetable seed pathology for WSU in 2000, based at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. Lindsey was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006, and Professor in 2013. The focus of Lindsey's vegetable seed pathology research and extension program is the etiology, biology and management of diseases that affect vegetable seed crops grown in the Pacific Northwest USA, primarily small-seeded vegetable seed crops such as spinach, brassicas, carrot, onion, radish, and table beet. In 2012, Lindsey started teaching a summer course in field plant pathology (Pl P 525). Lindsey is currently a member and has has served as chair of the Seed Pathology Committee of the American Phytopathological Society. She also has served as associate editor and senior editor of Plant Disease, associate editor of Phytopathology, and associate editor of Agronomy Journal.  In 2014, Lindsey was elected to serve as APS Councilor-at-Large from 2014-2017. Lindsey's applied plant pathology program is based on synergistic interactions with vegetable and vegetable seed growers and seed companies on a regional, national, and international basis, including cooperative projects with the International Seed Health Initiative and the American Seed Trade Association.      
 Marie-Agnes Jacques
Marie-Agnes Jacques is a senior scientist working for the French National Institute for Agronomical Research (INRA) at the Institute for Research on Horticulture and Seeds at Angers, France. The team she leads explores the emergence, systematics and ecology of plant pathogenic bacteria. Through genetic approaches, phylogenetic and typing methods her team focuses on the pathways used by bacteria to transmit to and by seeds and on the epidemiology of the disease they cause. Comparative genomics, establishment of repertoires of genes, and functional genetics approaches allowed them to identify key factors involved in host specificity of Xanthomonas. More recently, the influence of Xanthomonas on the structure of the seed microbiome has been studied by metabarcoding and metagenomics analyses. This team hosts the French Collection of Plant-associated Bacteria (CFBP-CIRM), which is an ISO 9001-certified Biological Resource Center and one of the most important collections of phytopathogenic bacteria worldwide. Her team is also involved in the development of phenotyping tools for a thorough and efficient analysis of plant-pathogen interactions (PHENOTIC platform).      
 Gary Munkvold
Gary Munkvold is Professor of Plant Pathology at Iowa State University. He holds a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Davis. He has worked for nearly 20 years in research, extension, and teaching in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology (1993-2002; 2006-) and Seed Science Center (2006-) at Iowa State University. His current research program focuses on pathogens that are seed-borne or affect seed production in a range of crops; and the epidemiology and management of mycotoxin-producing fungi in corn. He teaches the only seed pathology course offered in the U.S., and serves as Chair of the ISU Graduate Program in Seed Technology and Business, a distance-education curriculum. From 2003-2006, he was Research Coordinator for the Pathology, Entomology, and Seed Science group at Pioneer Hi-Bred, International, Inc. in Johnston, IA, with global responsibilities for coordinating and improving disease and insect resistance evaluation of Pioneer corn hybrids. Dr. Munkvold has conducted research on toxigenic Fusarium species, interactions between insects and plant pathogens, and management of corn diseases, including the role of transgenic resistance to insects. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, more than 200 extension articles and publications, and several book chapters; he has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences. Dr. Munkvold was named as ISU's first Seed Science Endowed Chair in 2006. He received the 2013 ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences award for Distance-Education Teaching.      
 Dorota Szopińska
Dorota Szopińska has over 15 years experience in research and teaching. Since 2002 she has been employed as an assistant professor at the Department of Seed Science and Technology of the Poznań University of Life Sciences, Poland. Scientific interests of Dr. Szopińska are: Methods of seed health testing, relationships between seed health status and the other seed and plant characters, location of pathogens in seeds, seed treatment methods and prognostic value of seed quality parameters. She is an author or co-author of about 50 scientific publications and co-author of Seed Pathology textbook. Her educational work is related to the various areas of seed science and technology, particularly seed pathology and seed biology. She supervised 27 BSc and MSc theses concerning mainly evaluation of seed health testing methods, seed quality improvement and location of pathogens in seeds. She participated in many international meetings and visited a number of institution involved in seed production and post-harvest control in Europe and China. Dr. Szopińska is currently a member of Polish Phytopathological Society where she serves as Secretary of the Board and the Chair of Seed Pathology Division, and a member of the ISTA Seed Health Committee.      
 Casiana Vera Cruz
Casiana or "Nollie" is a Plant Pathologist (Senior Scientist II) at IRRI's Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology (PBGB) Division. She obtained her PhD in Plant Pathology at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA in 1996.  With expertise on plant pathology, she is responsible for research on host plant resistance to diseases, and performs services for bacterial and fungal disease screening in breeding programs of different rice ecosystems. She also leads the IRRI-DA Heirloom Rice Project which aims to raise productivity and enrich the legacy of traditional rice through empowering communities in unfavorable rice-based ecosystems. Her expertise lies in 1) Disease resistance to bacterial and fungal pathogens, 2) Molecular host-pathogen interactions, 3) Candidate genes/QTLs association with disease resistance, 4) Development of markers and their application in marker-assisted selection for rice improvement, 5) Population biology/structure of plant pathogen, 6) Seed health management and diagnostics of seed-borne pathogens in rice, and 7) Root health in relation to aerobic rice.      
 Shuxian Li

Dr. Shuxian Li is a Research Plant Pathologist working at the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA, ARS), Crop Genetics Research Unit in Stoneville, Mississippi, USA. After receiving her Ph.D. in Fungal Genetics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1991, Dr. Li came to the University of Wisconsin, USA as a postdoctoral research associate to work with Dr. Sally A. Leong.  The project involved determination of the nuclear status of Ustilago maydis during mating and growth in Zea mays. This study employed fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and primed in situ labeling methods (PRINS), as well as molecular cloning and analysis of the KAR2 gene homolog of U. maydis. She then worked with Drs. John H. Andrews and Dan Cullen at the University of Wisconsin on the development of novel methods for the specific detection and quantification of fungal populations on the phylloplane. Since 1996, she has been working on soybean pathology, focusing on the identification, detection and characterization of soybean fungal pathogens and the host-pathogen interaction using pathogenic, biochemical, and molecular approaches. Dr. Li was the Senior Research Specialist from 1996-2001, and Principal Research Specialist and the Head Curator of the National Soybean Pathogen Collection Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA from 2002-2006. This was followed by her current position with USDA-ARS.

