[17 October/Stuff]

A lethal strain of the Psa bacteria was detected for the first time in Australia on a kiwifruit orchard owned by New Zealand horticulture business, Seeka. The disease caused havoc on the New Zealand kiwifruit industry in 2010, forcing some growers out of business. The Psa tolerant gold variety helped remedy the situation. Seeka Commercial Manager, Rob Twogood, said the orchard where the outbreak occurred had been isolated and officials would try to track down the source. Seeka was the largest kiwifruit grower in New Zealand and Australia. There were two Psa strains, namely, Psa-Iv and Psa-v. The latter was the more deadly strain. A mild form of the disease was found in Australia in 2011. Agriculture Victoria Chief Plant Health Officer, Rosa Crnov, said Seeka had done the right thing in contacting them. A Zespri spokesman added it had contracted only a handful of growers in Australia who grew the Hort16A variety susceptible to the disease.