Mildura, Victoria

“Cross-industry mobile biosecurity surveillance launches first trial in citrus-growing region“ With a suite of six mobile surveillance units, or ‘sentinels’, […]

“Cross-industry mobile biosecurity surveillance launches first trial in citrus-growing region

With a suite of six mobile surveillance units, or ‘sentinels’, ready to deploy across the country, Australia’s plant industries have joined forces to change the way airborne pests and diseases are detected.

iMapPESTS: Sentinel Surveillance for Agriculture aims to rapidly monitor and report the presence of high-priority airborne pests and diseases through the development of a mobile plant pest surveillance network, which will provide actionable information to industry and government, on endemic, established and trade-sensitive or exotic pests. iMapPESTS will soon deploy Sentinel 4 to a citrus-growing location in Sunraysia, where it will focus on the surveillance of psyllids, including early detection of Asian Citrus Psyllid.

The sentinels, developed by South Australia’s Research and Development Institute (SARDI), capture airborne samples which are then sent to laboratories at SARDI and Agriculture Victoria Research (AVR) where they are examined to identify the presence of high-priority pests and pathogens. Once collected and analysed, the data can be used by industry to guide the direction or intensity of scouting efforts and pest control activities. It could also facilitate a coordinated cross-sector response to biosecurity efforts during exotic pest and disease incursions. Researchers at AVR using their cutting-edge diagnostic technology to screen for high-priority exotic pests, but are also able to report on the biodiversity of the insect trap samples, including beneficials that may be present.