Diagnostic Residential Program 2017-18

Diagnostic Residentials are an initiative of the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network. Diagnostic Residentials provide scope for plant diagnosticians to share ideas and practices, and develop expertise and knowledge, this may include improvements in their skill bases in areas such as laboratory practices and quality management, diagnostic techniques, and specialist disciplines. This year the Diagnostic Residential Program evolved from the Laboratory Residential Program to allow diagnosticians the opportunity to expand their skills outside the traditional laboratory setting if the need was identified. The Subcommittee on Plant Health Diagnostics are please to announce the following successful Diagnostic Residentials.

Name Description of residential
Monica Kehoe This diagnostic residential aims to investigate the sensitivity of the current protocol for testing Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLSo) by assessing the detection of one infective leaf, insect or tuber in grouped samples. The findings will greatly assist planning for surveillance activities following the recent detection of the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) in Western Australia. This work cannot be done in Western Australia as CLSo has not been detected there. The work contributes to the reviews of the related national diagnostic protocols for detection of CLSo and the development of guidelines for surveillance activities.
Karen Kirkby The aim of this residential is to attend the APS Annual meeting in San Antonio from the 5th to 9th August followed by a two week visit with Dr Terry Wheeler and Dr Jason Woodward at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Centre at Lubbock. This residential will involve learning soil isolation tehcniques to quantify Verticilium dahliae inoculum in soil. The residential will also incorporate touring production crops in the High Plains to observe the effects of the defoliating strain of this pathogen. This residential will provide a unique opportunity to further advance the Australian diagnostic tool currently being developed in the Managing Verticilium risk for cotton project led by Dr Karen Kirkby in collaboration with Dr Toni Chapman at EMAI.
Jenny Morrison The Operational Science Services group (OSS) within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), has responsibilities for the identification and testing of border biosecurity interceptions, including those from surveillance and post-entry quarantine facility activities. The laboratory residential will 1) establish cross institutional connections to a Biosecurity laboratory in NZ {Plant Health and Environment Laboratory (PHEL), proficient in Xylella diagnostics 2) provide competency with Xylella molecular diagnostic protocols, enable validation of diagnostic qPCR and LAMP tests for Xf and 3) gain access to positive control reference DNA that could be supplied to other Australian diagnostic laboratories to increase diagnostic capabilities for this pathogen nationally.
Nader Sallam The main aim of this project is for Dr. Chris Reid to familiarise Dr Nader Sallam with the taxonomy and identification of adults and larvae of pest species in the tribe Rhynchophorini in the family Curculionidae. Emphasis will be given to economically important taxa infesting key crops in North Queensland, such as sugarcane, bananas and palms.  DNA work as well as morphological examination will be conducted on disputed taxa in the genera Rhabdoscelus, Cosmopolites and Rhynchophorus. The project will improve our understanding of their taxonomical status. Other colleagues may join in the training which will take place at DAWR in Cairns.
Lanni Zhang During this residential Dr Gullan will be invited to visit the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources laboratory to work on coccoid diagnostics. Under the guidance of Dr Gullan I will use published keys to identify specimens from our collection, as well as specimens loaned from other collections in northern Australia, and make high quality diagnostic images using the Leica camera/software attached to our compound microscope.
Andras Szito Andras Szito will visit Dr Slipinski at CSIRO ANIC Canberra to fine hone his micro dissection processes in order to dissect out for imaging and study purposes. The process includes various staining methods and mounting the genitalia while separating other parts and arrange them for digital imaging. The techniques intending to learn will be used primarily to separate reliably the native Australian Trogoderma species from pestiferous exotic Trogoderma species particularly Khapra beetle, Trogoderma granarium (Coleoptera: Dermestidae). The alpha taxonomic work will build a solid foundation to the development of a reliable molecular method and ultimately will lead to the revisionary study of the Australian native Trogoderma species.

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