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ISPP Subject Matter Committee: 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 seedborne 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.

Chair: Prof. Gianfranco Romanazzi, Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy  e-mail

Vice Chair: Prof. Lindsey du Toit, Washington State University, USA  e-mail

Secretary: Dr Marwa Moumni, National Institute of Agronomy, Tunisia  e-mail


International Society for Plant Pathology Seed Pathology Committee





Key words

Gianfranco Romanazzi


Marche Polytechnic University

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

Lindsey du Toit

USA Washington State University Vegetables, small-seeded, dry-seeded

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

Marie-Agnes Jacques



Xanthomonas, Clavibacter, mechanisms of seed transmission, detection tools

Gary Munkvold


Iowa State University

Maize, soybean, vegetables

Dorota Szopińska


Polish Phytopathological Society

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

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. 
Marwa Moumni   Tunisia  National Institute of Agronomy Seedborne pathogen detection, Stagonosporopsis cucurbitacearum, seed treatment, mycotoxins  
Ron Walcott USA University of Georgia Seedborne bacteria, cucurbits, Acidovorax citrulli
Valerie Grimault France GEVES

Seed health testing, variety resistance


Gianfranco Romanazzi

Gianfranco Romanazzi got the degree cum laude in Agricultural Sciences at University of Bari, where he joined the PhD in "Crop Protection", and he is Professor of Plant pathology and Plant disease management at the Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy. He studies the diagnosis and characterisation of plant pathogens, including seedborne, and the control of plant diseases, both in the field and after the harvest, through the use of environmentally friendly means. He is involved in setting up novel sustainable strategies to manage cucurbit, cabbage and onion diseases caused by seedborne pathogens based on application of chitosan, other basic substances and resistance inducers. Sensitive and accurate protocols for the identification of seedborne fungi have also been setted up. In 2004-2005, part of his research was carried at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Parlier, California, and in 2015 he spent a period in at Vineland Research and Innovation Center, Ontario, Canada. He published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and edited three special issues and one book. He is member of ISPP Seed Pathology Committee since 2014, Vice Chair since 2018 and interim Chair since 2021. He serves for editorial boards of Postharvest Biology and Technology, Australasian Plant Pathology, Phytoparasitica, Scientific Reports, Frontiers in Plant Sciences, Frontiers in Microbiology. Since 2020, he is serving as President of Italian Association for Plant Protection (AIPP).

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 in plant pathology. Lindsey then completed MS (1995) and PhD (1998) degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in plant pathology. She then served as a 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 her 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, dry-seeded vegetable seed crops - spinach, brassicas, carrot, onion, radish, Swiss chard, and table beet. Lindsey teaches a graduate course in field plant pathology. She is a member of and has served as chair of the Seed Pathology Committee of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). Lindsey has served on editorial boards for Plant Disease, Phytopathology, and Agronomy Journal. Lindsey was an APS Councilor-at-Large from 2014-2017, and on the APS presidential team from 2017-2021.  

Guro Brodal

Dr Guro Brodal is a Research Professor in plant pathology at Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health. She received her PhD in plant/seed pathology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in 1991 on seed borne fungi in grasses in Norway. Her research includes epidemiology and integrated management of fungal diseases of agricultural crops (small grain cereals, oil seed crops, legumes, grasses), including seedborne diseases/seed pathology, seed health testing, seed treatments. Recent years a major focus has been on Fusarium and mycotoxins in cereals, including effects on seed quality. Her experience also includes seed-borne diseases and their management in cereals for organic farming, and pathogens in conifer seeds. She was chair of the Nordic/Baltic Seed Pathology Group 1987-2003 and member of ISTA Seed Health Committee 1992-2003 (representing Nordic and Baltic countries). Dr Brodal has been research manager (2005-2009) and head of the Plant Disease Department (2009-2012) at NIBIO. Previously she was head of Seed Pathology Department of the Norwegian Seed Testing Laboratory for more than 20 years, where she established routine seed health testing of cereal seeds facilitating “seed treatment only according to need”.

 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

José da Cruz Machado is a Full Professor on Plant/Seed Pathology at the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), MG, Brazil. He got the PhD Degree on Plant/Seed Pathology at the University of Manchester, UK in 1980. His sabbatical year was spent at the PRI /Wageningen University, NL, on Seed Pathology in 1991. As lecturer, Dr. Machado is responsible by teaching seed pathology on Agronomy (B.Sc.) and Plant Pathology (Master and Doctorate) Courses. His major research lines are concentrated on Seed Pathology with focus on seed health testing, epidemiological aspects of pathogen-seed interactions and seed treatment addressed to major seed-borne fungi in soybean, maize, cotton and common bean. Dr Machado has published several papers in Brazilian and International Journals, being also author and co-authors of some books and several chapters covering seed pathology aspects. In addition to his position as Coordinator of Post-graduate Course, Head of International Cooperation Office and Research Dean at UFLA for several years, Dr. Machado dedicated part of his professional life as assistant to Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture on activities related to national seed health issues. He was leader of many research projects and chair/member of the Seed Pathology Committee of the Brazilian Association of Seed Technology for several years. He was also member of ISTA Plant Disease Committee for a period of ten years.

