Invasive species experts gather in Christchurch

11 May 2023

KVH attended the 4th International Congress on Biological Invasions in Christchurch early May.

This forum was a gathering of world experts on biosecurity, providing an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and establish relationships for future collaborations. Attendees included Tracy Leskey from the United States Department of Agriculture, familiar to the kiwifruit industry as a world expert on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) and Spotted Lanternfly (SLF).

There was an entire session dedicated to Ceratocystis sponsored by KVH, with 11 presenters including Irene Barnes from the University of Pretoria South Africa who also held an open presentation to the kiwifruit industry as part of her visit to New Zealand.

The portion of the conference programme dedicated to Ceratocystis highlighted how this pathogen is of increasing importance to many crops and tree species globally. It is also a pathogen that is increasing in significance for the kiwifruit industry. While we have been aware of the Brazilian isolates of this pathogen for many years and undertaken many projects in partnership with Biosecurity New Zealand and Zespri Innovation, recent research has confirmed that risk isn’t confined only to the kiwifruit strains in Southern Brazil and that there are other isolates from other hosts and geographic locations that can also affect kiwifruit. Keep an eye out in future Bulletins for more detailed results from these pathogenicity trials.

This is all good knowledge to be aware of to ensure our readiness activities are effective against a broad range of Ceratocystis pathogens and to ensure that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has appropriate border measures to keep the pathogen out.

Growers should note that while lab studies have shown that other strains are capable of infecting kiwifruit, we are not seeing significant impacts to kiwifruit production from this pathogen anywhere outside Southern Brazil. The kiwifruit industry was also publicly commended for the level of preparedness we have taken for a pathogen that is not within our borders.

Image: Speakers from the Ceratocystis session of the conference, sponsored by KVH.