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CRC20054: Plant Bacteria Platforms

This project evaluated two of the newer discovery platforms, proteomics and metabolomics, for effectiveness in the identification of functional biomarkers that differentiate closely related bacterial pathovars. Diagnostics based on functional molecules linked to pathogenicity overcome the limitations of many diagnostics based on anonymous, plasmid-borne or incidental targets. Selected biomarkers were adapted to reliable, high throughput, rapid turn-around diagnostics for the model organisms.

Research outcomes:

This project has demonstrated the effectiveness of proteomics and metabolomics, two novel approaches that identify functional molecules, to discover biomarkers that differentiate closely related bacteria.

Novel diagnostic targets have been identified and validated that differentiate organisms to the levels of specificity required, but not previously available.

Novel diagnostics will translate to improved incursion response because their greater specificity and reliability reduce turn around time.

New specialist capacity and partnerships developed.

Research implications:

This project has delivered positive results in terms of scientific resources and human capacity. The finding that these platforms can fast-track the identification of biomarkers with new specificities, and at the level required, can inform investment decisions for the PBCRC in future.

New diagnostic technologies have been developed that will be incorporated into the National Diagnostic Protocol (NDP) and could be adapted to delivery through a range of other platforms. This provides security to industry and those responsible for surveillance and disease management programs. Extensive data has been generated that is yet to be mined, but is likely to deliver further tests in future, without significant further investment.

Significant specialist capacity in bacteriology has been fostered both nationally and internationally, through recruitment and professional development, which will benefit Australia’s plant industries through local expertise and trusted ‘off-shore intelligence’.


Gary Kong and the CRC NPB Board for funding a ‘blue sky’ project.

Leanne Bringolf for excellent technical assistance.

Aneesha Deanensen for initial technical work at SABC.

Platforms to differentiate exotic pathovars of plant bacteria - Final Report


Dr Deborah Hailstones
Project Leader CRC20054: Plant Bacteria Platforms
Phone: 02 4640 6442
Fax: 02 4640 6300

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February 2008 – December 2010
$688,600 (cash and in-kind support)