Dogs to sniff out citrus canker

Dogs to sniff out citrus canker

Horticulture
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A newly-announced project will see the use of sniffer dogs to detect citrus canker disease.

Aa

Efforts to protect Australia's citrus industry from citrus canker have been boosted, in the form of a project to develop a scent lure so sniffer dogs could detect the disease.

Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said the development of a scent lure for a plant pathogen was an Australian-first, and would help protect Australian citrus farmers from the damaging exotic disease.

"Citrus canker is a serious bacterial disease that affects oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and other citrus varieties causing fruit to fall to the ground before it ripens and tree death," she said.

"Overseas it has caused heavy economic losses to citrus industries because of damage to trees, reduced fruit production, decreased access to export markets and increased cost of management.

"With a current incursion in the north of Australia on its way to being eradicated, it's a reminder that we need to stay vigilant because these threats are ever present."

Ms McKenzie said detector dogs would be trained with the scent lures by mid-2020.

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