Diagnostic capability to detect Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) (PT17000)
What was it all about?
Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) represents a serious threat to the potato industry. The bacterium can be carried by the tomato potato psyllid, first detected in Australia in early 2017, and is associated with ‘zebra chip’ disease, which is able to cause large economic losses in potato crops.
This investment was about bolstering efforts to monitor for and contain CLso. It involved research at a New Zealand site to look at the natural distribution of the bacterium throughout an infected field and specific plants, to develop improved sampling guidelines. This produced one of the first detailed accounts of the bacterium in field grown potato plants.
The project team also assessed an in-field diagnostic tool for detecting CLso, validating the approach as a rapid and easy-to-use option for plant health field officers to consider. They also worked with laboratories across Australia and New Zealand to determine technical proficiency in using the current CLso laboratory testing protocol – both providing a training exercise and evidence that diagnostic capability exists in multiple labs across the country.