NIVIP has 8 disciplines. You can read which one below.
In the Netherlands, various bacteria can cause damage to crops. In addition, there are several highly harmful plant-pathogenic bacteria that are not present here, but can establish themselves in the Netherlands through trade or natural spread. These are called quarantine organisms.
As employees in the field of bacteriology, we assess the risks of these different bacteria.
How do we assess the risks?
- We analyze samples for the presence of pathogens
- We gain new knowledge about epidemiology and phylogeny (ancestry) of bacteria through various research projects.
With this knowledge, we can better estimate risks. We also develop and optimize detection tests with the knowledge gained. This allows us to formulate effective measures to prevent the spread of these organisms and contribute to protecting the Dutch cultivation and trade of plants.
Which bacteria do we investigate?
Our focus is on quarantine organisms, such as:
We also investigate other plant-pathogenic bacteria.
Bacteriology has been designated as EU Reference Laboratory (EURL). The EURL serves as the link between the European Commission and plant health laboratories. As EURL, we provide advice on tests to use for quarantine organisms and organize proficiency tests and test performance studies for specific harmful organisms.
Employees of NIVIP regularly present results of their research. View the latest research in the field of bacteriology.
Centre for Monitoring of Vectors
Some arthropods such as insects and arachnids can carry viruses, bacteria, or parasites that are harmful to humans or animals. We call these arthropods vectors. Examples include ticks, tiger mosquitoes, and midges. Our mission is to minimize the impact of these vectors on public and animal health.
How do we minimize the impact of vectors?
We do this in the following ways:
- We collect and manage knowledge about indigenous and exotic vectors.
- We monitor the spread of vectors in the Netherlands.
- We conduct risk analyses of vectors.
- We provide policy advice for public health to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
- We support the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
- We take part in multiple meetings on infectious diseases.
- We provide policy advice for animal health to the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.
- We support Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR).
With whom do we share our knowledge?
In addition to the organizations mentioned above, to which we provide structural advice, we also occasionally share our knowledge with the following parties and organizations in the Netherlands:
- Public Health Services (GGDs)
- Royal GD (Animal Health Service)
- land managers
- pest control companies
- scientific institutes
Internationally, we are also active in the field of European vector policy. We do this mainly through the following organizations:
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
- World Health Organization - Europe
Employees of the CMV regularly present the results of their research. View the most recent research of the CMV.
Some insects, mites, and other arthropods attack plants or transmit plant diseases. As professionals in the field of entomology, we focus on diagnosing these EU quarantine organisms and other harmful species. We also provide advice on potential risks associated with the use of so-called natural control agents.
How do we determine whether a species is harmful?
We do this on the basis of available literature and we also have our own unique reference collection of phytosanitary relevant organisms. We also work on up-to-date information on the taxonomy, biology, and ecology of harmful species.
Species we investigate include:
- butterflies and moths
- fruit flies
- leaf-miner flies
- Hymenoptera (sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants)
- psyllids or jumping plant lice
- Heteroptera ("true bugs")
- Auchenorrhyncha (incl. cicadas, leaf-, tree- and planthoppers)
- scale insects
What else do we do?
In addition to diagnosing harmful insects, mites, and other arthropods, we also:
- Contribute to the training of inspectors.
- Give advice to policymakers within NVWA, LNV, and RVO.
- Monitor organisms and assess risks.
- Help control harmful species.
- Conduct research in the field of (phytosanitary) entomology.
- Exchange knowledge through panels, such as the diagnostic panel of EPPO.
- Provide advice on the use of biological control agents.
Biological Control Agents and Production Animals
The Knowledge Center Biological Control Agents and Production Animals is part of the field of entomology. They advise policymakers at RVO and the Ministry of LNV on the potential risks associated with the use of biological control agents in the Netherlands.
