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Completed project

Protecting Australian citrus germplasm through improved diagnostic tools project (CT14009)

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries
Publication date: Friday, December 14, 2018

What was it all about?

Running from 2014 into 2018, this project was responsible for supporting the NSW DPI Citrus Pathology Program team, in collaboration with Auscitrus, in assessing, developing and validating laboratory diagnostic procedures for a number of endemic graft-transmissible pathogens of citrus, to help secure the high health status of the Australian citrus industry.

By nature these activities were largely technical, and were all geared towards ensuring Australia is using the most reliable, sensitive and efficient testing methods available.

Throughout the project…

  • The NSW DPI citrus pathogen collection was catalogued and expanded – providing a valuable resource to support diagnostic tool development

  • The team evaluated existing methods or developed new tests to improve the capability to detect 15 endemic and 10 exotic graft-transmissible citrus pathogens, including the causal agents of Huanglongbing (HLB), the biggest threat to citrus

  • The improved diagnostic tools developed and validated through the project have been adopted by the National Citrus Repository program (funded through a separate Hort Innovation Citrus Fund project) and the Auscitrus propagation scheme to test plant material prior to supply to industry

  • New viroid detections were made using the improved diagnostic tools

  • The project team participated in surveillance for citrus emergency plant pests in production, urban or high risk areas, and surveillance samples were tested for the causal agents of HLB and citrus variegated chlorosis to provide evidence of absence

  • Project team members delivered the message about the threat of graft-transmissible diseases to Australian citrus via extension publications and presentations at industry forums, including biosecurity workshops in major citrus growing regions.


The project has produced these grower fact sheets on citrus tristeza virus and citrus viruses in Australia.

Related levy funds

978 0 7341 4443 0

This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund

Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the citrus research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower‐owned, not‐for‐profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.