Effective Detection and Response

Effective Detection and Response

Research Program 2 – Effective Detection and Response has three themes:

Theme 1: New technology for surveillance and monitoring of plant pests

  • Identification of the most appropriate surveillance activities for plant pests based on risk to enable early detection. These will be developed via analysis of offshore intelligence combined with natural weather patterns, including extreme weather events.

  • Improved surveillance tools, building on the outputs of CRCNPB, e.g. better traps that contain pheromones that specifically attract high risk pests; traps that automatically report the presence of a suspect pest via telemetry (e.g. fruit fly surveillance in pest free areas); and unmanned aerial vehicles to determine the spread of fungal pathogens.

Theme 2: Faster, cheaper, more accurate identification of pests

  • Diagnostic methods will include tools for field and border staff involved in early response to suspected pest incursions. This research will include further improvements to the very successful digital diagnostic research commenced in CRCNPB as well as hand-held devices for in-field use.

  • Additional tools for use in the emerging National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network (NPBDN) including methods for initial confirmation of an intercepted pest based on genomic analysis. This will enable detection of the known as well as the unknown (new and emerging), a priority for the quarantine service (AQIS) in management of post-entry quarantine.

  • Diagnostic techniques that can deal with a large number of samples in a short time based on DNA and antibodies for use in surveillance activities in the event of an emergency response.

Theme 3: Sharper responses to incursions

  • Eradication methods to remove exotic pests without destroying plants, the environment or social capital. Current eradication approaches favour destruction of infected and nearby susceptible plants. At potential risk are vineyards (over 100 years old), heritage listed amenity plantings, conservation areas and the viability of entire plant industries. Preliminary CRCNPB work showed that it is possible to eradicate an exotic fungal pest from grapevines without killing the plants. In PBCRC, this work will be expanded to other pest/crop combinations.

  • Decision support tools that enable responders to quickly determine what plant pests have a high probability of eradication and which ones are unlikely to be eradicated.

  • Methods of eradication for high probability plant pests which will then become an integral part of relevant national industry biosecurity plans.

Projects in this Program