Biological control is the control of harmful plant-pathogenic organisms by using their natural enemies. Examples include:
- entomopathogenic nematodes
- predatory mites
- predatory insects such as parasitoid wasps
By effectively using biological control agents, we can eliminate the need for chemical pest control. But the introduction of biological control agents must not pose a risk to native flora and fauna.
We focus mainly on keeping information on the taxonomy, biology, and ecology of biological control agents up-to-date. In the context of knowledge exchange, we also play an active role in panels such as the EPPO/IOBC panel on biological control.
Employees of NIVIP regularly publish the results of their research. View the most recent research on entomology and biological control agents.
Plants that do not naturally occur in the Netherlands can be harmful to nature. They can cause (major) damage to the economy, safety, or health. Such a plant is also called an invasive exotic.
The NVWA oversees the trade and possession of these plants. The Knowledge Centre Invasive Plants and Timber of the NIVIP investigates the risks of these plants on behalf of the NVWA. In addition, we provide advice to provinces, land managers, and the European Union.
How do we contribute to limiting the risks of invasive plants?
In the following ways, we help both citizens and other government agencies to better recognize plant species and contribute to nature conservation:
- We make risk assessments.
- We provide information to, among others, water boards, provinces, and land managers.
- We conduct research.
- We develop identification tools for invasive plants, such as various field guides (for example the Field Guide Woody Plants and the Field Guide Invasive Aquatic Plants an the LUCID identification keys on the Q-bankplants website.
- The Q-bankplant contains an interactive search tool that allows you to determine which plant you are dealing with based on various characteristics.
NIVIP employees regularly present results from their research. View the most recent research on invasive plants.
As employees in the field of molecular biology, we perform diagnostics for other fields on plant diseases, pest organisms, invasive plants, and vectors. This helps to provide a quick and reliable diagnosis.
What techniques do we use for diagnostics?
We diagnose using techniques that utilize the genetic material of a target organism: DNA and RNA. Because each organism has a unique DNA/RNA profile, these can be used for detection and identification.
Detection, for example, involves detecting the presence of a harmful fungus in a host plant.
Identification involves naming an insect species found on a crop.
We distinguish between 4 different methods:
- Conventional PCR
- Real-time PCR
- PCR (Sanger) sequencing
- High Throughput Sequencing (HTS)
In total, we have about 150 tests in our arsenal. The molecular biological tests are performed under ISO17025 accreditation.
Developing and validating new tests
To keep up with organisms that are coming into the Netherlands through new trade routes, we develop and validate new tests. This is often done in collaboration with national and international research partners.
In addition to developing new tests, we also use molecular research to solve taxonomic problems. Think of questions like, "Is this one species or are there two different species?" These kinds of questions are important in order to ultimately provide a reliable diagnosis and impose appropriate measures.
Molecular techniques also play a significant role in new outbreaks of regulated organisms. For example, is a new outbreak of something we already know about or is it something new? If it's something new, is there a potentially greater risk associated with it? In these cases, molecular analyses help provide tailored solutions for new discoveries.
Nextstrain – tracking the spread and development of organisms
Nextstrain is a collection of open-source bioinformatics tools used to map the diversity and spread of studied organisms in an interactive way. This method quickly and clearly shows how an organism spreads and develops in different places.
The field of molecular biology has implemented and maintains our Nextstrain tool.
What is Nextstrain used for?
Nextstrain has been successfully applied around the outbreak of the Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), which caused significant damage to tomatoes, bell peppers, and chili peppers. Through Nextstrain analysis, it was possible to investigate where different mutations of the virus were located in the Netherlands and how they had spread. This allowed for a targeted approach to eradicate the virus.
In addition to ToBRFV, the Nextstrain-analysis has been applied to the following organisms:
- the fungus synchytrium endobioticum, causal agent of aardappelwratziekte
- the Asian tiger mosquito
- the False Coddling Moth
Employees of NIVIP regularly publish results from their research. View the most recent research on molecular biology.
