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Ongoing project

SITplus: Raising Qfly sterile insect technique to world standard (HG14033)

Key research provider: Macquarie University

What’s it all about?

The sterile insect technique (SIT) is used around the world to control many pest fruit flies, and such programs are supported by significant investment in R&D. By comparison, Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) SIT has previously been poorly developed and insufficiently effective for deployment as a mainstream control option – but this project and others in the Fruit Fly Fund are working to change this. A substantial R&D effort is underway to raise Qfly SIT to world standard, and to establish SIT as a mainstream Qfly control option for use in area-wide management (AWM) programs.

The SITPlus consortium has been established to lead and co-ordinate the development of Qfly SIT and to support the development activities of the new Qfly SIT facility that has been established in South Australia. This specific investment is underway to bring both the technology and scientific underpinnings of Qfly SIT and AWM up to world standard as quickly as possible to meet the schedule required to ensure that the SITPlus initiative, and the new SA Qfly SIT facility, succeed in delivering viable and sustainable solutions to Australian growers.

The approach is integrative and collaborative, with broad participation from across the SITPlus consortium to make best use of available expertise and facilities across institutions. In addition to meeting the immediate and strategic needs of Qfly SIT R&D, this project will also train the next generation of fruit fly and biosecurity researchers for Australia.  A host of PhD students and Research Fellows are directly involved in the research, working across institutions to carry out each element of their work at the most appropriate institution.