Evidence-Based Research for Plant Biosecurity

Underpinning our approach to Plant Biosecurity is crowdsourcing, simplifying, and sharing research findings by plant scientists. The reason for this knowledge sharing strategy is two-fold. First, to empower users with easy-to-read scientific information. Second, provide a point of contact where users can find the best researchers for scientific and technical backstopping or collaboration on research assignments.

The Centre is keen on three overlapping research disciplines that are strategically important to evidence-based decision making when the threat of pests and pathogens against crops is anticipated or has occurred. These are:

  1. Discovery of new and re-emerging plant pathogens.
  2. Development of rapid and scalable Diagnostics for detection of plant diseases.
  3. Disruption of disease transmission by insects.  

This approach offers a focused approach to conducting the research needed by Commercial Growers, Farmer Cooperatives, National Plant Protection Organizations, and Government to maintain the ‘clean and green’ credentials necessary to maintain access to international markets.

Collectively, we will protect the economy, environment and human health from crop losses caused by pests and the pathogens they spread and contribute to the attainment of Strategic Development Goals 1, 2 and 3 of no poverty, zero hunger and good health and wellbeing.


We can support research that harnesses High Throughput Sequencing for

  1. The discovery of novel viruses and detection of known viruses that could be spreading undetected.
  2. Mapping the species diversity of the discovered viruses and their presence in different hosts and trophic levels within cropping ecosystems.
  3. Providing whole-genome sequence information of the detected viruses to inform genomics-driven creation of diagnostic tools.


We can develop assays for plant pathogens and also provide advise on diagnostics available to growers for unambiguous determination of the cause of disease. Specifically, we have expertise and skills to guide: 

  1. Development of rapid and high throughput diagnostic tests.
  2. Maintaining a repository of positive controls for pathogens.
  3. Research into novel diagnostic capabilities.

Disruption of Transmission

We can generate biological information that can be used in Pest Risk Analyses and Assessments and prevent or reduce insect vectoring of pathogens. We can conduct experiments and support the experimental design in

  1. Insect bioassays.
  2. Electrical Penetration Graph.
  3. Field work and experiments.