Research to determine pathogenicity of Ceratocystis fimbriata on kiwifruit

19 March 2015

Ceratocystis fimbriata is a fungal pathogen that is causing significant damage to kiwifruit orchards in Brazil, with some growers reporting 50% vine loss over the past five years.

The sudden appearance of this pathogen in kiwifruit in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil is considered particularly alarming as kiwifruit is highly susceptible and the production impacts of the pathogen threaten the viability of this industry in Brazil. There have been no reports of impacts to kiwifruit from this pathogen outside of Brazil to date.

Planned research
New Zealand does have a strain of the C. fimbriata complex, causing black rot on kumara. Research is planned to determine if this strain is pathogenic to kiwifruit.

Control options against C. fimbriata have limited effectiveness and developing resistant or more tolerant cultivars is considered the best course of action to prepare for this pathogen.

A two year research project is being undertaken that will screen a number of C. fimbriata isolates, including the NZ and Brazilian isolates, for pathogenicity against a number of kiwifruit cultivars. This will allow the identification of:

Isolates of C. fimbriata that are pathogenic to kiwifruit Identification of tolerant / resistant cultivars or rootstocks.

Components of the research will be done offshore, however cultivar testing will require the Brazilian isolates to be imported into a New Zealand containment facility. Details on how the pathogen will be contained are provided in the document: Physical containment of plant pathogens.

Please see the KVH website for: