Brazilian fungal disease high priority for Biosecurity Steering Group

24 July 2015

Ceratocystis fimbriata is a fungal pathogen causing wilt disease in a number of plant species, including kiwifruit where significant impacts have been reported in Brazil in recent years.

The serious potential impacts of Ceratocystis fimbriata and the lack or kiwifruit specific research being done elsewhere makes this a high priority organism for Kiwifruit Biosecurity Research and is on KVH’s Most Unwanted List.

Ceratocystis fimbriata projects within the Kiwifruit Biosecurity Research Portfolio include:

  • Pathogenicity testing of the New Zealand kumara strain of C. fimbriata. Fortunately the results of this project shown that the New Zealand strain is not pathogenic to kiwifruit and therefore our efforts can be focused on keeping new pathogenic strains outside of New Zealand.
  • A comprehensive literature review by an international expert to specifically understand the risks and potential impact of the pathogen to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry. This review has significantly improved our understanding of C. fimbriata.
  • The next project will sequence a number of Ceratocystis strains to develop primers that will advance our ability to keep pathogenic strains out of New Zealand and provide a tool to diagnose infected vines should the pathogen establish.

A Ceratocystis fimbriata fact sheet can be found on the KVH website here.