KVH takes part in lab open day

10 June 2021

The Plant Health and Environment Laboratory (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.

Recently KVH were invited to a Government Industry Agreement (GIA)-partner open day at PHEL in Auckland, to meet the science team, and hear more about their biosecurity surveillance and incursion investigation role.

Other GIA partners also joining the tour included representatives from the avocado, potato, and forestry industries and representatives from several MPI and GIA groups who work in partnership with industry to deliver readiness and response projects.

The day was introduced by Veronica Herrera, Director for Diagnostic and Surveillance Services and visits were made to various areas on-site including the post-entry quarantine facilities. A video showing the team at work throughout the lab is available here.

Importantly, a workshop asking how we can further improve sharing between industry and scientists to build even stronger networks and relationships followed. There was a strong theme of willingness to support industry enquiries coming through as growers and industry observe and follow up on ‘the unusual’.

The PHEL lab has supported KVH in follow-up of more than 30 unusual kiwifruit vine symptoms from kiwifruit growers and nurseries, as well as numerous reports of suspect Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) via the exotic pest and disease hotline.

PHEL staff continue to provide expert input and advice in developing research strategies, potential diagnostics, and surveillance planning for industry via their input as a steering group member of the Kiwifruit Biosecurity Research Portfolio.