DAFWA Tomato-potato psyllid update

Tomato-potato psyllid Industry Update June 2018

The national Transition to management plan aimed to improve the capacity of the horticulture sector to manage TPP, and build confidence around the status of the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) associated with TPP.

Transitioning to management followed national agreement TPP cannot be eradicated and efforts should focus on management.

The Transition to management plan was a national project seeking to benefit both Western Australia where TPP has been detected, and other states not yet managing TPP. The Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development led the implementation of the plan, working closely with industry and the national TPP coordinator appointed through AUSVEG.

The plan included the following major activities:

  • Targeted surveillance for TPP/CLso complex during Spring 2017 and Autumn 2018 in WA
  • Scientific research to improve understanding of TPP, its biology and options for control
  • Management of TPP through the development of national and enterprise management plans
  • Market access and trade.

There have been no detections of CLso in Western Australia to date.

Other states around Australia have also implemented surveillance for TPP. To date, TPP has not been detected outside of Western Australia.

The department is currently compiling the results from the Transition to management plan and will make these available to growers, industries, and state and federal governments as soon as possible. Outcomes from the Transition to management plan will help inform future TPP/CLso research, development and management strategies.

For more information about the plan please contact the National TPP Coordinator, Alan Nankivell on +61 428 260 430  or alan.nankivell@ausveg.com.au.

Click here to view the full update.

Quarantine Area Notice

A new Quarantine Area Notice (QAN) with revised conditions is effective as of 1 November 2017. This replaces the previous QAN which expired on 31 October 2017.

The QAN was developed in consultation with WA’s horticultural industry and applies to commercially-produced and home-grown host plants or nursery stock grown within the Quarantine Area. The new QAN refines and simplifies previous control measures, and aims to minimise the spread of TPP in Western Australia.

Prescribed treatment is required for host plants, such as seedlings or nursery stock, where they are moving from the Quarantine Area to Specified local government areas in Western Australia.

The Quarantine Area includes the Perth metropolitan area and a number of local government areas. See the full list here.

Check and report

Commercial growers are encouraged to continue to check for, and report sightings of unusual insects or damage to their plants through the MyPestGuide reporter app or by contracting the department on 1800 084 881

Good farm biosecurity procedures should be in place to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases. More information on biosecurity is available at the Farm Biosecurity website.

For more information on any issues relating to the TPP incursion, please see the DAFWA website.

Advice for growers

TPP can spread through the movement of tomato, capsicum, eggplant, tamarillo and other solanaceous plant material. It can also occur on other hosts including the Convolvulaceae plant family, including sweetpotato, and can disperse through natural pathways such as flight and on the wind. All Western Australian growers of affected crops should check their plants for TPP. More information about the psyllid and the bacterium, including photos to assist with identification, are available on DAFWA’s website.

Any suspected detection of TPP needs to be reported using the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on

1800 084 881 or using DAFWA’s MyPestGuide reporting app.

If you suspect you have seen the psyllid outside of Western Australia, you need to contact your state or territory department of agriculture or primary industries. This can be done by phoning the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

As a general reminder, all growers need to practice sound farm biosecurity to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases. Find out more here.

Interstate trade/market access

For more information on interstate trade/market access, click here.

Dickeya dianthicola

What is Dickeya dianthicola

Dickeya dianthicola is a serious bacterium that can cause tuber soft rot and blackleg in potatoes, and can also affect some ornamental varieties, chicory and artichoke.

The bacteria was detected in Australia, for the first time, in June 2017 on a Western Australian commercial potato property. In addition to seed potatoes, the bacteria has since been found in dahlia tubers and freesia bulbs imported from Victoria.

Growers of these crops are urged to check plants and tubers, and report any suspect symptoms.

It is a serious pest (bacterium) that was not previously known to occur in Australia. Overseas data has indicated significant yield losses in potato crops.

Dickeya dianthicola can also infect other crops, including some ornamentals (including carnation, lily, chrysanthemum, dahlia, begonia, flaming Katy, freesia, hyacinth and iris), globe arichoke and chicory.

Other pathogens already present in Australia can cause similar soft rot and blackleg symptoms. However, Dickeya dianthicola is more aggressive and causes disease at lower infection levels.

This pest is not associated with the tomato potato psyllid.

Current response

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), in conjunction with the Western Australian potato industry, will implement a management strategy for Dickeya dianthicola following a national decision that it cannot be eradicated.

The National Management Group (NMG) decision that the pest is not technically feasible to eradicate is based on the recommendation provided by the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests.

Quarantine restrictions on five commercial properties in WA have been lifted.

Further tracing activities are being undertaken in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and WA, including testing of available potato tubers, dahlia tubers in Victoria and WA, and freesia bulbs from Victoria.

The Potato Growers Association of WA (PGAWA) will lead management efforts to minimise industry impacts. This will include raising grower awareness of buyer responsibility to understand the risks of spread.

