November 2018 Myrtle Rust Update

November 28, 2018

In this update you will find:

  • Detections in the last month 
  • Myrtle rust research to be accelerated
  • What is PCR?

Detections in the last month

The total number of infected properties reported since the start of the response is 797.

New finds since last update by town/city/suburb – 13 new sites:

  • Auckland: New Lynn (1), Sandringham (1), Point Chevalier (1), Waimauko (1), Glendowie (1), Blockhouse Bay (2), Whangaroa (1), Remuera (1) 
  • Bay of Plenty: Omokoroa (1), Matua (1)
  • Wellington: Lower Hutt (1)
  • Nelson: Richmond (1) 

Property type:

Private (639), public land (70), commercial (46), school (16), nursery (13), public conservation land (5), retailer (2), golf course (2), orchard (2), depot (1), cemetery (1).

Myrtle rust research to be accelerated

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has announced a funding increase of $5 million over three years from the Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) for research into myrtle rust. 

The research will be under the umbrella of the New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge (BioHeritage Challenge).

The new investment will be used to focus and accelerate the work already being done by Government agencies, councils, research providers, Māori and interest groups. A high-level research strategy is currently being developed by the BioHeritage Challenge.

The strategy will align with BioHeritage’s three big goals – whakamana, tiaki, whakahou (empower, protect, restore) – and the research priorities already identified by the Myrtle Rust Strategic Science Advisory Group. 

What is PCR?

The myrtle rust detection team uses PCR to identify myrtle rust spores.

PCR is shorthand for a simple but very useful procedure in molecular biology called the polymerase chain reaction. It is a technique used to amplify a segment of DNA of interest or produce lots and lots of copies.

PCR contributes to our understanding of many environmental issues, particularly where the detection of microorganisms in the environment is required. PCR allows specific target species to be identified and quantified, even when very low numbers exist. One common example is searching for pathogens such as myrtle rust.