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Open Access New approaches for the early detection of tree health pests and pathogens

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This project aims to develop better methods for detecting tree pests and pathogens that are moving through trade or in the wider environment. The UK is threatened by a large number of invasive tree health threats and new tools are needed to help identify these more rapidly and improve detection efficiency. The technologies explored within the project were:

1) 'Sniffer' technology to identify volatile chemicals emitted by pests or diseased plants;

2) Hyper-spectral imaging techniques that can detect changes in diseased plants beyond the range of human vision;

3) Novel traps for capturing insects;

4) DNA-based detection approaches for identifying air- and water-borne pathogens. A key feature of the project was that it was interdisciplinary, with social researchers, modellers and economists working alongside scientists and engineers to deliver effective solutions to help a range of end-users, including plant health inspectors and industry representatives, achieve more effective surveillance and improved biosecurity. This joined-up approach has been explored through the Learning Platform (LP), which had three key research objectives:

1) Research on stakeholder perspectives and practices and potential economic impacts;

2) Conducting socio-technological Learning Labs (SLLs) to assist the co-design of socially acceptable technologies;

3) Supporting the learning within and between WPs through a monitoring and evaluation framework.

Overall through the LP we have gained a deeper understanding of the innovation process and how this can be used to improve the development and deployment of new technologies.
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Keywords: BBSRC; DEFRA; DETECTION; ESRC; FOREST MANAGEMENT; FORESTRY; FORESTRY COMMISSION; NERC; PATHOGENS; PESTS; PLANT BIOSECURITY; SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT; SURVEILLANCE; TREE HEALTH; TREE HEALTH & PLANT BIOSECURITY INITIATIVE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2017

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