• Improving plant industry access to new genetics through faster and more accurate diagnostics using next generation sequencing
  • MT18005
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Roberto Barrero


This investment is tasked with supporting the adoption of ‘next generation sequencing’ in the screening of imported horticultural plant material in post-entry quarantine facilities.

The technology has the potential to allow plants to move through the quarantine process much more quickly – allowing industry speedier access to new genetic stocks.

This project is a multi-industry strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Citrus, Nursery, Potato – Fresh, Potato – Processing, Raspberry & Blackberry and Table Grape Funds.

Currently, new plant material entering Australia can spend up to three years in post-entry quarantine facilities undergoing pathogen testing. Next generation sequencing offers a fast, reliable and cost-effective method to identify all known plant pathogens in a single test.

Previous research has demonstrated the approach’s success and efficiency in testing for viruses and viroids in imported plants, with next generation sequencing subsequently being adopted in the testing of imported ornamental grasses. This investment will provide the evidence and protocols needed for the technology to be adopted for further plant commodities, including horticulture crops.



Fast Facts

  • Rapid and safe access to new plant genetic stocks is crucial for plant primary industries to remain profitable, sustainable and internationally competitive.
  • Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) offers a fast, reliable and cost-effective method to identify all known plant pathogens in a single test.
  • Current quarantine screening for pathogens in new plant genetic stocks can take up to 3 years
  • Next generation high throughput sequencing technologies could reduce this to 6-12 months

HORTICULTURE growers will benefit from faster access to new plant stock through next-generation genetic sequencing technology designed to reduce port of entry quarantine delays by more than two years.

The project, funded by Hort Innovation and facilitated by the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI), is being led by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), drawing in expertise from the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.