HIA supported project – Innovating new virus diagnostics and planting bed management in the Australian Sweetpotato Industry

One of the most significant Research Development and Extension outcomes in the last decade has been the development and commercialisation of the system for supplying pathogen-tested (PT), ‘virus-free’ planting material to growers, via a Quality Assured, structured process. This PT planting material scheme has been so successful that over 95% of current Australian commercial sweetpotato production utilises this scheme.

The Australian sweetpotato industry needs to have a well-founded understanding of the viruses in other countries and the ability to diagnose them rapidly and accurately, to manage the risks associated with possible incursions from countries with known sweetpotato viruses.

A critical component of the PT process is the conversion of PT storage roots from the scheme into commercial cuttings for planting. PT roots are planted into designated planting beds, to produce high quality cuttings, which are then cut by hand and transferred for planting in commercial sweetpotato fields.

Print This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the Vegetable Industry levy and funds from the Australian Government.

This project aims to:

Survey the international literature to identify virus status around the world, the most up to date applicable diagnostic techniques and what is known about factors impacting on planting bed performance. To identify what viruses are present and impacting Australian production and the relationships between planting bed issues, management factors and sweetpotato productivity. Develop, evaluate and implement current and new virus diagnostic techniques and determine key variables influencing the performance of planting beds to consistently produce high quality cuttings.