ARDN enhances identification of Colletotrichum

Co-presenter, Dr Chanintorn Doungsa-ard (centre), Thai Department of Agriculture, demonstrating cultures of Colletotrichum fungi to workshop participants, Bangkok, Thailand. Workshop leader, Dr Roger Shivas, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australia, is second from right.

Bangkok, Thailand-A workshop on developing an identification guide to Colletotrichum based on morphological and molecular data was conducted on 26 - 30 March 2018 at the laboratories of the Department of Agriculture in Bangkok, Thailand, for participants from Indonesia, Lao PDR and Thailand.

The workshop aimed to develop a diagnostic guide to the plant pathogenic fungi belonging to the genus Colletotrichum. These fungi attack a wide variety of tropical fruit and vegetables and are difficult to identify. Exporting Parties wishing to export these commodities need to be able to determine which species of Colletotrichum are potentially present on the commodities for the pest lists in their market access proposals, meanwhile, importing Parties need to know what they have in their own countries to conduct a risk analysis. Diagnostic laboratories, in both exporting and importing Parties, need reliable diagnostic guides so that they can monitor products destined for international markets or assess suspect products intercepted by quarantine officers.

Dr. Ian Naumann, ASEAN Regional Diagnostic Network (ARDN) Project Manager, said the clarification of the species of these fungi occurring on crops such as mangos, bananas, papaya, capsicum, citrus, capsicum and sugar cane will be of tremendous value to the ASEAN Member States (AMS). He further added that these are amongst the major trade commodities in the AANZFTA region.

The five-day workshop also provided an opportunity for the participants to work and collaborate in finalising three publications which will provide names for two species, make new country records available and provide a definitive, species-host-country list for 27 species of Colletotrichum.

One of the lead trainers, Professor Roger Shivas from the University of Southern Queensland, noted that the workshop centred on microscopic examination of specimens in the laboratory and analysis of DNA sequence data generated in a similar workshop successfully conducted under ARDN Phase 1.

ARDN Phase I enhanced the capacity of AMS in identifying pests and diseases belonging to 20 of the 30 pest groups which were potentially associated with exported or imported goods. Currently in its second phase, ARDN continues to strengthen an ASEAN-wide, cooperative system for delivering credible, plant pest diagnostic services by enhancing skills and tools in the identification of plant pests in the ASEAN region.

The workshop was organized by Australias Department of Agriculture and Water Resources under the ARDN Phase II supported by the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Program.

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