A survey on pests and diseases of Italian Hop crops

Elisabetta Gargani, Luca Ferretti, Francesco Faggioli, Anita Haegi, Marta Luigi, Silvia Landi, Sauro Simoni, Claudia Benvenuti, Silvia Guidi, Stefania Simoncini, Pio Federico Roversi [Centro di ricerca Difesa e Certificazione, CREA];
Roberto Ciccoritti, Katya Carbone [Centro di ricerca Olivicoltura, Frutticoltura e Agrumicoltura, CREA];
Tiziana Amoriello [Centro di ricerca Alimenti e Nutrizione, CREA];
Giada D’Errico [Dipartimento Scienze Agrarie, Università di Napoli “Federico II”]

Over the last few decades, Italy has seen the rise and the establishment of a new type of business in the brewing industry: the craft beer industry, which became one of the most significant phenomena of the Italian agri-food sector. In spite of this, the national production of hop is still not sufficient to satisfy the request of Italian craft breweries. As a consequence, Italian craft-brewers are forced to buy and use imported hops and cannot rely on local products for their craft beers. To face this challenge, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies funded the Project “Luppolo.it” on hop cultivation in Italy. As for all new crops, the information on Italian hop is very incomplete and in some cases non-existent; one of the main issues to be tackled is the lack of hopregistered plant protection products in Italy. In order to fill this lack of knowledge, this work reported the first survey on the main pests and diseases inhabiting/ infesting Italian hop crops. The results of this survey was then integrated with a bibliographic review on the main hop pests and infections reported in the world hop growing areas with similar pedoclimatic conditions to those of Italy. Moreover, to compare the survey and bibliographic researches with the actual phytosanitary status of Italian hop cultivations, a monitoring of plant health status with preliminary observations on the varieties’ susceptibility to the relevant diseases was carried out, by field inspections. From mid-April 2017 to the harvest of the cones, surveys in the field, inspections and sampling were carried out for a first pest’s overview of sample areas in Central and Northern Italy. Results of the field surveys pointed out that there are several phytosanitary concerns that could compromise the health of Italian hops. Besides, by means of field inspections and samplings, the taxonomic identification of organisms and microorganisms and crop damage assessment were allowed, in order to apply proper control strategies and containment protocols. Regarding arthropods, mites (Tetranychus urticae) and Lepidoptera (Ostrinia nubilalis) infestations resulted of particular interest, while for nematodes, the presence of plant parasitic specie belonging to family Longidoridae (Xiphinema diversicaudatum), recognized vector of Arabis mosaic virus on hop, need further researches. The survey revealed a wide spread presence of HLVd in all the investigated commercial cultivars, in single or mixed infection with ApMV and/or viruses of the genus Carlavirus, while one of the most widespread diseases observed on monitored hop has been downy mildew caused by the oomycete Pseudoperonospora humuli. This study represents a first step to support the development of an appropriate Integrated Pest Management strategy for Italian hop productions, but in order to be able to approach the protection strategy correctly, it is necessary to overcome the lack of hopregistered products in Italy

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