International researcher shares threat knowledge
International researcher Professor Irene Barnes and KVH met recently to discuss one of our most unwanted threats, Ceratocystis.
Professor Barnes is a Ceratocystis expert at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and she was in New Zealand recently to present at a conference. While here, we secured the opportunity to share in her knowledge of the biosecurity threat posed by Ceratocystis; what they have learnt from dealing with it in South Africa; and the invasiveness and movement of fungal pathogens on a global scale.
KVH hosted Irene in the Bay of Plenty, including orchard, nursery, and pack-house visits. Alongside our colleagues at Zespri Innovation we also sat down for an in-depth discussion about our Ceratocystis research programme. We utilised Irene’s extensive knowledge and workshopped our knowledge gaps, possible future research programmes, and opportunities for collaboration in the future.
In kiwifruit, Ceratocystis can reduce fruit size, form lesions, and sometimes kill the vine. The first reports of this pathogen on kiwifruit, were in Brazil in 2010, causing some cultivars to experience up to 50% vine loss on-orchard. These impacts and the lack of control tools has ranked this pathogen as a significant biosecurity threat to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and is the highest-ranking pathogen on KVH’s ‘Most Unwanted’ list of threats.
Read more about Ceratocystis and the recent 4th International Congress on Biological Invasions in Christchurch in the Bulletin here.
Image: Professor Irene Barnes spent time with KVH while in New Zealand recently to speak about Ceratocystis.