 Marie-Agnes Jacques
Marie-Agnes Jacques is a senior scientist working for the French National Institute for Research on Agriculture, food and environement (INRAE) at the Institute for Research on Horticulture and Seeds (IRHS) at Angers, France. The team she leads explores the emergence, systematics and ecology of plant pathogenic bacteria. Through genetic-genomic  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 more than 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 seed pathology in a range of crops, and the epidemiology and management of mycotoxin-producing fungi in maize, especially the role of insects in ear rot development. 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. He also serves as Co-Director for the U.S. National Seed Health System, which is responsible for approving seed healthe testing methods for phyto sanitary certification. 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 maize hybrids. Dr. Munkvold has authored more than 100 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 is a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Soc. and a member of the ISTA Seed Health Committee.  

 Dorota Szopińska

Dorota Szopińska has worked for more than 20 years in research and teaching in the Department of Plant Pathology, Seed Science and Technology at Poznań University of Life Sciences (Poland), when she complited Msc (1997) and PhD (2001) degrees and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017. Her research focus on methods of seed health testing, location of pathogens in seeds, seed treatment methods and prognostic value of seed quality parameters. She is an author or co-author of about 80 scientific publications. Her educational work is related to the various areas of seed science and technology, particularly seed pathology and seed biology. She supervised 52 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 postharvest control in Europe and China. Dorota 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.   

 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 Leong. The project involved determination of the nuclear status of Ustilago maydis during mating and growth in corn. She then worked with Drs. John Andrews and Dan Cullen on the development of novel methods for the specific detection and quantification of a biocontrol agent on the phylloplane. Dr. Li was the Senior Research Specialist (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 (2002-2006). Dr. Li has been working on soybean Phomopsis seed decay and the seed-borne pathogens since 2006. She served on the Board of the Office of International Programs, and Committees (three Committee Chair) for the American Phytopathological Society. She has also served as a Senior Editor of Plant Disease and Associate Editor of BMC-Genomics.

Gerbert Hiddink
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. Also he is involved in the establishment of Disease Prevention Protocol (DPP) aiming to harmonize hygiene measures in seed production and reduce impact of Seed transmitted pathogens.    
Marwa Moumni

Marwa Moumni Ph.D. in Plant Protection at National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia (INAT) and in Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences at Marche Polytechnic University (UNIVPM) in 2020. She obtained her Engineering diploma in Agricultural Science at High Agronomic school of Kef (ESAK) in 2011. In 2014, she got Master degree in Integrated Pest Management at 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 seedborne 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. In recent years she also investigated Aspergillus and mycotoxin contamination on caraway and cumin seeds. She is membership in Italian Phytopathological Society (SIPaV), American Phytopathological Society (APS), and Italian Association for Plant Protection (AIPP).

Ron Walcott

Dr. Ron Walcott is a Professor of plant pathology at University of Georgia (UGA) where he also serves at the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and the Dean of the Graduate School. A native of Barbados, he earned his BS and MS degrees in Plant Pathology in 1993 and 1995 respectively, from Iowa State University. He then earned his PhD in plant pathology from UGA in 1999. After a short stint as a post-doctoral associate, Dr. Walcott joined the faculty in the UGA department of plant pathology and was promoted through the ranks to full Professor in 2012. Dr. Walcott’s research focus is plant pathogens that infect and are transmitted by seeds. He is recognized internationally as a leading expert on Acidovorax citrulli, the causal agent of bacterial fruit blotch, that infects seeds of cucurbit species like melon and watermelon. To date and he has published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and edited two books. Dr. Walcott uses advanced molecular tools to understand the host-pathogen interactions that lead to plant/seed infection, with the overarching goal of limiting the economic impact caused by seedborne pathogens. More specifically, he is interested in molecular factors that contribute to the ability of phytopathogenic bacteria to infect seeds, colonize germinating seedlings and distinguish between host and non-host plant species. Dr. Walcott is the currently vice president of the American Phytopathological Society.

Valerie Grimault

Valerie Grimault has a PhD in plant pathology from University Paris XI. She has worked in several research institutes (INRAE, INA-PG, University of Lille) and has been manager of a phytopathology laboratory in a vegetable seed company for 9 years. She has been working in GEVES (Group for control and study of varieties and seeds) for 15 years as head of the Phytopathology laboratory with activities in seed health testing, evaluation of efficiency of seeds and plantlets alternative and classical treatments and evaluation of resistance of varieties to pests. She is member of ISHI, IBEB-EU and IBEB-G and 2 UFS (French seed federation) WGs. She is chair of ISTA Seed Health Committee, of ISF Disease Resistance Terminology working group and vice chair of Végéphyl, a French association for plant health. She is involved in several research projects, for validation of seed health testing methods, epidemiology and setting up and harmonization of variety resistance protocols.



Additional resources

2021 ISPP Seed Pathology Committee Meeting 16 3 21.pdf

2018 ISPP Seed Pathology Committee Meeting.pdf

Global Impact of International Seed Movement IPPC session.pdf

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