Research Project Details

Project Details

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A new Blue green aphid - a biohazard to the pasture seed industry
Summary In 2009, blue green aphid (BGA, Acyrthosiphon kondoi Shinji) has been observed to cause unusually severe damage and mortality in lucerne seedlings. This new BGA may be a new, more virulent biotype that if widespread would have the potential to devastate establishment and seed production in the Australian lucerne seed industry. The discovery represents the first major invasion of an aphid since the late 1970s when spotted alfalfa aphid decimated lucerne production in Australia. This new BGA causes large rates of mortality in lucerne seedlings, with <10% resistance in all 15 lucerne varieties tested to date. Damage to other legumes affected by BGA (including annual medics, Trifolium spp., Cullen¸ tedera and field peas) is not known. The virulent BGA also appears to have much greater rates of reproduction (fecundity) compared to the existing BGA in Australia

An invasion of a more virulent BGA biotype would require intensive crop monitoring of pasture seed crops with reliance on insecticides for control, resulting in offtarget damage to honeybees, other beneficial insects and the environment, and large increases in cost and production risks for seed growers.

This project aims to identify how widely this aphid is distributed across Australia. Aphids from around Australia will be collected to evaluate their virulence and fecundity using plantbased assays. Molecular biology techniques will be used to develop a marker for identifying the new biotype, which can then be used to provide a quick and cost effective method of identifying this aphid. This would allow detailed mapping of the virulent BGA range and in addition provide a means of monitoring subsequent control.
Program Pasture Seeds
Research organisation Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries acting through South Australian Research and Development Institute
Objective summary Objective: This project will identify and help manage the threat of a biohazard created by the emerging new bluegreen aphid in Australia.

Outcome1. Confirm the existence of a new blue green aphid biotype and measure the increased virulence and fecundity of the new biotype.

Outcome2. Determine the distribution of the new BGA biotype in Australia

Outcome 3. To develop a DNA based diagnostic tool for quick and cheap assessment of aphid biotype. To use this tool in year 2 of the project to identify the distribution of the new aphid biotype and provide an initial assessment of how quickly the aphid is spreading.

Outcome 4. Develop a management package targeted at lucerne seed growers to assist in managing the new BGA biotype.
Project Stage Closed
Project start date Thursday, July 15, 2010
Project completion date Sunday, September 15, 2013
Journal articles from project Not Available
National priority Safeguarding Australia
Rural priority Biosecurity
RIRDC goal PSE-Production and processing efficiency and improved sustainability
Principal researcher Alan Humphries
Research manager Michael Beer
Admin contact Adrienne Twisk