Affinity Labs uses technology based on recent research to provide rapid, sensitive and reliable detection of a range of plant pathogens. Testing is available for a number of grapevine viruses and phytoplasmas, as well as other pathogens responsible for various crop diseases. The service is offered nationally and internationally with samples received from across Australia, the USA, New Zealand, Germany, Argentina and South Africa. 

GRAPEVINE VIRUSES

Grapevine viruses can shorten the life of infected grapevines and reduce both the quality and yield of grapes. Several viruses, especially those belonging to ‘rugose wood complex’, have been associated with graft incompatibility. In some cases, especially in many white grape varieties and non-vinifera rootstocks, virus-infected vines do not show symptoms but the virus can spread to susceptible neighbouring vines and vineyards. It is important to test propagation material prior to planting or grafting to avoid the risk of introducing or spreading viruses. Virus testing is also a useful tool to help diagnose poor-performing grapevines and to detect and eliminate infections before they become a serious problem. 

COLLECTION OF SAMPLES 

The reason for testing grapevines determines the best approach for sampling for virus testing. If symptoms have been observed, or are suspected, samples taken directly from the affected vine should be submitted for testing. However, if a vineyard block is being tested as a precautionary measure, it is important to ensure that a fair representation of the block is sampled. Vineyard blocks often vary greatly in size and collecting a sample representative of the entire block can be challenging. A minimum of five vines per 1,000 vines is recommended to ensure an accurate representation. Plant material from a maximum of five vines can be pooled together into one sample for virus testing while still ensuring high sensitivity of the test.

Depending on the reason for the analysis, virus testing can be carried out as either a broad screen for multiple viruses, or a single test for a specific virus. 

For more information on choosing the right test, sampling, packaging, transport and the paperwork required to accompany samples, contact the virus testing team on [email protected] or 08 8313 0444.

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