Plant Clinic

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Plant Clinic

Fera's Plant Clinic is the largest in the UK. Our work supports healthy plants and crops, increasing sustainable food production and protecting the environment.



Our crop testing and molecular facilities deliver expert diagnostics on a range of plant issues from all over the world. We have extensive expertise in the fields of bacterial, fungal, viral, insect and nematode identification.

Our experienced team offer bespoke testing so if you are unsure what kind of test you need, we can help diagnose your crop using our plant diagnostic techniques.

We can identify plant pests and pathogens found in arable crops, vegetables, trees, ornamental plants, protected edibles, seeds, soft fruit, turf and water. We also have a UKAS accredited nematology testing facility for PCN and free-living nematodes as well as the facility to test for pests and diseases of bees and mites in relation to food storage.

Our Experience

Our diagnosticians are globally recognised for their expertise in diagnosing plant diseases and identification of plant pests. Our approach is to use the most appropriate method for diagnosing each sample ranging from traditional techniques, such as microscopy through to cutting edge molecular diagnostics. We undertake high-quality research and monitoring to provide robust evidence, solutions and advice on the epidemiology and control of plant diseases in agriculture, horticulture and the natural environment. Our scientists undertake bespoke projects for growers to help address specific issues and improve yields.

We are working with the Tubercare initiative from Certis

Importance of Virus Testing

Adrian Fox, Principal Plant Virologist at Fera Science, explains the methods used in the lab to determine virus levels during the process of seed potato virus testing. He also compares direct molecular diagnostics and 'grow out' testing.

He then goes on to highlight the importance of virus testing in order to minimise yield reductions and maximise marketable yield.

View our Potato Tests

Tuber Disease Identification and Assessment

Our scientists support growers in all areas of agriculture and horticulture through plant health diagnostics, seed testing through to food authenticity and packaging analysis.

In this video, Fera plant diagnosticians explain the process of tuber disease identification and the importance of accurately identifying seed potato pathogens.

View our Potato Tests

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Scab Testing

Powdery and Common scab both are potato blemish diseases that cause unsightly scab like blemishes on the tubers which in turn result in the tubers being rejected or downgraded. These diseases share a range of symptoms which are solely applicable to the potato tubers themselves.

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Soft Rotting Bacteria

Regular monitoring is required to prevent the introduction and spread of blackleg and soft rot as these diseases pose a serious threat to British potato production. Bacteria soft rot is known to cause a greater loss of produce than any other known bacterial disease. 

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Foliar Nematodes from Plant Material

Symptoms of foliar nematode infection may include twisting and distortion of the plants, chlorosis and necrosis; often appearing as angular leaf spots or on the stem.

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Crop Testing

Our leading expertise and outstanding facilities can help you understand and identify your agricultural challenges; helping you to deliver more economically and environmentally resilient farming solutions for the sustainable intensification of arable systems.

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Nematology Testing

Fera's team of nematode experts provide a unique free-living nematode identification service, and offers nematode detection and consultancy advice for all sectors of agriculture and horticulture potentially reducing yield loss.  

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Big Soil Community

Join a growing community working to understand the complexity of soil biology so we can improve crop production. Learn more about the complex communities of bacteria, fungi plus new for this year included in the price is a ‘beta’ nematode screening telling you about the nematodes within your soil.


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Seed Testing

Our plant clinic experts offer a wide range of seed tests to meet your testing requirements including, Alternaria spp. seed test, Pospiviroid seed testing package, Colletotrichum spp. test on Lupin seed and much more.

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Virology Diagnosis

The virology diagnostics team at Fera utilises a range of tests, including ELISA, and molecular methods such as PCR and next generation sequencing, to both detect and identify a range of plant affecting viruses, viroids and phytoplasmas.

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Vine Spore Monitoring Service

Help protect your vines from highly destructive pathogens using Fera’s Vine Spore Monitoring Service which can, reduce costs, promote sustainable wine production and increase grape yield and quality.


Resources - Factsheets

Rhizoctonia Potato Disease

Rhizoctonia Potato Disease

Aphid Transmitted Viruses of Potato

Aphid Transmitted Viruses of Potato

Spraing Disease of Potato

Spraing Disease of Potato

Angular leafspot of Strawberry

Angular Leaf Spot of Strawberry

Nematode Pests of Soft Fruit Crops

Nematode Pests of Soft Fruit Crops

Phytophthora Diseases

Phytophthora Diseases

Pythium Diseases of Ornamental Plants

Pythium Diseases of Ornamental Plants

Fusarium and Verticillium Wilts

Fusarium and Verticillium Wilts

Blackleg and Soft Rot

Blackleg and Soft Rot

Fera has the best people in the right place focussed on delivering the right solution. We continuously invest in our people and support them in delivering the best science to our partners.
Areas of Expertise

Charles Lane

Charles has spent the past 20 years identifying fungal plant diseases both indigenous and alien to the UK. He leads Fera’s work on citizen science developing capability and capacity in stakeholders, NGOs and members of the public about plant health and biosecurity.

Meet the scientists

Tom Prior

Tom is the Senior Plant Nematologist at Fera. As lead nematologist, his role is to deliver a high-quality nematology diagnostic service to a wide range of UK and overseas government and commercial clients. The team utilises a range of both cutting edge and classical techniques.

Antonia Walker

Antonia Walker

Antonia is the Plant Clinic Sales Manager at Fera. Antonia supports growers both in the UK and internationally by offering testing solutions and bespoke services on a wide range of crops. The team of scientists and diagnosticians in the Fera Plant Clinic offer the highest standard of diagnostics.


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