A $1.8 million upgrade to SARDI’s Molecular Diagnostics Centre (MDC) will allow growers and researchers to dig deeper to manage risks posed by soil and stubble borne diseases through improved soil testing capacity.

The upgrade will double the centre’s soil testing capacity to 60,000 samples per year.

Based at the Plant Research Centre at the Waite, the centre is a key facility within SARDI, developing and delivering internationally unique technology for measuring pathogens in soil.

SARDI Executive Director Peter Appleford said the $1.8 million upgrade was a significant boost for our primary industries.

“This $1.8 million investment will result in better outcomes for our grain, horticulture and wine industries through improved testing and increased biosecurity, which will reduce the risks posed by both soil and stubble-borne diseases,” he said.

“With testing capacity now reaching 60,000 samples per year, we have strengthened diagnostic technologies for biosecurity surveillance including DNA surveillance tools for phylloxera and marine pests.

“This upgrade will ensure this leading research facility will get even greater use out of its three main laboratories for DNA extraction and analysis, and soil and grain processing.”

Prior to the upgrade, the MDC’s testing capacity was limited to 30,000 samples per year, placing pressure on the quality of services to the agribusiness sector with longer turnaround times and more expensive operating costs.

The upgraded MDC will be used extensively by researchers involved in SARDI-Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) co-investments, and will also deliver outcomes from other investments in soil-borne and foliar disease surveillance, diagnostics and management that aim to minimise the economic impact of important pathogens for the benefit of Australian grain growers.

The upgrade supports SARDI’s commitment to its five-year, strategic partnership with the GRDC.

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