National research centre at Murdoch

July 11, 2016

Mediterranean fruit fly

Mediterranean fruit fly

Murdoch University has been chosen as the location for a national research facility which will help Australia’s $9 billion horticulture industry.

The $1.65 million MedFly Unit will protect crops from the Mediterranean fruit fly and will be funded by the Australian Government’s Rural Research and Development (R&D) for Profit program.

Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) will contribute a further $3.4 million towards a five year investment of more than $5 million.

Ben Morton is Liberal Federal Member for Tangney in Western Australia.

He said: “The grant is an example of industry, government and academia working collaboratively, with federal funding matched by an industry contribution of more than $3.4 million.

“The project will benefit producers and exporters of blueberries, apples, pears, avocados, strawberries, cherries, lychees, table grapes, citrus, capsicums and summer fruit.”

HIA Chief Executive Officer John Lloyd said: “This grant is a win for the $9 billion Australian horticulture industry.

“It will help open up access to trade partner countries that have stringent Medfly requirements.”

Before accepting imports, countries such as Japan and China require evidence that postharvest treatments such as Cold Treatment – where flies expire after extended exposure to low temperatures – effectively control Medfly risk.

A new state-of-the-art laboratory at Murdoch University will be equipped to work on quarantine and phytosanitary required treatment and postharvest disinfestation of horticultural products.

The Murdoch MedFly Unit will help develop new technologies to treat produce prior to export, including the creation of small-scale, mobile equipment for growers to use cost effectively in packing sheds.

It’s hoped the project will help identify treatments that can become standard protocols for use by fruit and vegetable exporters.

David Morrison is Deputy Vice Chancellor Research & Innovation at Murdoch.

He said: “The MedFly Unit will develop new pest and quality management options that can help Australia gain international market access.

“It will also maintain the Australian horticultural industry position as a leader in both domestic and international markets thanks to sound, cost-effective and safe treatment technology.

“This is an excellent example of Murdoch University helping the Australian economy through translational research.

“The new facility follows Murdoch’s core research focus on Food Security, helping us find solutions to global challenges.

“We are looking forward to working with our research, government and industry partners to protect a critical part of the Australian economy.”

The MedFly Unit is expected to be operational in September this year.

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Media contact: Thomas Smith
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Categories: General, Research, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, agriculture
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