NZ: Seeka 'encouraged' by Psa taskforce results -

NZ: Seeka 'encouraged' by Psa taskforce results

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NZ: Seeka 'encouraged' by Psa taskforce results

New Zealand kiwifruit companies Seeka and EastPack have launched their own Psa solution taskforce to add to the efforts underway across the industry.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks told the project called Taskforce Green would 'augment' the research already undertaken by Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH), Zespri and Plant & Food Research.

"That taskforce is meant to augment KVH’s research program and involves leading professors, domestic experts and scientist going into Te Puke to view the outbreak and brainstorm solutions," says Franks.

"I think both of us would say we’re surprised by the momentum of the taskforce.  We've been intimate with what they’re doing in understanding the genomic sequence of Psa-V, and the differences in the genomic sequences in different strains of Psa.

"I’m encouraged we’re going to find a solution."

He says the nature of the solution is still uncertain, but there are several short-term options underway.

"Over the range of the short term there’s solutions we’re involved in including antibiotic remedies. There’s new antibiotics in Japan for the outbreak of Psa that you can use topically like with spraying, or you can inject it.

"I can’t tell you there’s a light at the end of the tunnel because we don’t know which technology is going to work. We are confident we will yield a technology, I don’t think it’ll be too far away before we know which one.

"Our first goal is to find a solution. We’re not overly worried about how it gets commercialized."

The taskforce has also developed a 48-hour diagnosis test to determine the existence and strain of Psa.

EastPack deputy chairman and former Kiwifruit Growers Inc (KGI) president Grant Eydon, said it was unprecedented for two competitors in the post harvest sector to join forces to find a solution.

"The need is such that the commercial operators shoould combine efforts and launch an initiative to find a common solution to augment the industry response. It will take significant investment but I am encouraged by the momentum already achieved by Taskforce Green. In many ways we represent the growers and the industry."

Related story: Potential breakthrough for NZ vine killer research

Photo: Seeka

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