Torstein Tengs

Research Scientist

(+47) 473 14 850

Ås H8

Visiting address
Høgskoleveien 8, 1433 Ås

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Bartonella spp. are fastidious, Gram‐negative, aerobic, facultative intracellular bacteria that infect humans, domestic and wild animals. In Norway, Bartonella spp. have been detected in cervids, mainly within the distribution area of the arthropod vector deer ked (Lipoptena cervi ). We used PCR to survey the prevalence of Bartonella spp. in blood samples from 141 cervids living outside the deer ked distribution area (moose [Alces alces , n = 65], red deer [Cervus elaphus , n = 41], and reindeer [Rangifer tarandus , n = 35]), in 44 pool samples of sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus , 27 pools collected from 74 red deer and 17 from 45 moose) and in biting midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae, 120 pools of 6710 specimens). Bartonella DNA was amplified in moose (75.4 %, 49/65) and in red deer (4.9 %, 2/41) blood samples. All reindeer were negative. There were significant differences in Bartonella prevalence among the cervid species. Additionally, Bartonella was amplified in two of 17 tick pools collected from moose and in 3 of 120 biting midge pool samples. The Bartonella sequences amplified in moose, red deer and ticks were highly similar to B. bovis , previously identified in cervids. The sequence obtained from biting midges was only 81.7 % similar to the closest Bartonella spp. We demonstrate that Bartonella is present in moose across Norway and present the first data on northern Norway specimens. The high prevalence of Bartonella infection suggests that moose could be the reservoir for this bacterium. This is the first report of bacteria from the Bartonella genus in ticks from Fennoscandia, and in Culicoides biting midges worldwide.


Plants are exposed to various pathogens in their environment and have developed immune systems with multiple defense layers to prevent infections. However, often pathogens overcome these resistance barriers, infect plants and cause disease. Pathogens that cause diseases on economically important crop plants incur huge losses to the agriculture industry. For example, the 2016 outbreak of strawberry grey mold (Botrytis cinerea) in Norway caused up to 95% crop losses. Such outbreaks underline the importance of developing novel and sustainable tools to combat plant diseases, for example by increasing the plants’ natural disease resistance. Priming plant defenses using chemical elicitors may enhance resistance against multiple pathogens. Such an approach may reduce the use of chemical fungicides and pesticides that often select for resistant strains of pests and pathogens. My presentation will focus on the effectiveness of different chemical agents to prime woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) defenses against the necrotroph B. cinerea. We have identified several genes that seem to play a role in disease resistance in strawberry and associated epigenetic memory mechanisms. Our results point out new management avenues for more sustainable crop protection schemes.