Skip to main content
Ongoing project

Translating RNAi technology for virus and whitefly management in protected cropping systems (AS22003)

Key research provider: The University of Queensland

What is it all about?

This project is developing a new crop protection approach to manage viruses and their insect vectors in Australian protected cropping applications, with the overall aim of improving sustainability and profitability.

This research will expand the use of RNA interference (RNAi) technology from small-scale research greenhouses to large-scale commercial farming. RNAi works by targeting and disabling specific genes in pests and viruses, preventing them from damaging crops. This method involves spraying crops with specially designed RNA molecules that are highly specific for their virus targets, using a safe, environmentally friendly delivery system called BioClay. Unlike traditional pesticides, this approach is non-toxic, does not involve genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and reduces the risk of pests developing resistance.

The project will test this innovative technology in real-world protected cropping conditions to ensure it is effective, scalable, and compatible with existing pest management practices. If successful, it could lead to a significant reduction in chemical pesticide use, enhance crop health and yield, and have positive economic and environmental impacts on Australian agriculture.