Monitoring psyllids and psyllid predators in Australian potato crops

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The tomato potato psyllid (TPP) is a major biosecurity threat to Australian solanaceous crop industries. Native to North and Central America, TPP was accidentally introduced into New Zealand in the mid-2000's and Norfolk Island in 2014. 

The psyllid is a vector of a bacterium, "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum" (synonym "Ca. L. psyllaurous"), which causes psyllid yellows disease in tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums, eggplants and tamarillos, and zebra chip disease in potatoes. 

Both the vector and pathogen have had a devastating impact on the solanaceous crop industries wherever they occur, resulting in millions of dollars of losses annually through increased pest control and monitoring, reduced yields and disruption to commodity export markets. TPP could enter Australia either through the accidental importation of infested plant material or possibly by the natural dispersal of psyllids on easterly airflows from New Zealand and/or Norfolk Island. 

In February 2011, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, in collaboration with several potato processing industry partners (Simplot Australia Pty, McCain Foods Australia Pty Smiths Snackfood Company and Snack Brands Australia) set up a network of yellow sticky traps in the major potato growing regions of eastern Australia, to act as an early warning system to detect incursions of the tomato potato psyllid.

This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited with co-investment from Simplot Australia Pty Ltd – Tasmania, McCain Foods (Aust) Pty Ltd, Smiths Snackfood Company, Snack Brands Australia and funds from the Australian Government.

TIA project personnel and contacts

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