The Board of the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC) toured vineyards in the Yarra Valley to see a new phylloxera detection system in action, as part of a regular program of visits with CRC Participants. 
 
Phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) is an aphid-like insect that destroys grapevines by feeding on vine roots,” said Alan Nankivell, CEO of the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia (PGIBSA). 
 
Phylloxera is the only regulated pest in the wine industry and a major concern for grape growers – vine removal or replanting on resistant rootstock are the only effective treatments,” he said. “Fast detection of phylloxera is essential for getting on top of incursions quickly, as well as managing areas free of the pest.” 
 
Mr Nankivell leads a Plant Biosecurity CRC project developing a sensitive, accurate and cost-effective method for the detection of phylloxera using a DNA-based test. “The technology can be very sensitive and highly accurate. What we are now working on is a cost-effective and simple sampling strategy that any grower can use to quickly detect phylloxera in their vines,” he said. 
 
Our aim is to empower growers with the ability to know where phylloxera is, and where it isn’t, so they can manage their vineyard for the best outcomes.” The Plant Biosecurity CRC Board holds meetings around Australia, taking the opportunity to see CRC research in the field and talk to end-users. “Alan won the award for best presentation at the Plant Biosecurity CRC Science Exchange only a few weeks ago,” said Board Chairman Dr Martin Barlass. “Seeing this exciting work in the field, and hearing from growers using the new method, is immensely satisfying for the Board.” “Great science is one thing but it must make a difference to growers in the vineyard.” 
 
More information on the project, including Alan’s award-winning presentation, is available at www.pbcrc.com.au/research/project/2061