Health for humans, animals & plants

Noses on the lookout for fire

With their fine nose, dogs can not only sniff out diseases in humans, but also in plants.

We use these abilities: In large plant populations such as orchards or tree nurseries, it is usually difficult to recognise infected plants in good time - infected plants that do not yet show any symptoms of the disease cannot be distinguished from healthy plants with the naked eye. Trained dogs can do this - with their sense of smell.

In our PATDOG research project, we train dogs to detect the pathogens that cause fire blight and chestnut blight. Fire blight is a disease caused by bacteria that has killed thousands of fruit trees in recent decades. Infected plants can die within a very short time. However, fire blight also affects many wild and ornamental plants, which in turn can be the starting point for further infections. Chestnut blight is a widespread fungal disease of sweet chestnuts. Rapidly recognising infected trees is important both for preventing the spread of the disease and for successfully restoring the trees.

The aim of PATDOG is for the dogs to be able to recognise these pathogens in plant stands in order to prevent further spread.

More information about PATDOG

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