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Completed project

Improving diagnostics and biosecurity for graft-transmissible diseases in citrus (CT17007)

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries
Publication date: Thursday, October 20, 2022

What was it all about?

From 2019 to 2022, this investment strengthened the Australian citrus industry’s ability to combat graft-transmissible diseases through improved knowledge of citrus pathogens and how to diagnose them. The project supported the NSW DPI Citrus Pathology Program in collaboration with other bodies, including Auscitrus.

The work followed on from earlier Hort Innovation Citrus Fund investment Protecting Australian citrus germplasm through improved diagnostic tools (CT14009), which enhanced Australia’s capability to detect and manage major pathogen threats, such as huanglongbing, and built an experienced citrus biosecurity team. This project continued this critical work to ensure industry and government were armed with appropriate tools and knowledge to protect Australian citrus from diseases threatening industry sustainability.

The citrus biosecurity team worked on research and diagnostic issues prioritised by the citrus industry and addressed suspected and confirmed incursion responses. Some key achievements included:

  • Improved detection methods were evaluated or developed for 42 pathogens (20 exotic and 22 endemic). 
  • Expansion of national diagnostic capability to other state diagnostic laboratories in Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. 
  • Adoption of detection tools recommended by the project improved the accuracy and speed of diagnostic results. 
  • Testing survey samples from around Australia for the exotic diseases of huanglongbing and citrus variegated chlorosis supported the industry’s early warning system and provided evidence of absence data. 
  • Samples tested for endemic diseases expanded the industry’s pathogen collection by adding new accessions, which enabled the robustness of test methods to be checked and increased understanding of the incidence of endemic viruses and viroids. 
Related levy funds

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