Understanding cross-protection of viral diseases in horticultural crops – a case study of citrus tristeza virus (BY22002)
What is it all about?
This investment is developing a vaccine-like solution to arm the Australian citrus industry with an effective way to combat citrus tristeza virus.
The research team will work collaboratively with the citrus industry to gather information about different variants of the virus from across major citrus-growing regions so that an effective plant-protection solution can be developed.
The impact of CTV on citrus crops can vary from no effect to 100 per cent tree death, depending on the variant. CTV can cause tree decline and stem-pitting, resulting in significant loss of yield and productivity. There are only limited control options.
CTV is a highly variable virus, with many strains known to occur. Some strains are mild and may have no visible effect on citrus plants, while others can be severely destructive. Establishing a link between a particular strain of the virus and the expression of CTV has been notoriously difficult.
This research will establish which strains are the core components of CTV – that is, which strains need to be present for the disease to occur. Once those strains are identified, the research team will reverse-engineer a dead or a mild version of those strains that can be used to trigger an immune response, in a vaccine-like manner.