Suspected Bacterial Vine Infection

Media Release - 08 November 2010


MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) is investigating a report of symptoms of disease on kiwifruit vines on a North Island kiwifruit orchard. A preliminary test has suggested that a strain of the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease, Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa), may be present on some vines on the orchard.

MAFBNZ is working closely with ZESPRI, Plant & Food Research and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) to confirm whether the vine infection is Psa – this should be known by Wednesday.

Precautions have been taken to mitigate any risk of spread, including issuing a Restricted Place Notice on the orchard, while MAFBNZ and the kiwifruit industry await test results.

All parties are taking the suspected threat seriously and are acting quickly to minimise the risk. If Psa is confirmed, MAFBNZ will work with ZESPRI and NZKGI to implement an agreed action plan.

In the meantime ZESPRI is working with the industry to advise of the current situation, understand how widespread the issue may be and encourage best practice orchard hygiene. Psa carries no risks associated with human or animal health, and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. This is about the health of the vines, not the health of the fruit.

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About PSA

  • Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa or batteriosi) is a disease that affects kiwifruit (Actinidia) 
  • It was first identified on green kiwifruit vines (Hayward) in Japan about 25 years ago 
  • Psa has never been confirmed as being present in New Zealand 
  • Psa was first identified on green kiwifruit vines in Italy in 1992 and has caused substantial damage to both green and yellow-fleshed kiwifruit in recent years 
  • Psa is also present in Japan and Korea where the disease is controlled by implementing appropriate agriculture practices

PSA Information Sheet available here.

Interviews are available with:

Lain Jager, ZESPRI CEO by calling:
Andrea Brady
ZESPRI Media Manager
Phone: +64-7-572-7757 (office) or +64-21-977-688 (mobile)

Steve Stuart, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand DDG by calling:
Annie Wright
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand Communications Adviser
Phone: +64-29-894-0654 (mobile)

About MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) is the division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry charged with the leadership of New Zealand’s biosecurity system. MAFBNZ works on three fronts: working overseas to stop travellers and importers from bringing pest here; working at the border to identify and eliminate pests that do arrive; and working in New Zealand to find, manage or eliminate pests that have established here.

About ZESPRI International Limited
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, ZESPRI is 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employs approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of, and in collaboration with, its 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

About Plant & Food Research
Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand-based science company formed in December 2008 through the merger of HortResearch and Crop & Food Research. With over 800 staff based at sites across New Zealand , Plant & Food Research provides research and development that adds value to fruit, vegetable, crop and food products.

Plant & Food Research's work in elite cultivar development, sustainable production systems and bioprotection, supports the production of high quality produce that earns a premium in international markets, while research into food science and the consumer drives the design and development of new and novel functional foods.

About New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI)
NZKGI was established in 1993 to represent New Zealand’s 3,500 kiwifruit growers and give growers their own voice in industry and government decision making and was formed following the downturn in the kiwifruit industry in the early 1990’s.

NZKGI’s vision is to be a strong grower organisation that demonstrates industry leadership in which growers and other industry participants actively participate. NZKGI’s mission is to represent, protect and enhance the commercial and political interests of New Zealand Kiwifruit growers. NZKGI’s Grower Forum consists of 25 regional and district representatives and 13 industry group representatives. Forum members are elected every three years by all kiwifruit growers via a postal ballot.

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