R&D project list

R&D Program Investment

VN14001 Development of an onion white rot forecast model for Tasmania
VN15000 Onion industry scoping study
VN15002 Australian onion industry communications
VN15003 Consultation on VN15002 – Australian onion industry
VN13001 Classification of the onion rust complex and development of rapid diagnostic assays
VN13003 Managing soil borne diseases of onions
VN13005 Detection and management of bacterial diseases in Australian allium crops
VN12000 Physiology of onion bulbs destined for export markets
VN12003 Communications plan for the Australian onion industry extension

For more information on new, ongoing, and completed R&D projects for the onion industry, visit the onion Hortlink page.

R&D Project Snapshot

Classification of the onion rust complex and development of rapid diagnostic assays (VN13001)

Status: Near-completed project

Onions rust was identified by Plant Health Australia as the main biosecurity risk to the A$180 million onion industry. Epidemics of this disease in Europe and the US have caused severe losses to Allium species, including onion.

This project aims to determine which rusts infect the onion family in Australia and overseas, and to develop reliable diagnostic markers that can be used to identify them.

At the time of last reporting, a DNA variation in the fungi’s sodium/calcium exchanger protein (Ca2) has been identified as suitable for discriminating between the exotic European onion rust lineage, the naturalised South Australian/Tasmanian lineage, and the Puccinia mixta + ambigua lineages. This had led to the development, trial and optimisation of new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primer sets able to reliably identify the lineages in the lab.

The project’s findings are set to be incorporated into a diagnostic manual, which will be submitted to the Subcommittee on Plant Health Diagnostic Standards.