Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


New tool to characterise disease epidemics in trees

10 April 2014

Researchers develop new tool to characterise disease epidemics in trees

A University of Otago researcher and overseas colleagues have developed an innovative approach to modelling outbreaks of citrus greening, a devastating bacterial disease that has caused more than US$4.5 billion in lost citrus production in Florida alone in recent years.

The researchers’ model allows characterisation of the disease process, even when epidemiological data are limited due to the presence of control measures.

The model can also be used to simulate how the disease will spread over time in particular conditions, allowing growers to calculate the economic costs and benefits of various disease control measures. Their findings appear online this week in the early edition of the leading US journal PNAS.

Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), has inflicted increasingly severe economic losses on growers in some of the world’s key citrus-growing areas. Insects called psyllids act as vectors for the disease, spreading a bacterial infection between trees when they feed. There is currently no cure for HLB and trees showing signs of infection have to be destroyed.

Lead author of the study, Dr Matthew Parry of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, says that efforts to learn more about the pattern of the spread of such vector-borne diseases have been hampered by growers’ understandable desire to swiftly control outbreaks.

“Now we have developed an epidemic model which can take into account the effect of control measures in HLB outbreaks, we can show how effective different types of control will be, and predict worst case scenarios,” Dr Parry says.

The researchers, who included colleagues from leading institutions in the UK and the US, drew on an extensive dataset involving more than 250,000 trees in an affected plantation in South Florida to build their model.

“As New Zealand’s primary industries are very vulnerable to biological hazards, we believe that this kind of tool has good potential for developing strategies to tackle emerging vector-borne disease threats.”

Publication details:
Bayesian inference for an emerging arboreal epidemic in the presence of control
Matthew Parry, Gavin J. Gibson, Stephen Parnell, Tim R. Gottwald, Michael S. Irey, Timothy C. Gast, and Christopher A. Gilligan
PNAS 2014
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/04/02/1310997111.full.pdf+html

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Must Sell 20 Petrol Stations: Z Cleared To Buy Caltex Assets

Z Energy is allowed to buy the Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains but must sell 19 of its retail sites and one truck-stop, the Commerce Commission has ruled in a split decision that acknowledges possible retail price coordination between fuel retailers occurs in some regions. More>>

ALSO:

Huntly: Genesis Extends Life Of Coal-Fuelled Power Station To 2022

Genesis Energy will keep its two coal and gas-fired units at Huntly Power Station operating until 2022, having previously said they'd be closed by 2018, after wringing a high price from other electricity generators who wanted to keep them as back-up. More>>

ALSO:

Dammed If You Do: Ruataniwha Irrigation Scheme Hits Farmer Uptake Targets

Enough Hawke's Bay farmers have signed up for water from the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme for it to go ahead as long as a cornerstone institutional capital investor can be found to back it, its regional council promoter announced. More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: OCR Stays At 2.25%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2.25 percent, in a decision traders had said could go either way, while predicting inflation will pick up as the slump in oil prices washes out of the data and capacity pressures start to build in the economy. More>>

ALSO:

Export Values Down: NZ Posts Biggest Annual Trade Deficit In 7 Years

New Zealand has recorded its biggest annual trade deficit since April 2009, reflecting weaker prices of agricultural commodities such as dairy products, beef and lamb, and increased imports of vehicles and machinery. More>>

ALSO:

Currency Events: NZ's New $5 Note Wins International Banknote Award

New Zealand’s new Brighter Money $5 note has been named Banknote of the Year in a prestigious international competition. The $5 note was awarded the IBNS Banknote of the Year title at the International Bank Note Society’s annual meeting. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news