Ruggero Osler
Immunized Plants
Survival of the Fittest: Learning from the Grapevine
anno di pubblicazione 2023

cartaceo 192 pp

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Cultivated plants, despite scientific progress, are paradoxically becoming more fragile and more at risk of disease than in the past: testifying to the endless waves of epidemics that are hitting our countryside and vineyards.
Owing to commonly used agronomic techniques we are undermining biodiversity and the natural resilience of our crops.
To confront costly and dangerous diseases, like epidemics, bold and innovative protection strategies are needed.
Instead of combatting the pathogen and the vector head on, this book focuses on the plant host and the real possibility of reinforcing that host through a process of induced resistance. All plants, grapevines included, like animals, learn from their “experiences” and are able to become immunized: after infection, they can become resistant to diseases and other stress factors.
This volume proposes the use of plants that are naturally immunized, those that have passed the gauntlet of Darwinian natural selection and have demonstrated stable and transmissible tolerances and resistances.

Angelo Gaja

Mario Fregoni

From the Author

1. The Californian experience of a young researcher
1.1. The meeting of minds at Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley
1.2. A year at the University of California Berkeley

2. Cultivated biological systems become increasingly fragile
2.1. Decreasing resilience in crops
2.2. Unstoppable epidemic diseases: a sign of crop weakness

3. Cultivated biological systems stray too far from their origins 
3.1. The loss of cultivated biodiversity
3.2. A halt on natural selection in crops

4. The impact of some innovative agronomic techniques on plant resilience
4.1. Genetic enhancement: extraordinary merits, and more
4.2. Genetically modified plants: too many promises
4.3. The clonal selection of crops: the grapevine, a shining example
4.4. Micropropagation: some shadows among too much praise
4.5. Pesticide use against plant pathogens: successes and failures
4.6. Endophytes and chemical pest control: two factors difficult to reconcile
4.7. Thermotherapy: useful, but not always justified
4.8. Plants in isolation: evading both induced resistance and natural selection
4.9. Allochthonous plants: not fully adapted to new conditions
4.10. Plant multiplication: forgotten sexual reproduction

5. Fragile agriculture and the need for food

6. The necessity of counteracting the phenomenon of weakening crops

7. Plant resistance against diseases
7.1. “Gene for gene” mechanism
7.2. The hypersensitivity response

8. Induced resistance
8.1. Systemic induced resistance
8.2. Epigenetic resistance

9. The most common inducers of resistance

10. Artificially induced resistance

11. General considerations on induced resistance

12. Recovery: the art of being fragile, learning from the grapevine
12.1. Recovery from phytoplasma diseases
12.2. Recovery and induced resistance
12.3. The art of being fragile

13. Epidemics can be resolved from within
13.1. The apricot trees that didn’t fall ill to phytoplasma
13.2. The virosis of the Lamon bean
13.3. White root rot of the apple tree caused by Rosellinia necatrix
14. Induced resistance and organic agriculture
15. The basics of an innovative approach
16. Working toward a resilient crop system that is more balanced with nature



Ruggero Osler, has been a National Research Council (CNR) researcher at the University of Milan for the Plant Pathology Institute, a Visiting Scientist at the University of California Berkeley, and a Plant Pathology Professor at the University of Udine. He studies innovative strategies to increase resilience in cultivated plants and to contain plant epidemics.
He has published over 250 articles in which he proposes actionable solutions for farmers; including functional solutions for viral diseases, such as Rice Yellows; and indirect/direct Recovery techniques against bacteria called phytoplasmas that cause Apple Proliferation, ESFY (European Stone Fruit Yellows), and Flavescence Dorée of the grapevine.
He began his viticulture research in sanitary clonal selections, and then subsequently opted to focus on population selections, ultimately concentrating on the fittest grapevines, produced by Darwianian natural selection, those with effective transgenerational acquired/induced resistances and tolerances.