Biosecurity research in PNG 2015-2017
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PAPUA NEW GUINEA is the centre of diversity for several species in the genus Saccharum, including S. officinarum, selections of which constituted the first commercial sugarcane varieties in Australia. Apart from providing germplasm for commercial sugarcane production world-wide, PNG is also home to pests and diseases that pose a unique and serious threat to commercial sugarcane production in Australia. These include members of the noctuid moth borer group, an oomycete causing downy mildew and the viral disease, Ramu stunt. Australian scientists have been working alongside PNG counterparts to develop management strategies that will assist with pest and disease management in PNG and enable effective preparation for a possible incursion into Australia. Over the past three years, significant outputs from the research have included a much better understanding of causal agents, specific diagnostic tests, an understanding of pest and disease distribution and faster methods for varietal resistance screening.