Industry News

Micro-organisms in Psa battle

Micro-organisms may be the answer to fighting the vine disease Psa-V which came close to devastating the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

Plant & Food Research scientists are fighting the disease Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae on two fronts as part of the Next-Generation Biopesticides research programme.

Today, 2724 orchards have been identified with Psa, representing 87 percent of the country's kiwifruit orchard area.

Thanks to a new more Psa-V tolerate variety of gold kiwifruit, the industry has recovered but the bacterial disease is still a threat to vine health.

Scientists have harnessed the power of microorganisms to develop natural agents that can combat Psa from above- and below-ground. A combination of these natural agents may prove to be more effective at controlling this disease and improving kiwifruit vine health than using either agent alone, and field trials to test this are underway.

Psa was discovered in New Zealand in November 2010 and has spread rapidly throughout most of the country's kiwifruit growing regions. Left untreated, the bacteria can badly damage vines and cause substantial losses of fruit.

Today, 2724 orchards have been identified with Psa, representing 87 percent of the country's kiwifruit orchard area.