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CRC40050: Post Entry Quarantine (phase one)

This project developed advanced molecular diagnostic methods and immunological tools for the detection of plant viruses, which can be expediently applied in both post entry quarantine (PEQ) (import) and market access (export) context. Generic tests that are cost effective and reliable for plant virus detection will help reduce biosecurity risks from importations of plant material to Australia and New Zealand.

Research outcomes

In phase I of this project the project team:

  • conducted a review of the importation processes of cereals into Australia and New Zealand
  • designed and validated molecular tests that target groups of plant viruses that pose a threat to the grains industry, and
  • investigated the application of the Flinders Technology Associates (FTA) card technologies for rapid and safe collection of plant virus samples, as well as storage of viral ribonucleic acid (RNA).

Research implications

This project has identified some areas for improvement for the importation of winter cereals into Australia. A superior diagnostic tool for the detection of potyviruses, the largest plant virus genus, has been developed and validated. A further four plant virus genus-specific tests have been designed and are currently being validated.

Importantly, this project has generated a foundation base for the design, development and validation of quality ready-to-go diagnostic tools to be used by quarantine pathologists. Strategies for the safe transportation of positive controls have also been initiated as a result of this project.


The project team would like to acknowledge the following collaborators for their support in project development and continued support for PEQ Phase II (CRC40135):

  • Angela Freeman (Victoria Department of Primary Industries)
  • John Thomas (Queensland Department of Primary Industries)
  • Mark Gibbs (Australian National University)
  • Mark Whattam (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service)
  • Kevin Davis (Biosecurity Australia)
  • Karen Armstrong (Lincoln University, NZ)
  • David Eagling (Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity)


Dr Brendan Rodoni
Project Leader CRC40050: Post Entry Quarantine (phase one)
Phone: 03 9210 9264
Fax: 03 9800 3521

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January 2008 – June 2009
$743,721 (cash and in-kind support)