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Ongoing project

Avocado industry biosecurity capacity and capability building: phase II (AV21003)

Key research provider: The University of Queensland

What's it all about?

This investment is bolstering biosecurity for the Australian avocado industry by monitoring and delivering new diagnostic protocols for key threats. By limiting the introduction or spread of new pests and pathogens, this project contributes to creating a sustainable avocado industry that can also use its’ enhanced knowledge of the endemic pests and pathogens to promote trade access overseas.

The key activities of this project are:

  • Improving and rigorously validating existing diagnostic protocols to international standards for exotic pests and pathogens for the Australian avocado industry and extending this diagnostic capacity to a secondary centre in Perth.

  • Developing and validating diagnostic protocols for two high priority exotic pests, the Persea mite Oligonychus perseae (Acari: Tetranychidae) and the avocado seed moth Stenoma catenifer (Lepidoptera: Depressariidae).

  • Validating and updating the national diagnostic protocol for laurel wilt.

  • Identifying and monitoring emerging biosecurity threats, communicating knowledge through industry publications and establishing linkages with related biosecurity projects.

  • Conducting surveys and identifying samples from growers and other industry stakeholders to scientifically underpin the pest free status of relevant pests and pathogens.

The overall aim of this project is to protect the Australian avocado industry from exotic pests and pathogens through developing or adopting diagnostic protocols to international standards and improving technical capability in the diagnosis of high priority exotic pests and pathogens. The diagnostic tests will also be used for surveillance activities to underpin pest free status of relevant pests and pathogens. 

During the first six months of the project, a literature review describing the diagnosis of all high priority exotic pests and pathogens for the Australian avocado industry has been written and provides references to diagnostic resources that have been created elsewhere in the world.

Comment is also provided on the taxonomy of each organism and whether there is potential to confuse the pest or pathogen of concern with a closely related endemic or exotic species. 

An expression of interest to create a National Diagnostic Protocol for avocado sunblotch viroid has been submitted to Plant Health Australia and is pending approval. 

The project team will be presenting at the World Avocado Congress in Auckland in April this year.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund