The Plant Clinic

The NIBIO plant clinic is a diagnostic laboratory for identifying the different organisms that are harmful to plants. Proper identification is the first step in assessing which measures are appropriate for control and management of plant pests.

About the Plant Clinic

The plant clinic performs diagnostics for the Mattilsynet (The Norwegian Food Safety Authority), private enterprises in connection with public and independent controls on quarantine pests, as regulated by the "Forskrift om plantehelse" (the Norwegian regulations related to plants and measures against pests).
The plant clinic also performs diagnostics on other pests on behalf of plant producers, wholesalers, importers, amateur gardeners and other interested parties who wish to identify the cause of plant damage.


  • Identification of insects, mites, nematodes, snails, fungi, bacteria and viruses that are harmful to plants
  • Identification of weeds and other plants
  • Detection of various harmful organisms in soil

Diagnostic Methods

  • Visual inspection of the sample
  • Morphological identification of pests under a magnifying glass or microscope
  • Isolation of plant pathogens on a selective nutrient medium
  • Molecular identification methods, such as the detection of specific proteins and DNA
  • If required, verification of new disease-inducing organisms through infection trials

Insects, mites and nematodes are generally identified using a microscope but also through molecular methods, such as polymerase chain reaction and barcoding. Fungi can sometimes be identified by studying spores and assessing plant symptoms. However, to safely diagnose fungi it is now often necessary to isolate different fungus groups on a specially adapted artificial nutrient medium. Samples with a suspected virus or bacterial attack will often be tested using antibody-based techniques or other biotechnological methods.
During a standard testing procedure of a sample, we will normally identify the genus of the pest. We can usually identify the species of the pest but doing so is usually relatively labour- and cost intensive and the price of this service is therefore agreed separately.

The Norwegian legislation on food production and food safety, etc. ("Matloven", § 6) states that findings of suspected pests that could have a major impact on society, either from an environmental or economic perspective, must be reported to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. As a reference laboratory for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, NIBIO is required to report all confirmed findings of quarantine pests. This obligation applies only to findings made in Norway.