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$1.8 million upgrade to soil testing centre to boost agriculture in South Australia

Thursday 27 December 2018

Australia’s grains, horticulture and wine industries will benefit from a $1.8 million upgrade to the South Australian Research and Development Institute’s Molecular Diagnostic Centre (MDC), which conducts vital diagnostic soil testing to assist growers and researchers manage risks posed by soil and stubble borne diseases.


The significant upgrade has been delivered by the State Government as part of its commitment to invest in world-class agricultural research infrastructure and will double the centre’s soil testing capacity to 60,000 samples per year.

Located in the Plant Research Centre at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus, the centre is a key facility within SARDI, developing and delivering internationally unique technology for measuring pathogens in soil.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the $1.8 million upgrade was a significant boost for our primary industries.

“The State Government’s $1.8 million investment will result in better outcomes for South Australia’s agribusiness sector, including improved testing and increased biosecurity, which will reduce the risks posed by soil and stubble borne diseases,” said Minister Whetstone.

“Now that its testing capacity has doubled to 60,000 samples annually, we have strengthened diagnostic technologies for biosecurity surveillance including DNA surveillance tools for phylloxera and marine pests.

“This funding injection will ensure this leading research facility will get even greater use out of its three main laboratories for DNA extraction and analysis, and soil and grain processing. This is just another example of the State Government investing in research and development to assist in growing our agriculture and horticulture industries in South Australia.”

Prior to the upgrade, the MDC’s testing capacity was limited to 30,000 samples per year, placing pressure on the quality of services to the agribusiness sector with longer turnaround times and more expensive operating costs.

The upgraded MDC will not only be used extensively by researchers involved in SARDI-Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) co-investments, but will also enhance outcomes from other GRDC investments in soil borne and foliar disease surveillance, diagnostics and management, aimed at minimising the economic impact of important pathogens for the benefit of Australian grain growers.

The upgrade supports SARDI’s commitment to its five-year, strategic partnership with the GRDC.

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