16 Oct 2020

Protection from PSA

From Country Life, 9:16 pm on 16 October 2020
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Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

It all started 15 years ago with an apricot.

Dr Phil Elmer, from Plant and Food Research, spotted an unusual micro-organism on the fruit and thought it might just be worth saving for another day.

He was right.

Less than a millilitre was kept in a freezer at minus 80 degress and now that micro-organism is helping protect kiwifruit vines from the vine killing disease PSA.

It has been developed into an environmentally-friendly spray that, if it is applied a week before a vine is exposed to the PSA bacteria, can reduce the signs of the disease by 30 to 50 percent.