Researchers are working
closely with the Australian potato industry to investigate the potential for
the highly destructive Tomato-potato psyllid (TPP) to enter Australia using
natural pathways.
The research is part of a Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre
project, which will review current surveillance strategies along three natural
dispersal pathways around Australia. These pathways can be formed through
standard wind trajectories or severe weather events such as cyclones.
“This is an important project for Australia’s potato growers as they can get
involved in this highly practical research and share their experiences of
keeping TPP at bay,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Dimi Kyriakou.
“The threat of TPP entering Australian production areas is highly significant
as it is not yet present in Australia. This pest often carries the bacteria
that causes Zebra chip, a disease that can significantly reduce the yield and
health of potato crops and render potatoes unsaleable.”
“AUSVEG has long raised concerns about the risk of Zebra chip disease entering
Australia and it is important for growers to avoid becoming complacent about
this potential threat.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing over 9,000 Australian
vegetable and potato growers.
The three-year project will work with specific horticulture industries to focus
on natural dispersal pathways from New Zealand to Australia, Papua New Guinea
to Australia and Indonesia to north-west Western Australia.
“Potato growers based in south-east Australia are encouraged to work with the
researchers to explain their current surveillance methods for TPP and
ultimately contribute to the development of a more effective method of
surveillance for this pest,” said Ms Kyriakou.
“The Zebra chip complex has affected the New Zealand potato industry since 2006
and it has left growers to deal with millions of dollars’ worth of damage to
their industry. This is certainly not a scenario we want to see replicated in
“This research project is vitally important for the Australian potato industry
to remain proactive and vigilant about the possibility of TPP entering
Australia using natural pathways.”
A detailed article on this research project can be found in the latest edition
of Potatoes Australia,
an industry funded magazine, which promotes industry research and development
while keeping growers and stakeholders in the loop with the latest news. To
receive a copy of the magazine, please send your name and preferred postal
address to

Kyriakou, Senior Communications Officer/Editor, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0488 124 626, Email: