Biological Analysis Laboratory

The Biological Analysis Laboratory (LAB) conducts R&D projects and provides a full range of analytical services to screen for and identify pathogens (viruses, fungi, bacteria, phytoplasmas, and viroids) as well as microorganisms that are beneficial to crops. The procedures LAB uses to test crops such as potatoes, berries, and grapes comply with the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard for laboratory practice.

CFIA-approved potato analyses

All seed potato lots produced in Canada, including those destined for export, must comply with phytosanitary requirements. Phytosanitary quality must be verified with tests performed at a CFIA-approved laboratory. In addition, all samples must be taken under the supervision of a CFIA inspector.

Since 2003, LAB has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to screen for 10 seed potato pathogenic agents, as well as in-vitro propagation material. LAB follows the latest version of CFIA-endorsed protocols to screen for PVY, PVS, PVX, PVA, and PVM viruses; potato leaf roll virus (PLRV); potato latent virus (PotLV); potato mop-top virus (PMTV); potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd); and Clavibacter michiganensis ssp. Sepedonicus—the bacterium responsible for bacterial ring rot in potatoes.

When submitting samples for CFIA testing, the following two forms must be included.

Screening for potato diseases

The Québec potato growers association (PPTQ) has adopted a seed potato certification program (PCQ) to certify the superior quality of seed potato produced in Québec and to set tolerance thresholds for detection of the PVY virus and the potato leaf roll virus (PLRV).

LAB employs RT-PCR post-harvest screening protocols for the rapid detection of viruses (PVA, PVM, PVS, PVX, PVY, PLRV) in leaves or tubers immediately after harvest. ELISA tests are used to detect the PMTV virus and the bacterium responsible for bacterial ring rot in potatoes.

When submitting samples for potato disease testing, the following two forms must be included.


Berry and grape analyses

Screening for pathogenic agents in berries

LAB employs serological techniques (ELISA and immunofluorescence) or molecular amplification methods (PCR and RT-PCR) to screen berries for a variety of pathogenic agents, including harmful bacteria, fungi, viruses, and phytoplasmas.

LAB performs screening tests for 7 different viruses on plant foliage sampled at the time of planting, during the growing season, and post-harvest.

SMoV Strawberry mottle virus – transmission non-circulante puceron
SVBV Strawberry vein banding virus - transmission non-circulante puceron
SMYEV Strawberry mild yellow edge virus – transmission circulante puceron
SCV Strawberry crinkle virus – transmission circulante puceron
SPaV Strawberry Pallidosis associated virus – transmission non-circulante aleurode
BPYV Beet pseudo yellows virus – transmission non-circulante aleurode
SPV1 Strawberry polerovirus 1 – souvent associé aux infections du SMYEV

As part of the Innov’Action 2014-2017 research program, LAB conducts tests to screen for pathogenic fungi that cause black root rot and crown rot. LAB also screens for phytoplasmas and pathogenic nematodes in strawberries to determine the causes of dieback.


Contact us for detailed information, fees, and the full range of analytical services provided by LAB.

Richard Hogue, researcher

Richard Hogue


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Édith Plante, research assistant

Edith Plante

Research Assistant

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