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New National Australian Rice Blast Protocol

21 August 2012

AUSTRALIA - Australia’s rice industry now has its first national protocol to detect the devastating rice fungal disease Rice blast (caused by Magnaporthe oryzae), largely thanks to the efforts of a Western Australian scientist.

Department of Agriculture and Food plant biosecurity researcher Vincent Lanoiselet co-authored the protocol with Dr Eric Cother, who has since retired from the NSW Department of Primary Industry.

Department pest diagnostics manager John Botha said the National Plant Health Committee had advised this month that it had endorsed the protocol.

Dr Botha said in developing the new national protocol, Dr Lanoiselet had made an important professional contribution to Australian plant biosecurity and diagnostics.

“Rice blast is considered the most significant fungal disease of rice worldwide because of its extensive distribution and destructiveness under favourable conditions. It can be spread by wind, water or by human or animal movements,” Dr Botha said.

“Most of Australia’s rice is produced in New South Wales, where strict quarantine regulations are in place to prevent its entry. The disease has been detected previously in Queensland, the Northern Territory and more recently in Western Australia’s Ord region.

“To have a national protocol now to detect this disease is a vitally important step forward in protecting our Australian rice industry from Rice blast. It is also important for Western Australia as it is an encouraging development for Ord growers interested in rice crops in the future,” Dr Botha said.

“Dr Lanoiselet’s work to develop the protocol has paid off, not only for Western Australia, but for the whole of Australia.”

Dr Lanoiselet said it was estimated that yield losses caused by Rice blast every year around the world would be enough to feed 60 million people.

TheCropSite News Desk



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