New biological control for kiwifruit disease

29 November 2018

Kiwifruit growers can now access a new tool to help them combat the bacterial disease Psa – the biocontrol product AureoGold™.

AureoGold™, developed by Plant & Food Research in collaboration with Arysta LifeScience, is a natural yeast strain that reduces growth and spread of Psa bacteria. It can be used during flowering and post fruit set, a time in the calendar when use of other controls for Psa is limited. AureoGold™ is a yeast found naturally on many different species of plants and fruits in New Zealand and is safe for bees.

AureoGold™ has been approved for use by the Ministry for Primary Industries under ACVM (agricultural compounds and veterinary medicine) regulations, and has BioGro Organic Certification.  

“New bio-bactericides allow growers options to manage disease on orchards,” says Dr Suvi Viljanen, General Manager Science Bioprotection at Plant & Food Research. “AureoGold™ will provide kiwifruit growers, including organic growers, with an important new tool in their armoury to ensure plant health and good fruit yields despite the presence of the potentially devastating bacterial disease, Psa. This is a real achievement for our team, and yet another example of how we can work with industry to build new solutions to address key problems.”

Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa) was discovered in New Zealand in November 2010. The bacteria is present in around 92% of the regions where kiwifruit is grown in New Zealand, with symptoms including leaf spotting, shoot die-back, cane and leader die-back, bud browning, red-brown exudate from leaders and trunks and, in severe cases, plant death.

After the discovery of Psa, Plant & Food Research scientists began screening their library of microbes to identify any with the potential as a bio-bactericide control agent. The New Zealand yeast that forms the basis of AureoGold™ was identified in 2012, and was fast-tracked through glasshouse and field testing through a partnership with Zespri/KVH and Arysta LifeScience.

The team behind AureoGold™ were recently recognised with the Kudos Science Trust – Agriculture Science Award. The Team Leader, Dr Philip Elmer, was also presented with this year’s Kudos Lifetime Achievement Award and was a finalist in the Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur category of the KiwiNet Commercialisation Awards. Plant & Food Research received the 2017 Prime Minister’s Science Prize for their scientific contribution to saving the kiwifruit industry from the effects of Psa.

The Plant & Food Research biocontrol research programme is funded by MBIE, Zespri, Kiwifruit Vine Health and the wider kiwifruit industry, with support from scientists at AgResearch, the BioProtection Research Centre and the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands). AureoGold™ is marketed by Arysta LifeScience (previously Etec Crop Solutions) and will be available from Horticentre, Farmlands and Fruitfed Supplies.

Contact:
Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
EMail: media@plantandfood.co.nz
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

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