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Ongoing project

Improving Australia’s ability to respond to graft transmissible citrus diseases (CT21005)

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

What's it all about?

This investment is working to arm the citrus industry with appropriate tools and knowledge to protect Australian citrus from diseases that threaten industry sustainability.

Detecting graft-transmissible pathogens can be difficult because field symptoms may be confused with other disorders and the pathogen may be present below detectable levels or unevenly distributed within the tree. It is important that diagnostic tests are specific to the target organism, sensitive, and efficient in terms of time and cost.

Previous Hort Innovation projects enhanced Australia’s capability to detect and manage major pathogen threats, such as huanglongbing (HLB), and built an experienced citrus biosecurity team. However, gaps in knowledge remain and diagnostic technologies continue to evolve. 

The research team will work to:

  • Improve detection of graft-transmissible citrus pathogens
  • Improve understanding of the threat posed by graft
  • Enhance capability to respond to existing and newly emerging pathogens.

Work was undertaken to increase the preparedness of the Australian industry and government against the threat posed by graft-transmissible diseases. The testing of survey samples from around Australia for the exotic diseases, huanglongbing (HLB) and citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC), supports the early warning system and provides evidence of absence data. The samples were also tested for endemic diseases which expanded the pathogen collection with new accessions, enabled the robustness of test methods to be checked and increased understanding of the distribution of endemic viruses and viroids.

The ability to test citrus plant material for graft-transmissible pathogen threats was enhanced by validation or development of new detection methods. Scientific engagement (nationally and internationally) enhanced understanding of graft-transmissible pathogens, improving Australia’s ability to detect, manage and determine their biosecurity risk.

Related levy funds

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