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Draft Pest Risk Analysis Report for 'Candidatus Liberibacter Psyllaurous' in Fresh Fruit, Potato Tubers, Nursery Stock and Its Vector the Tomato-Potato Psyllid

​​6 May 2009

Biosecurity Australia Advice 2009/09

This Biosecurity Australia Advice (BAA) invites stakeholders to provide comments on the Draft pest risk analysis report for ‘Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous’ in fresh fruit, potato tubers, nursery stock and its vector the tomato-potato psyllid by 8 June 2009 (30 days consultation).

‘Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous’ is a previously undescribed species of bacterium affecting Solanaceae crops (including tomatoes, capsicums, potatoes and tamarillos). The pathogen affects both the growth and quality of plants and reduces yield.

The pest risk analysis (PRA) considers all potential host crops of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous’ and its insect vector, the tomato-potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) from all countries.

The draft report proposes quarantine measures for importation to Australia of solanaceous crops from countries where ‘Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous’ and its vector are present.

Biosecurity New Zealand informed Australia of the detection of a new disease in glasshouse tomatoes and capsicums in June 2008. On 6 June 2008, Australia responded by putting emergency measures in place to prevent the entry of this disease and its insect vector to Australia.

On 4 December 2008, Biosecurity Australia and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service revised the emergency measures to allow tomatoes and capsicums to enter Australia subject to a demonstrated control of the tomato-potato psyllid population in production sites (glasshouses) and mandatory methyl bromide fumigation (BAA 2008/35). Other solanaceous crops remain banned.

Consistent with international obligations, Biosecurity Australia is undertaking a pest risk analysis for ‘Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous’ affecting solanaceous crops. A draft pest risk analysis report is available for consultation until 8 June 2009.

The draft report identifies potatoes, nursery stock and the tomato-potato psyllid infected with ‘Ca. L. psyllaurous’ as ways the disease could be introduced to Australia. Currently potatoes for human consumption are not permitted access into Australia, however the risk of ‘Ca. L. psyllaurous’ has been evaluated as this is a potential pathway for movement of the bacterium.

A combination of quarantine measures and operational systems are proposed to reduce the risks associated with the importation of potatoes, nursery stock and infected tomato-potato psyllids.

The proposed measures include:

  • For potato tubers:
    • area freedom; or
    • processing in quarantine approved premises
  • For nursery stock:
    • area freedom; or
    • post-entry quarantine and testing for ‘Ca. L. psyllaurous’
  • For infected tomato-potato psyllids
    • area freedom; or
    • a systems approach for fruit with pre- and post-harvest measures:
      • application of control measures to ensure low populations of tomato-potato psyllid in crops; and
      • washing and brushing to remove all life stages of the psyllid on the fruit;
    • methyl bromide fumigation of nursery stock and fruit; and
    • supporting operational systems to maintain and verify phytosanitary status.

Comments on the draft report should be submitted by 8 June 2009 to:

Plant Biosecurity
Biosecurity Australia
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: +61 2 6272 5094
Facsimile: +61 2 6272 3307
E-mail: Plant Biosecurity

The draft report is available via Biosecurity Australia’s website: www.biosecurityaustralia.gov.au.

All submissions received on the draft report will be carefully considered by Biosecurity Australia in finalising the pest risk analysis. Biosecurity Australia will then advise AQIS on a recommended quarantine policy.

Please pass this notice to other interested parties. If those parties wish to be included in future communications on this matter they should contact Biosecurity Australia.


Stakeholders are advised that, subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988, all submissions received in response to Biosecurity Australia Advices will be publicly available and may be listed or referred to in any papers or reports prepared on the subject matter.

The Commonwealth of Australia reserves the right to reveal the identity of a respondent unless a request for anonymity accompanies the submission. Where a request for anonymity does not accompany the submission the respondent will be taken to have consented to the disclosure of his or her identity for the purposes of Information Privacy Principle 11 of the Privacy Act. The contents of the submission will only be treated as confidential if they are marked ‘confidential’ and they can be classified as such in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. 

Dr Colin J Grant
Chief Executive