School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Diagnostics and Crop Health

Diagnostics and Crop Health

During the past 20 years diagnostics have become faster, more reliable and significantly decreased in cost. This is primarily due to the adoption of molecular biology technologies.

In the field, current technologies (e.g. LAMP amplification) enable us to perform rapid tests at the point of decision-making. This is with the same level of precision achieved in centralised testing laboratories. But it's at a fraction of the cost and in near to real time.

These methods are also amenable to automation, generating data in real-time without need for constant human intervention. High Throughput Sequencing enables us to resolve makeup of complex communities of pathogens or genotypes of specific pathogens in populations.

The research investigates the use of these technologies to improve decision-making in the agrifood chain. This involves identifying resistance genotypes of pests and diseases enabling the selection of the most effective crop protection product.

It also involves development of rapid tests that can be used by agency staff inspecting produce moving across borders. This will prevent the movement of pests and pathogens into new geographical areas.