Discovery could boost Queensland's mandarin industry

3 July 2017

QAAFI’s high impact science has solved a 100-year mystery regarding the sexual cycle of the fungus that causes black spot on the fruit of Queensland mandarins.

Researchers can now induce the production of sexual spores of this fungus in the laboratory, allowing for inoculation studies and screening for resistance against the black spot disease. They also can now study the role the sexual spores, called ascospores, play in the disease cycle and in the infection of fruit in the field.

Their findings have been published in Phytopathology, the leading international journal in this field.

The black spot fungus restricts market access of Australian fruit and limits access to high value markets such as the United States and Europe, with industry estimating Queensland could export $64 million of mandarins to these markets if barrier such as black spot can be overcome.

This project has been jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the University of Queensland, Citrus Research and Development Foundation of the USA and Horticulture Innovation Australia.