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Ongoing project

Environmental DNA technologies for rapid detection and identification of avocado priority pests (AV21003)

Key research provider: Enviro DNA

What's it all about?

This investment is developing environmental DNA (eDNA) technologies for the rapid detection and identification of priority pests for the avocado industry. Innovation in field and lab-based testing techniques will improve the ability of the avocado industry, and those undertaking surveillance activities, to quickly and accurately identify pest incursion threats in a cost-effective manner.

Short term (<3 years) outcomes include:

  • eDNA capabilities for diagnostics and surveillance of priority avocado pests and pathogens, in addition to emerging biosecurity species of interest relevant for Australian avocado biosecurity have been developed.
  • eDNA sampling methods that increase sensitivity and cost-efficiency of surveillance activities, particularly under an outbreak situation, have been developed and tested in the field.
  • A subset of biosecurity officers have working knowledge of eDNA sampling protocols and in-field assay deployment, and these officers have been given the tools to train others within their department/organisation.
  • There is increased industry awareness of avocado biosecurity threats, and the role of eDNA technologies in responding to these threats.

Medium to long term (>3 years) outcomes from this project include:

  • The development of eDNA capabilities for Australia’s agricultural industries, specifically to the biosecurity area.
  • Frameworks for improved pest surveillance activities that integrate eDNA methods with species occupancy detection modelling.
  • Integration of eDNA testing into designs for surveillance of exotic plant pests.
  • An improved understanding of how eDNA technologies could be used in Australian agriculture to decrease risk and improve profitability.
  • Increased capacity building in biosecurity preparedness through collaborations with high calibre researchers.
Related levy funds

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