Zebra chip disease: Portable diagnostic tool breakthrough aims for fast, accurate results
Posted February 21, 2017 14:20:29
A new portable diagnostic tool for identifying the devastating zebra chip disease may bring faster and more accurate results to stem its spread, according to New Zealand scientists.
Zebra chip is a bacteria which alters a plant's metabolism and burns striped patches in potatoes, making both the potato and its seed inedible and unmarketable.
It is mainly spread by infected tomato potato psyllids, a pest which was detected in Perth last week in a first and devastating blow for Australian biosecurity.
Dr Grant Smith is a plant pathologist with the Plant and Food Research institute in New Zealand and has been working on the development of the tool.
He said current tests were not accurate enough.
"Because they're relatively new pathogens we don't know an awful lot about it so we don't understand quite what the genetics, what the population structure is, of this bacterium," Dr Smith said.