To date control measures to mitigate cucurbit stem diseases such as Gummy Stem Blight (causal agent Didymella bryoniae) are largely ineffective, or offer only partial protection, resulting in considerable wastage and a considerable delay in production. This project supports inquiry by Perfection Fresh to seek solutions to address wastage in their Qukes® cucumber variety grown in glasshouse conditions at their Two Wells facility. The project aims to test and pilot fast detection procedures with the aim of giving growers a suite of options to test for the presence of the pathogen prior to disease being evident. The project also aims to test a range of commercially available control measures and create management recommendations. Finally, the project will investigate novel means of controlling the pathogen through targeted repression of key disease developmental pathways (i.e. non-GMO repression of effector proteins) and manipulation of the plant’s natural resistance pathways. Outcomes of the project will support sustainable production of this valuable crop for our industry partners, and open new pathways of investigation that will enable breakthroughs in pathogen control that could be cross-applicable to other important cucurbit diseases in the larger vegetable production sector.
P2 – Future farming