Diagnostic Challenges for the Detection of Emerging Pathogens: A Case Study Involving the Incursion of Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae in New Zealand

  • Robert K. TaylorEmail author
  • Joanne R. Chapman
  • Megan K. Romberg
  • Bevan S. Weir
  • Joel L. Vanneste
  • Kerry R. Everett
  • Lisa I. Ward
  • Lia W. Liefting
  • Benedicte S. M. Lebas
  • Brett J. R. Alexander
Part of the Plant Pathology in the 21st Century book series (ICPP, volume 5)


In November 2010, Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) was detected for the first time in New Zealand. This finding triggered one of the largest surveillance and diagnostic programmes seen in New Zealand’s horticultural industry. During this response, over 912 kiwifruit orchards and 14,500 samples were screened and tested for the presence of Psa. The initial objectives of the response were to confirm the causal agent, determine disease prevalence and identify possible mechanisms of spread with the aim of identifying management options to contain the outbreak. Molecular diagnoses and characterisation of the Psa strains isolated during the response was conducted using a range of techniques that included qPCR, rep-PCR fingerprinting, multilocus sequence analysis, and next generation sequencing. The usefulness and challenges of using the molecular techniques available at the time for Psa detection and characterisation during the response are discussed.


Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae Actinidia spp. Diagnostics Emerging pathogens Response Surveillance New Zealand 



The diagnostic development and activities undertaken during this response involved a large number of people. The authors would like to recognise the efforts of all the scientists and technical staff at PHEL, Plant and Food Research, Landcare, colleagues in MPI, Zespri, KVH, AsureQuality and kiwifruit industry staff who were involved in the initial response.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert K. Taylor
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joanne R. Chapman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Megan K. Romberg
    • 2
    • 4
  • Bevan S. Weir
    • 5
  • Joel L. Vanneste
    • 6
  • Kerry R. Everett
    • 7
  • Lisa I. Ward
    • 1
  • Lia W. Liefting
    • 1
  • Benedicte S. M. Lebas
    • 1
  • Brett J. R. Alexander
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Health and Environment LaboratoryMinistry for Primary IndustriesAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Previously Plant Health and Environment LaboratoryMinistry for Primary IndustriesAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Section for Zoonotic Ecology and EpidemiologyLinnaeus UniversityKalmarSweden
  4. 4.USDA-APHISBeltsvilleUSA
  5. 5.Landcare ResearchAucklandNew Zealand
  6. 6.The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd.HamiltonNew Zealand
  7. 7.The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd.AucklandNew Zealand

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