As members of the field of Mycology, we are involved in the identification of quarantine fungi and other fungi that can cause plant diseases. Therefore, we conduct research on potato wart disease, fungal diseases on citrus fruits, and the Neocosmospora ambrosia group, among others.
How do we identify harmful fungi?
To identify harmful fungi, we use various methods:
- We conduct extensive morphological research.
- We perform we bio tests in greenhouses.
- We use molecular techniques in combination with data analysis.
In the Netherlands, we are the only organization in the field of plant-pathogenic fungi that has diagnostic and phytopathological expertise on all crops grown in our region. Therefore, we have specialized knowledge on:
- potato wart disease (Synchytrium endobioticum)
- fungal diseases on citrus (Phyllosticta citricarpa and Elsinoë species)
- Neocosmospora ambrosia groep
- rust fungi
- water molds (zoals Phytophthora, Pythium)
- tree diseases
Employees of the NIVIP regularly present the results of their research. View the most recent research in the field of mycology.
Nematodes are small roundworms, ranging from 0.2 to 5 mm in size, also known as nematodes. Nematodes can cause plant diseases. As professionals in the field of Nematology, we are engaged in the diagnosis of plant diseases caused by these nematodes.
How do we diagnose harmful nematodes?
We combine the following techniques:
- morphological identifications
- molecular techniques such as (Real Time) PCR and (High Throughput) sequencing
We also provide advice in the following ways:
- We gather information about the causes and the backgrounds of nematode infestations in domestic and international regions and perform risk analyses.
- We coordinate research to monitor EU quarantine nematodes and other harmful species. We also conduct this research ourselves.
- We monitor the trade of plants and products.
- We actively exchange knowledge through (inter)national netwerks such as Euphresco.
- We manage a unique living reference collection.
- Using our broad knowledge of the taxonomy, biology, and ecology of plant-parasitic nematodes, we provide policy advice.
- We organize courses for (inter)national stakeholders, such as the course on identification of plant-parasitic nematodes.
- We also play an active role in panels of the European Plant Protection Organization (EPPO).
Staff members of NIVIP regularly publish results of their research. View the most recent research on nematology.
As professionals in the field of Virology, we focus on plant viruses, viroids, and phytoplasmas. We help prevent and address the plant diseases caused by these organisms.
How do we help prevent plant diseases?
We do this through:
- Collection management
- Risk analyses
- Policy advice
We identify which viruses are present in the Netherlands and determine which viruses are affecting Dutch crops. With this knowledge, we try to prevent quarantine viruses from entering our country.
We use different methods:
- Illumina sequencing
- serological tests
- molecular tests
- test plant research
We work closely together with our colleagues in the field of Molecular Biology on this.
Protocols and training
We also help develop and revise protocols for virus detection and identification. We do this, among other things, in the context of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO). We also work closely with plant inspection services and inspectors, to whom we also provide training.
The field of Virology has been designated as EU Reference Laboratory (EURL). The EURL serves as the link between the European Commission and plant health laboratories. As the EURL, we provide advice on tests to be used for quarantine organisms. We also organize proficiency tests and test performance studies for specific harmful organisms.
We also conduct a lot of research, including:
- Developing new tests.
- Conducting lots of validation studies.
- Characterizing new viruses, including determining host plants and possible vectors.
- Determining the sequence of genetic material.
In collaboration with the field of Molecular Biology, we have validated the Illumina sequencing research method for diagnostic purposes. As a result, this method at NIVIP is accredited, as the first European phytosanitary laboratory.
Risk analyses and policy advice
We conduct risk assessments and provide advice to:
- the sector
- other NPPOs
This bridges the gap between knowledge and policy. It also helps in effectively responding to a quarantine organism outbreak. To achieve this, we regularly conduct Quickscans and Pest Risk Analyses (PRA).
Employees at NIVIP regularly publish the results of their research. View the most recent research on virology.