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Completed Projects

Travel to South America to deliver a keynote presentation at the XVII International Botrytis Symposium

  • Date Completed: 2016-12-01
  • Project Supervisor: Steel, Professor Christopher

The travel bursary funded attendance at the XVII International Botrytis Symposium, held in Santa Cruz, Chile. The bursary recipient was an invited keynote speaker at this symposium. The keynote lecture covered aspects of Wine Australia research project CSU 1301 and dealt with the use of ATR FTIR and GC MS techniques for Botrytis cinerea detection and evaluation. In addition to the keynote presentation, a further oral presentation on laccase gene expression during the infection of grape berries by Botrytis cinerea was delivered. Several areas of research collaboration were discussed with international colleagues working on Botrytis. Selected highlights from the symposium presentations are discussed in this report. Knowledge gained as a result of the symposium attendance and associated study tour will be incorporated into current and planned research activities. Wine education packages delivered by Charles Sturt University will be updated to reflect the latest knowledge on Botrytis biology and management.

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Support to take up INRA/ Agreenskills + fellowship in Montpellier, France

  • Date Completed: 2016-06-30
  • Project Supervisor: Howell, Dr Kate

The activity of yeasts in wine fermentations directly contributes to wine quality, but the source and movement of these yeasts in vineyard and winery environments has not been resolved. This study investigates the yeast species associated with a insect vector to help understand yeast dispersal and persistence. Drosophila are commonly found in vineyards and Drosophila and yeasts have a known mutualistic relationship in other ecosystems. Drosophilids were collected from vineyards, marc piles and wineries during the grape harvest. Captured flies were identified morphologically to and their associated yeasts were identified. Of the 296 Drosophila flies captured in this study the species identified were Drosophila melanogaster, Drosophila simulans, Drosophila hydei, and Scaptodrosophila lativittata. These flies were associated with the yeasts Metschnikowia pulcherrima, Hanseniaspora uvarum, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Hanseniaspora valbyensis. The diversity of yeasts and Drosophila species differed between collection locations (vineyard and marc; R=0.588 for Drosophila and R= 0.644 for yeasts). Surprisingly, the primary wine fermentation yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae was not isolated in this study. Drosophila flies are preferentially associated with different species of yeasts in the vineyard and winery environment and this association may help movement and dispersal of yeast species in the vineyard and winery ecosystem.

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Travel to 18th Reinhardsbrunn Symposium on Modern Fungicides and Antifungal Compounds, Friedrichroda, Germany, April 24-28 2016

  • Date Completed: 2016-06-30
  • Project Supervisor: Hall, Barbara

Mrs Barbara Hall, Senior Research Scientist, Plant Health and Biosecurity, SARDI, attended the 18th Reinhardsbrunn Symposium on Modern Fungicides and Antifungal Compounds, held in Friedrichroda, Germany, April 24-28, 2016. This symposium, held every three years, draws together fungicide scientists from academia, research institutes and industry. It is the main forum for scientists to present, listen to and discuss the latest research and information on all aspects of fungicide use, from development to efficacy and resistance management. This was preceded by a visit to the global headquarters of the Bayer Crop Protection division at Monheim, where discussions were held on new compounds and resistance testing in viticulture.

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Development of rapid and sensitive molecular diagnostic tools to detect trunk disease pathogens from environmental and plant materials

  • Date Completed: 2016-06-30
  • Project Supervisor: Billones-Baaijens , Dr Regina

Dr. Regina Billones-Baaijens travelled to Canada in March – June, 2016 to undergo training on new molecular techniques and conduct collaborative research with Dr. Jose R. Úrbez Torres at the Summerland Research and Development Centre (SuRDC), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland, British Columbia. This travel was financially supported by a National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) Research Fellowship Grant; a Wine Australia Travel Bursary with in-kind contribution from SuRDC. The output of this travel will contribute to one of the objectives of a current Wine Australia-funded project, SAR1205 ‘Practical management of grapevine trunk diseases (GTD)' and the newly approved project, SAR1601 'Grapevine trunk disease management for vineyard longevity in diverse climates of Australia'. These projects aim to ascertain spore dispersal of GTD pathogens and to determine the climatic conditions that favour the release of these pathogens. The new project also aims to quantify levels of GTD pathogens in nursery propagation material and determine different stress conditions that trigger disease expression in vineyards. The three month collaborative research period at SuRDC included hands-on training on (a) DNA macroarray; (b) Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR); and (c) specificity test and qPCR optimisation of Eutypa dieback (ED) and Botryosphaeria dieback (BD) multi-species primers developed for the GTD project (SAR1205). The DNA macroarray and ddPCR are rapid and specific tools for the identification, detection and quantification of plant pathogens. The training at SuRDC has resulted in enhanced skills in the development of rapid and accurate molecular tools for the detection and quantification of GTD pathogens in the environment. In addition, experience was gained to optimise and troubleshoot molecular assays that will fast track the analyses of spore trap samples collected for the spore trapping studies in Australia. The skills gained in Canada will allow researchers at the NWGIC to adopt these DNA-based diagnostic tools for future GTD research subject to the availability of equipment. The transfer of technologies between Canadian and Australian researchers builds on collaboration established through previous exchanges between the countries by Drs Urbez Torres and Mark Sosnowski (SARDI) and will contribute to the development of control strategies for grapevine trunk diseases that is considered a serious threat to the sustainability of both wine industries.

