Rapid detection of ratoon stunting disease; final report 2013/001
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This project's objective was to develop a rapid 'sniff test' to diagnose ratoon stunting disease (RSD) using a new technology called 'Enose' or electronic nose. The aim was to be able to identify contaminated cane within minutes in the field, rather than wait for samples to be aggregated, shipped to, and tested at a central laboratory and with a procedure that takes more than a day to complete. Some species of pathogenic bacteria can be characterized by the volatile chemicals they produce and it is believed that Leifsonia xyli will be the same. The proposed test could be applied to a large number of sap samples or to freshly cut cane in a sampling chamber. The headspace would be drawn off the sample and analysed by Enose with minimal processing. The test could be automated and performed in a laboratory or, if desired, close to or in the field. The eNose test would improve RSD management and reduce costs to Productivity Service companies.