Video-New phylloxera detection method: opportunities and next steps

2018 ASVO Seminar; Frontline pest and disease management for healthy vineyards
New phylloxera detection method: opportunities and next steps

Inca Pearce, Vinehealth Australia

Growers are in their vineyards every week. They are the eyes and ears of our biosecurity army. Active surveillance for grape phylloxera requires practical and effective tools for growers and regulators alike.

Vinehealth Australia, with the support of a national project team, has just completed a six-year Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre and Wine Australia funded project titled ‘Sampling strategies for sensitive, accurate cost-effective detection of grape phylloxera for quantifying area freedom status’.

The aim of this project was to develop a simple field sampling protocol for the collection of soil cores that could deliver cost-effective, sensitive and accurate detection of grape phylloxera DNA using a molecular biology technique called quantitative PCR (qPCR). This ‘DNA method’ does not require collection of whole insects but can detect phylloxera DNA from all stages of the insect’s lifecycle including eggs.

This project has recommended that the DNA method be included in the National Phylloxera Management Protocol as a primary phylloxera detection method.

Endorsement of this phylloxera detection method, alongside the emergence trap method and the currently endorsed visual root inspection method, will provide growers and regulators with an integrated toolkit of field sampling and detection options to utilise as part of national surveillance plans.

This will enable greater confidence in area freedom status, delimiting of incursions and upgrading of phylloxera management zone status.