STRENGTHENING AUSTRALIA'S DEFENSES AGAINST XYLELLA FASTIDIOSA
Xylella fastidiosa (Pierce’s disease) is the number one exotic national priority pest for Australia, which could have severe impacts on a broad range of horticultural industries.
It’s critical that Australia enhances its readiness to fight Xylella fastidiosa.
That was the goal of the recently completed Improving Preparedness of the Australian Horticultural Sector to the Threat Potentially Posed by Xylella fastidiosa (MT17006) project funded by the levy through Hort Innovation. This collaborative levy project, which ran from 2017–23 and involved multiple departments, aims to increase Australia's diagnostic capabilities to combat potential incursions.
Led by Agriculture Victoria, this project saw Australia's national diagnostic protocol for Xylella fastidiosa updated, ensuring accurate tools are available for any potential incursion response.
Understanding Xylella fastidiosa
Xylella fastidiosa is a destructive bacterium that is transmitted by sap-sucking insects. It threatens over 650 plant species worldwide. It infects the vital water transport tissues (xylem) of host plants, causing blockages and eventual plant death.
While Xylella fastidiosa has not yet reached Australia and New Zealand, it is estimated that an incursion could cost horticultural industries over $1.2 billion annually, as well as posing a significant threat to various crops.
Global Insights Shaping Local Responses
The project team gathered international insights by visiting Europe and the Americas, which informed the project's outcomes, including integrating relevant testing procedures into Australia's diagnostic protocol.
Continuing the Quest for Preparedness
Agriculture Victoria’s Dr Fiona Constable (Project Lead and Research Leader – Microbiology) said knowledge-sharing across industry and nations is important to keep Australia ahead of the curve in preventing outbreaks of Xylella.
“Have a chat with your local extension officer about Xylella,” Dr Constable said.
“We are incredibly lucky not to have a local, known outbreak of Xylella but the risk of introducing the bacterium is high, so we need to start preparing now.”
For more information on Improving preparedness of the Australian horticultural sector to the threat potentially posed by Xylella fastidiosa (a severe biosecurity risk) (MT17006), read the report here: www.horticulture.com.au/growers/help-your-business-grow/research-reports-publications-fact-sheets-and-more/mt17006b
For detailed information on Xylella in nursery production, see our:
Factsheet and contingency plan here: nurseryproductionfms.com.au/pests-diseases-weeds
Pest identification information here: pestid.com.au
To arrange a call from a GIA Extension Officer:
Contact Director RDE and Biosecurity John McDonald at email@example.com
Find your local Extension Office here: nurseryproductionfms.com.au/technical-service-providers