DPIRD will provide technical advice, fee for service laboratory testing and will work with PGAWA to modify the Certified Seed Scheme and Registration Rules to manage the disease.

There are currently no additional interstate trade restrictions being considered for potatoes apart from those restrictions in place for the tomato potato psyllid.

The international market access for WA potatoes remains unaffected.

Trade in cut flowers from WA is already subject to interstate movement conditions for other pests.

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will work with overseas trading partners should any issues arise.

The bacterium does not have an impact on human health.

For more information, visit the DPIRD website.

Host list

  • Potatoes
  • Globe artichoke
  • Chicory
  • Begonia
  • Calla lily
  • Carnation
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Dahlia
  • Dianthus, Sweet William
  • Freesia
  • Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Kalanchoe, ‘Flaming Katy’ which is also known as ‘Christmas kalanchoe’, ‘florist kalanchoe’ and ‘Madagascar widow’s thrill’


The first symptom of the disease can be poor emergence due to rotting seed tubers. Plants wilt and typically have slimy, wet, black stems extending upwards from the rotting tuber.

Infected tubers are macerated and have a tapioca-like appearance, but may not have the pungent smell associated with typical blackleg.

According to overseas data, Dickeya dianthicola can also cause soft rot and wilting in ornamental crops.

Dickeya dianthicola can be present in a plant without causing symptoms, particularly if temperatures remain low. Symptoms often develop after a period of hot weather, especially when plants are also stressed.

How does it spread?

In potatoes, it is generally accepted the main source for blackleg infection is latently infected seed tubers.

Overseas data indicates that as infected tubers rot, the bacterium is released into the soil. It can then be transmitted through water in the soil and contaminates neighbouring tubers, and infected stems can also affect neighbouring plants through contaminated irrigation water.

Additionally, infection has been shown to spread to other tubers during storage. Overseas research indicates that Dickeya dianthicola does not survive long in soil without a host. Although bacteria can survive between potato crops in soil when there is remaining plant debris or when volunteer potatoes are present.

Management options

Generalised management techniques developed for soft rot diseases in potatoes may be useful for growers affected by Dickeya dianthicola. Refer to the soft rot web pages for further information.

Additionally, on-farm biosecurity practices, such as good farm hygiene and early reporting of suspicious symptoms should be in place to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases. Practical advice and information to assist is available through the Farm Biosecurity website farmbiosecurity.com.au

Reporting options

Dickeya dianthicola (Samson et al. 2005) is a prohibited organism for Western Australia. It is important any suspect disease occurrences are reported.

Growers can report any unusual plant symptoms by:

  • Calling the Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881, or
  • Sending a photo to DPIRD via the MyPestGuide Reporter app available from the Google Play or Apple store, or
  • Emailing photos with your name, address and mobile number to info@agric.wa.gov.au

Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)

The brown marmorated stink bug is a high priority pest which is known to arrive in Australia in cargo coming from the northern hemisphere between September and April each year.

BMSB feeds on more than 300 host crops. Preferred vegetable crops include capsicums, sweet corn, okra, tomatoes, green beans, eggplant and others. The pest is native to eastern Asia but has been introduced to parts of North America and Europe.


Click here to visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.

Click here to access a factsheet that provides more information on the BMSB.

Click here to access the Department of Agriculture’s Import Industry Advice Notices.



CaLsol detection in imported parsley seed (NSW)

Current Situation

A bacterial plant pathogen, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CaLsol), was detected in the Italian Giant variety of imported parsley seed in 2017. These seeds originated in France. However, they were imported through a supplier in Italy.

The detection occurred in an imported commodity and therefore the bacterium is not currently considered present in Australia.

Visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ website for more information.

Impatiens necrotic spot virus

Impatiens necrotic spot virus is an exotic plant pest which can infect more than 600 plant species, including many vegetable crops. The virus has similar biology to Tomato spotted wilt virus, which is widespread in Australia. Impatiens necrotic spot virus is not seed borne, however, it can be spread by western flower thrips (WFT), which are established in most states and territories across Australia. WFT larvae obtain the virus when they feed on infected host plants. Adult WFT then transmit the virus to healthy plants by direct feeding for 5-30 minutes. Other thrips have not been identified as vectors of Impatiens necrotic spot virus.

Symptoms of plants infected by Impatiens necrotic spot virus include stunted plant growth, ringspots, brown or purple spots on leaves or stems, plant death and others. Nevertheless, symptoms may vary between plants and some plants may be asymptomatic.

In March 2018, Impatiens necrotic spot virus was detected in lettuce on a farm near Camden in the Sydney basin. The virus was detected in Batavia lettuce and two varieties of Cos lettuce. It is unclear how the virus became introduced to the vegetable farm.

If you think that your crop might be infected with Impatiens necrotic spot virus, contact the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

For more information on the virus, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ website.