Ceratocystis fimbriata update
Ceratocystis fimbriata is a fungal pathogen causing widespread damage to the Brazilian kiwifruit industry (see KVH Bulletin, 20 Feb). The disease is of significant concern to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and efforts are being made to increase our understanding of the disease—both to prevent it from entering our borders and to effectively manage it should it arrive.
Efforts that are being made to understand this pathogen include:
A full literature review on Ceratocystis fimbriata on kiwifruit and other crops by an international expert in this field. This report is due in early 2015 and will include;
- Impact of the disease on crop production;
- Taxonomy of Ceratocystis fimbriata complex which is complicated and has possibly been confused in some instances;
- How the pathogen has spread and control measures that have been effective on other crops (there are no controls reported to be effective on kiwifruit);
- Evaluation of Ceratocystis wilt in kiwifruit in Brazil and potential for disease impact if strains aggressive to kiwifruit were introduced to New Zealand.
- Measures that should be deployed to reduce the risk of introductions of new strains of C. fimbriata to New Zealand and what could be done to minimise losses if a virulent strain was introduced.
Another research project being developed will use molecular techniques to determine the similarity of the Brazilian kiwifruit strain with the strain found in New Zealand kumara. This project would identify any underlying basis for differences in pathogenicity between the strains and would result in a DNA based detection test.