High health pre-commercial propagation material for Australian strawberry growers (BS19000)
What’s it all about?
This investment is producing healthy propagation material for the pre-commercial temperate, sub-tropical and Mediterranean varieties developed through the industry’s national breeding program, currently managed by the levy-funded project National strawberry varietal improvement program (BS17000). Together, these projects are ensuring that the Australian strawberry industry has access to improved, locally adapted varieties into the future, continuing the development and commercial release of superior varieties for targeted environments.
Project BS19000 specifically undertakes vigorous testing for a range of bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens, as well as heat treatment for pathogen eradication. High-health pathogen-tested strawberry varieties are critical to industry as they reduce the economic impact of pests and diseases on runner and fruit production.
During this reporting period, the following activities have been completed:
- The third batch of breeding selections from the breeding program have completed their first year of indexing and daughter material is available for distribution to growers. A total of 13 pre-commercial breeding selections have been indexed.
- An agreement has been reached to extend the project by two years and to reduce the breeding lines from 18 to 12, so that the total number of strawberry lines for the project (72) can still be met.
In the second year of this project, five pre-commercial breeding selections were indexed by Crop Hygiene, Agriculture Victoria. Nine selections were supplied in vitro by the breeding program (BS17000) in September 2020. These were deflasked and hardened and then maintained in the high health screenhouse facilities. Five selections were confirmed for indexing in January 2021.
These selections have been tested for viruses using molecular and biological indexing methods and for fungi via culturing. The plants were monitored weekly for disease symptoms and pest incursions. No pathogens of concern were detected.
A further thirteen additional lines have been delivered to Agribio in August 2021 for establishment and possible pathogen testing in the third year of the project.
The first five selections from the breeding program have completed the first year of testing and daughter material is available for distribution to growers. This involved testing for viruses using molecular and biological indexing methods and for fungi using baiting. The plants were monitored weekly for disease symptoms and pest incursions, and no pathogens were detected.
Nine selections have been made for delivery and testing during the second year of the project.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Strawberry Fund