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Ongoing project

Sampling for Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) (PT19001)

Key research provider: The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)

What’s it all about?

This short investment began in 2019 to help deliver a fully operational method to monitor for and detect Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) should it arrive on Australian shores. The CLSo bacterium poses a significant threat to the potato industry, being associated with ‘zebra chip’ disease and able to be carried by the tomato potato psyllid. This investment to prepare and protect the Australian industry follows previous levy-funded projects Diagnostic capability to detect Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) (PT17000) and Developing and implementing a high throughput diagnostic test for Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) (PT17000).

The previous research validated a protocol for CLso detection in potatoes and provided sampling recommendations for optimal detection in both tuber slices and stem sections. However, these samples are prone to rapid degradation during transit to diagnostic laboratories. For this reason, this latest project is designed to:

  • Improve sample integrity by identifying appropriate handling and preservation methods.

  • Investigate alternative sample types, such as tuber cores taken at the heel end. These could produce a more consistent sample and improve its preservation, as well as also being used as diagnostic samples for other biosecurity screening.

  • Field test the protocol with industry to check the logistics for any issues that may impede an emergency response.

Improving this capability will address the diagnostic needs for developing a national emergency response plan, as well as conducting large-scale surveillance, potato seed certification and assessment of disease-free areas.


This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Potato - Fresh and Potato - Processing Funds