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Rapid molecular DNA identification method for the European invasive grapevine moth Lobesia botrana

  • Date Completed: 2016-02-01
  • Project Supervisor: Tay, Dr Wee Tek

The European Grapevine Moth (EGVM), Lobesia botrana, has been identified by the grape and wine industry as an exotic pest threat of high priority. Present throughout Europe and North America, it can cause significant harvest losses by feeding on grapevine flowers and fruit. This project developed a robust, rapid and easy-to-use molecular identification method for L. botrana, based on PCR and RFLP analysis of mitochondrial genes. In addition, a method for extracting DNA from the moth at all stages of its lifecycle (egg, larva, pupa and adult) was developed. These procedures were combined to form a new National Diagnostic Protocol for molecular identification of the European Grapevine Moth Lobesia botrana, which currently awaits review. Once nationally endorsed, this protocol will allow identification of EGVM in the event of an incursion and facilitate a rapid response by the grape and wine sector.

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Developing and updating diagnostic protocols

  • Date Completed: 2015-07-24
  • Project Supervisor: Blacket, Dr Mark

This project: 1) Developed / updated diagnostic protocols for seven high-priority exotic viticultural pests - Insects: Cixiidae planthopper, Vine mealybug, Grape mealybug, Spotted winged drosophila; Pathogens: Xylella fastidiosa, Flavesecence dorée phytoplasma and Candidatus phytoplasma solani. 2) Conducted a training workshop outlining the key diagnostic characters for each exotic pest. These viticultural pests are associated with significant production losses overseas. The establishment of these pests in Australia would hinder produce export and grape movement. The best chance of control of these key pests is rapid identification, allowing a rapid response to contain and/or eradicate them if they were detected in Australia.

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Participation in the 7th International Grapevine Downy and Powdery Mildew Workshop

  • Date Completed: 2014-10-30
  • Project Supervisor: Petrovic, Ms Tijana

Dr Tijana Petrovic attended the 7th International Workshop on Grapevine Downy and Powdery Mildew in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, 30 June - 4 July 2014. The workshop was held in the Europa Palacio de Congresos, Vitoria-Gasteiz. She presented a poster and co-presented an oral paper. New information on the epidemiology, disease detection and forecasting, plantpathogen interaction, resistance and breeding and disease management of the diseases was presented in 34 papers and 19 posters. New information on qPCR (limits of detection and quantification) and hyperspectral imaging has been incorporated into current research project. The article "International research on downy and powdery mildew" (Scott et al. 2015) has been prepared for publication in The Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker Magazine.

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Participation in the 7th International Workshop on Grapevine Downy and Powdery Mildew

  • Date Completed: 2014-10-31
  • Project Supervisor: Scott, Dr Eileen

Dr Eileen Scott attended the 7th International Workshop on Grapevine Downy and Powdery Mildew in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, 30 June - 4 July 2014, and co-presented one oral paper and two posters. New information on the biology, epidemiology and management of the diseases was gained from the 34 papers and 19 posters presented. The program and selected presentations are available at New information has been incorporated into current research projects and university lectures. An article has been prepared for publication. Existing networks between Australian and international researchers were strengthened and new links were established.

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Attendance at 7th International workshop on Grapevine Downy and Powdery Mildew June 2014

  • Date Completed: 2014-09-01
  • Project Supervisor: Hall, Barbara

Barbara Hall attended the 7th International Workshop on Grapevine Downy and Powdery Mildew in Vitoria, Spain, 30th June – 4th July 2014, and presented a paper on current research into fungicide resistance. Overall, 2 invited lectures, 33 submitted papers and 20 submitted posters were presented, covering findings on epidemiology, resistance and breeding, forecasting, disease detection and management of the two diseases. An outline of the program is available at Information has been presented at project meetings (SAR1204) and personally to colleagues. A joint article from all six Australian attendees will be submitted to an industry journal. Existing links were strengthened and new links established between Australian and international researchers.

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Travel to 6th International Symposium on Phylloxera: Rootstock perspectives

  • Date Completed: 2013-11-30
  • Project Supervisor: Smith, Dr Harley

Harley Smith attended the sixth International Symposium on Phylloxera at the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne de du Vin in Bordeaux, France. Currently, phylloxera is a considerable threat to viticulture in most parts of the world leading to use and development of phylloxera tolerant or resistant rootstocks. Research in rootstock breeding and the biology of phylloxera was presented at the meeting. In addition, research on rootstock breeding for resistance to other pests, including nematodes, as well as abiotic stress was presented. Harley Smith presented preliminary results on the genetics of phylloxera and nematode resistance in grapevine, which is currently funded by Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) project CSP 1304. In addition, Harley Smith met with key researchers in rootstock breeding at the meeting.

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