Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Preparations to enhance Australia's biosecurity: Part 2 - Resistance screening and pathogen research at Ramu Agri-Industries, PNG.

Abstract

There are a number of threats to the Australian sugarcane industry located in Papua New Guinea, including various moth borers (Sesamia grisescens, Chilo terrenellus, Scirpophaga excerptalis), downy mildew (Peronosclerospora sacchari), Ramu stunt and others. In recent years the Australian sugarcane industry has witnessed the disruption caused by an exotic disease incursion, with smut affecting crops in all districts. BSES Limited has a policy of preparing for potential exotic pest or disease incursions and part of this strategy is research into key PNG threats. This paper reports on work being undertaken in the following areas: (i) field resistance screening for Sesamia grisescens borer, downy mildew and Ramu stunt, (ii) assessing the incidence/strains of downy mildew present on the commercial Estate at Ramu and in wild canes around PNG, (iii) investigating more rapid shade-house resistance screening techniques for each of the pests and diseases, and (iv) continued investigations into the Ramu stunt causal agent. Research is progressing and a number of Australian commercial varieties are included in current resistance screening trials. Difficulties have been experienced in the application of sufficient pest or disease pressure in field trials. Intensive shade house research is providing new information on pest and disease biology and ways in which the resistance screening tests may be accelerated. Pathogen research is highlighting the nature and variation in the causal agents.