A new in-field molecular test to detect a significant pest threat to grain and horticulture crops has been developed to help protect production and profitability.

In an Australian first, Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development used Loop-mediated isothermal AMPlification (LAMP) technology to identify fall armyworm caterpillars, which can be very difficult to distinguish from other species.

Research scientist Ben Congdon said the test could accurately and rapidly identify fall armyworm at a molecular level in the field in under half an hour.

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