Skip to main content
Completed project

National tomato potato psyllid and zebra chip surveillance (MT18008)

Key research provider: The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia in collaboration with others
Publication date: Wednesday, March 8, 2023

What was it all about?

From 2019 to 2023, this investment supported a critical national surveillance, identification, and reporting program for tomato potato psyllid (TPP) and Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Clso) across Australia. Highly collaborative across states and territories, the program was designed for the early detection of and preparedness for TPP, should it cross from Western Australia into other regions.


TPP is one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests because the psyllid acts as a vector for the bacterium Clso, which is associated with ‘zebra chip’ disease and ‘psyllid yellows’ in solanaceous plants. In 2017, TPP was detected in Western Australia after establishing in Norfolk Island in 2015 and in New Zealand in 2006. 


Surveillance occurred over three years and targeted regions that were most likely to be the entry and establishment points for TPP. An ‘adopt-a-trap’ design was used to target metropolitan and outer metropolitan gardens throughout capital cities in most states and regional centres in Western Australia where TPP occurrence in Perth is known. 


Monitoring for other exotic psyllids, such as Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri), also occurred during the project. Using over 16,800 sticky traps nationwide, the surveillance resulted in no TPP, CLso or other psyllids exotic to Australia being positively detected in any state or territory outside Western Australia. 


The project did find that TPP had dispersed to the regional areas of Albany, Geraldton, and Carnarvon from the Perth metropolitan region in Western Australia. However, no CLso or other exotic psyllid was detected within the state. The project has resulted in a network of expert psyllid entomologists across Australia with reference material of tomato potato psyllid and Asian citrus psyllid in all major State and Territory biosecurity collections.


This project was a multi-industry strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Nursery, Potato - Fresh, Potato - Processing and Vegetable Funds