Also this year, on the occasion of the awarding of the Wilhelm Exner Medal, the Wilhelm Exner Medal Foundation organized a poster session as part of the Exner Lectures. The theme for 2024 was “Milestones for a future worth living”. The search was for innovative technological, social, democratic or societal solutions for the challenges of the coming years.

Besides numerous authors from the fields of applied physics and chemistry, two international Master students (Erasmus Mundus Master Program in Plant Breeding (emPLANT+ and International Master in Horticulture) from PBU were selected to present their posters on May 14, 2024 and to represent BOKU.

BSc. Stefan Hölfont "Phytosanitary status evaluation of Cornus mas accessions in Pielachtal, Austria". This work was funded by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism and the Province of Lower Austria, Austria, as part of Project No. 101692 on Cornelian cherries.

Interestingly, only North American Cornus sp have been reported to be host of viruses and phytoplasmas; however, since Cornus mas is mainly considered a wild plant in Europe, there are no reports about infections in Austria and no surveys have ever been conducted to date. This work is based on the analysis by RT-PCR and PCR of more than 100 Cornus mas accessions from Pielachtal, Lower Austria, displaying phytoplasma and virus symptoms. If found infected, measures can be taken to produce virus free planting material. It will be part of an active intervention to preserve the biodiversity of C. mas in the region, as changing climatic conditions have a considerable impact on wild-growing plants.

BSc. Ana Patricia Burillo Cartagena “Developing Genetic Transformation Methods for Olive Tree: A Step Towards Xylella fastidiosa Resistance Breeding”. This work was carried out as part of the FAO/IAEA project CRP D24014 and the international project REACH XY "Research actions for reducing the impact on agricultural and natural ecosystems of the harmful plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa".

Olives (Olea europaea) face a severe threat from Xylella fastidiosa, a pathogen with an extremely wide host range. This gram-negative bacterium is responsible for the Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS). This research aims to contribute to biotechnological strategies by focusing on the development of methods for genetic improvement of olive trees. Actively growing in vitro plants are the pre-requisite for the most important task in genetic engineering of woody plants: the regeneration of new plants either through somatic embryogenesis via callus induction or organogenesis from leaf disks.

Wilhelm Exner Medal Foundation:
Significant Milestone
Award of the 2024 Exner Lectures