Dr. Li has authored or co-authored 107 scientific publications including 97 peer-reviewed journal articles and 7 invited book chapters. She has 36 invited oral presentations, 21 of which were invited presentations in eight countries (Brazil, Canada, China, England, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and South Korea). She has been serving on the Board of the Office of International Programs and Committees for the American Phytopathological Society, (three Committee Chair appointments), Senior Editor of Plant Disease and Associate Editor of BMC-Genomics.

Currently, Dr. Li is working on soybean Phomopsis seed decay (PSD) and the causal pathogen Phomopsis longicola, a seed-borne fungus. She has led a collaborative team involved four states in the U.S and identified 23 new sources of resistance to PSD. Dr. Li also led the first analysis of the genome sequences of the PSD-causing pathogen and used interactomic analysis approach to identify pathogenic protein networks in P. longicolla underlying seed decay of soybean. She collaborated with pathologists in China and was the first to report PSD in China.

  h Gerbert Hiddink is Senior Seed Pathology Researcher and team lead Seed Pathology Research at Enza Zaden Seed Operations BV, a Vegetable Breeding company located in The Netherlands. He obtained his PhD at Wageningen University in 2008 on 'Suppression of soilborne pathogens in mixed cropping systems'. He is a Seed pathologist working on seed transmitted pests in vegetable seeds. This involves all aspects connected with seed transmitted pests, from development of hygiene protocols and procedures in seed production, development of seed health testing methods, seed sanitation and epidemiology of seed transmitted pathogens. Current research projects include amongst others, development of molecular prescreen seed health testing methods for pospiviroids, tobamoviruses, Clavibacter michiganensis subsp michiganesis and Pseudomonas syringae pathovar maculicola. To understand infection and distribution of pospiviroids, epidemiology of pospiviroids is studied in greenhouse experiments and through field surveys. Gerbert is participating in ISHI-Veg as chair of the Root Bulb and Leafy Veg - ITG (RBLV) since 2008, focusing on the development, validation and publication of seed health test methods for seed transmittable pests like Acidovorax valerianellae, Lettuce mosaic virus amongst others. Furthermore, he is chair of the Dutch Technical Working Group GSPP and member of the International Technical Committee for GSPP.     
  s  Carlos Bolanos-Carriel

Ph.D. Plant Pathology. 2015-present. University of Nebraska- Lincoln
M.Sc. Crop Protection. 2010-2012. University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez

Graduate research assistant (Ph.D. dissertation research). University of Nebraska Lincoln. Cooperative project Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative- USDA. January 2015 - August 2018. Main Duties: Conduct field, greenhouse, and lab research on epidemiology and disease management of Fusarium Head Blight and accumulation of deoxynivalenol during storage, characterization of F. graminearum chemotypes, Tri5 gene expression analysis using qRT-PCR, Koch's postulates for the first report of Fusarium boothii causing head blight of wheat in the United States. Advisors: Ph.D. Stephen N. Wegulo, Ph.D. Heather Hallen-Adams.

Agricultural Researcher. National Institute of Agricultural Research - Ecuador (INIAP), National Department of Crop Protection (DNPV). National program of tubers (potato), project IPM-CRSP. Ecuador. April 2014 - December 2014. Main Duties: Characterization of resistance and inoculation methods for Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis in Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense). Identification and characterization of potato purple top Phytoplasma in Ecuador.

Chief Research Scientist. Palmar del Rio-EPACEM. Ecuador. March 2013 - March 2014. Main duties: Breeding for resistance against bud rot disease using interspecific crosses between American (Elaeis oleifera) and African (E. guinnensis) oil palms. Phenotyping of progeny tests, evaluating segregation of valuable qualitative traits. Translator English-Spanish for international visitors. Phytosanitary management in American oil-palm germplasm collection (200 hectares). Statistical analysis of quality and disease related traits in OxG hybrids. Massive propagation of biocontrol agents (Bacillus, Metarrhizium, Beauveria) for controlling diverse insect-larvae in the plantation.


Marwa Moumni an Agriculture engineer. In 2014, she got Master degree in Integrated Pest Management at National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia (INAT). In 2015, her research continued in Tunisia in the 'Department of Plant Protection, National Institute of Agronomical Research in Tunisia (INRAT)' and in Italy in the 'Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences of Marche Polytechnic University' and focused on detection, morphological and molecular identification of seed-borne fungi on cucurbits (watermelon, muskmelon and squash). She also studied seed-transmission of the main diseases of cucurbits (e.g. Stagonosporopsis cucurbitacearum) and their control using essential oils and chitosan. She is a member of the Italian Phytopathological Society (SIPaV). In recent years her main focus has been on Aspergillus and mycotoxins in Caraway and Cumin seeds.


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