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CRC60154: Plant Pathogens in the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA)

This project will determine what plant pathogens exist in the irrigation channels of the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA), and how they could impact on biosecurity in the region.

A robust sampling system for on-going monitoring of plant pathogens in the drains and supply channels of the ORIA will also be developed.

What is the biosecurity problem?

In Australia current knowledge of plant pathogens in irrigation water is limited, and therefore the risk to biosecurity is not fully understood.

In 2006 the OrdGuard Regional Biosecurity Plan was initiated for the ORIA to minimise the threat of pests and diseases in the region. However, to protect the ORIA from future incursions, knowledge of the pathogen population of the channels is required.

The main outputs of this project are to:

  • establish an effective sampling method to detect, and monitor, plant pathogens present in the irrigation water of the ORIA
  • determine if those pathogens present in the irrigation water are able to survive, maintain pathogenicity and how they may be spread through the channel system, and
  • determine if the expansion of the ORIA will increase the entry of plant pathogens into the irrigation system and/or the capacity for the pathogens to spread.

Who will be the end-users of this research?

Horticultural industry and scientific researchers will both benefit from the outcomes of this project. This research will also be highly relevant to other irrigated areas across Australia and overseas, particularly in respect to crop management. It will also contribute considerably to scholarly knowledge in this field and assist in the refinement and implementation of the OrdGuard Biosecurity Plan.


Ms Rebecca Zappia
Student CRC60154: Plant Pathogens in the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA)

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Dr Kirsty Bayliss and Professor Giles Hardy (Murdoch University) and Dr Daniel Hüberli (Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia)
Supervising Institution
Murdoch University
August 2009 – June 2012