Big thanks for PHEL support

26 October 2023

This spring the Plant and Environment Laboratory (PHEL) has provided fantastic support to KVH in testing for the possible presence of Psa from a range of South Island samples.

Psa V-like symptoms, including rusty exudate from winter buds and cut canes have been reported from a few different sites, indicating that growers are out monitoring for the unusual. See some images samples here.

In all cases, presence of Psa-V has been ruled out and further testing for fungal or bacterial pathogens has not shown any organisms of concern. This work supports the role KVH plays in continued surveillance to ensure the freedom of the South Island from Psa.

PHEL, of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), is New Zealand’s national plant health reference laboratory responsible for identifying and confirming all suspect new plant pests and diseases, and invasive plants found in New Zealand. The team provides science advice and diagnostic services and ensures resources are targeted to anticipating potential pathogens and readiness to respond if any of these pests and diseases arrive.

PHEL nematologists have also supported our industry Kiwifruit Plant Certification scheme (KPCS) by identifying nematode samples from a nursery survey undertaken to support our knowledge of target organisms relating to this programme; and entomologists also play a significant role in helping keep watch for exotic pests like Brown Marmorated Stink Bug as awareness programmes generate many enquiries each season. Most of these are screened by PHEL entomologists who sit behind the scenes for Find-A-Pest.

The strong relationships with PHEL – introduced and hard at work in this video - and our other diagnostic partners, ensure our unusual symptoms reports are in good hands.