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Ongoing project

Management of foliar bacterial diseases in vegetables (VG22001)

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

What's it all about?

This project is supporting vegetable growers to manage foliar bacterial diseases by providing them with ways to detect pathogens quickly and then treat them effectively. The research works collaboratively with the vegetable industry’s levy-funded communication and extension programs such as VegNET to share the findings with the industry. Outputs such as factsheets, presentations at grower workshops and webinar covering different stages of the trials will be used so that growers can see how to use and apply the products and see the results in progress. 

This project will be undertaken in two phases:

Phase 1: Develop effective early warning tools for major bacterial diseases

This phase will focus on developing tools for growers to detect the presence of major bacterial diseases early and assist them to make informed management decisions before diseases become a large production issue. The project builds on key learnings from previous research to expand current understanding of the survivability and infection risks of bacterial diseases posed by infected plant debris, weeds, and alternate hosts. In addition, the project will develop proof-of-concept targeted eDNA methods for the detection of key bacterial pathogens  in water, soil, and plant debris.

Phase 2: Design a biology-informed holistic treatment approach for promoting plant health

In this phase, the research team will use the early warning screens from Phase 1 to develop new guidelines for the timing and dosage of currently available commercial and novel antibacterial treatments. The research team will use high-throughput screening to identify effective bioprotectant bacteria and fungi among products currently available commercially and novel bacterial and endophytic fungal isolates in culture at Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE), Western Sydney University (WSU). Specifically, the research will assess whether the bioprotectants are effective at suppressing bacterial pathogens in the absence of a plant. The most promising bioprotectants and chemical products will be evaluated in plant assays both in isolation and in strategic combinations (e.g., chemical and biological together) given that a multi-pronged approach is more likely to be effective and reduce the likelihood of bacteria evolving resistance to the treatment(s).

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund