Research activities in Plant Protection concern the disciplines of Plant Pathology and Entomology. Under each of these disciplines, specialised studies are conducted to address major crop protection problems associated with particular pests (insects, mites) or diseases (viral, prokaryotic and fungal). In addition, joint multi-disciplinary research projects targeting all important pests and diseases of particular crops are undertaken. All studies are governed by the considerations of sustainability in crop protection and production, food quality and safety, environmental protection and the utilisation of new technologies for the development of more effective crop protection practices. Plant Pathology research effort includes the implementation of modern techniques and the development of new effective detection tools in order to identify the phytosanitary status of plants, for certification and quarantine purposes. Among the main activities of the Section is the development of integrated pest management (IPM) and integrated crop management (ICM) strategies, based on various combinations of ecosystem-oriented methods, i.e. biological control, cultural practices, natural products, and minimal use of selected, mild pesticides. This approach ensures sustainability and minimises pesticide risk to human health and the environment. Studies to develop IPM/ICM systems were carried out on various vegetable and fruit tree crops, in cooperation with other Sections of the Institute.
During the past decades, the Plant Protection section has established long term projects on the production and maintenance of healthy propagative material of various fruit tree cultures. These projects aim at the production, maintenance and distribution of healthy, true-to-type and horticulturally superior propagating stock material of citrus, grapevines and stone fruits under insect-proof screenhouses maintained at Tochni and Saittas experimental stations. Virus-free plant cuttings then given to the Department of Agriculture for further multiplication and distribution to Cypriot farmers.
Theodora Κapari-Isaia, Niκos Seraphides, Lampros Papagiannis