The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided funding for the upgrade of two key scientific identification tools for plant pests and diseases, strengthening Australia’s biosecurity science ahead of National Science Week 2022. The system upgrades were undertaken by Plant Health Australia in consultation with Australian governments.
Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith said the updated Australian Plant Pest Database (APPD) and the Pest and Disease Image Library (PaDIL) helped scientists, biosecurity officers, policy officers, farmers and citizen scientists diagnose plant pests and diseases.
“These two critical digital systems support further scientific research and activities to protect against and reduce the impact of invasive plant pests,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.
“Australia is lucky to be free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests, and our biosecurity system helps protect us from exotic plant pests.
“Science, starting with accurate identification, plays a key role, and this National Science Week is a chance to celebrate science and technology and how science is integral to our work.
“These updated online diagnostic tools support Australia’s plant pest status and can help identify plant pests intercepted at the border or detected through surveillance, and assist emergency plant pest management or management of established/native pest species.”
Plant Health Australia CEO Sarah Corcoran said the two systems are valuable tools that contribute to strengthening the national plant health system.
“Enhancing system integration is key to improving Australia’s ability to identify and detect biosecurity threats,” Ms Corcoran said.
Find out more about plant pest and disease risks here: Plant pests and diseases
- The Australian Plant Pest Database (APPD) is a national, online database of vouchered specimens of Australia’s economically important plant pests and diseases. Government users can quickly identify pest specimens from different contributing databases of insects, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and viruses.
- The Pest and Disease Image Library (PaDIL) is a biodiversity and biosecurity information management system that holds high-quality diagnostic images of plant pests and diseases. The new version of PaDIL will be relaunched in September.
- These two critical digital systems have been modernised and redeveloped by Plant Health Australia, through funding provided by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
- Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer (ACPPO), Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, is the primary representative of, and an advisor to, the Australian Government on matters relating to Australia’s plant health status and its supporting systems.