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Ongoing 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

What’s it all about?

Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) is one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests. This is because the psyllid acts as a vector for the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Clso), which is associated with ‘zebra chip’ disease and ‘psyllid yellows’ in solanaceous plants.

In 2017, TPP was found to have established in Western Australia, but not to have spread further. This investment supports a critical national surveillance, identification and reporting program for the pest and Clso across Australia on behalf of the horticulture industry. Highly collaborative across states and territories, the program is designed for the early detection of and preparedness for TPP should it cross from Western Australia into other regions.

Data has been collected for the fifth sampling period (Year 3, Season 1) and no TPP or CLso were detected in any region in 2021.

The team reported the Year 2 season 1 and 2 of sampling (in most jurisdictions this covered spring 2020, autumn 21) including trap deployment locations, number of traps deployed and recovered, and number of TPP detected, tested for CLso, and positive for CLso.

An Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) experiment was conducted, to assess the impact of ACP lures and traps for the capture of TPP and other psyllids. The purpose was to test the viability of using these lures and traps in surveillance of ACP alongside TPP surveillance undertaken nationwide.

Citrus Australia trap findings were also reported by the team, with an update provided on progress of the national switch from yellow to green sticky traps across most jurisdictions.

Project progress and findings continued to be shared with growers, industry and other stakeholders at various events, forums and field days, as well as via social media and news outlets.


Read this Update: National TPP and zebra chip surveillance project article on the Your Levy at Work website, 17 June 2021

Read about calls for surveillance support in this TPP-Adopt-a-Trap Survey article published by The Tasmanian Times (26 June 2021), this Adopt-a-trap to monitor for tomato potato psyllid article on the PIRSA website, and this Territorians encouraged to join national Tomato Potato Psyllid Trapping Project story on the Get Regional website.

National sampling work was staggered for each region to coincide with the growing season and insect activity. The first season sampling was in spring 2019, with the second season for most jurisdictions (year 1, season 2) in autumn 2020, and the third season (year 2, season 1) in spring 2020. Results have been analysed and reported.

COVID-19 restrictions had an impact on sampling efforts, with the team adapting its plans to ensure that full surveillance objectives continue to be achieved.

The potential to adapt the national TPP surveillance to encompass multiple psylloidea pest species, specifically Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), was explored the by the project team, with a multi-lure experiment successfully conducted in Western Australia to determine whether the ACP lures and traps have an impact on TPP capture and that of other psyllids.

The project team engaged with industry stakeholders via several meetings, event presentations, publications and articles, and will continue to share results as they become available.


Read about the projects’ early results in the Winter 2020 edition of Vegetables Australia: National TPP surveillance program delivers first season results (page 66).


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