Tuesday, 19 June 2018 Sydney

New Technology To Protect Australia's Grain Industries::

A suite of new smart trapping technology is being developed by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) to protect Australia’s grain industries from airborne pests and diseases.

Field testing starts this month for the Mobile Jet Spore Sampler – a smart device fixed on top of a vehicle that sucks up air-borne fungal pathogen samples 45 times greater than standard fixed trap technology.

Other technology includes an Insect Suction Trap, which was used to monitor last year's Russian Wheat Aphid incursion, and the Sensor Moth Trap, which uses speciesspecific lures to capture a target moth.

Funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) through the Plant Biosecurity CRC, the technology is being developed in collaboration with the University of Southern Queensland and UK-based Rothamsted Research and Burkard Manufacturing Company.


This technology is a potential game-changer for undertaking effective surveillance of airborne pests and diseases threatening Australia's grains industries.

Our aim is to develop rapid and cost-effective technologies for area-wide surveillance of grain pests in the field.

Using smart trapping technology has the potential to offer researchers and growers a more efficient and targeted way to undertake pest surveillance, and help them make well-informed crop protection decisions.


The Mobile Jet Spore Sampler captures particles at 450 litres per minute within tubes on an automated carousel, which is controlled by smart technology to sample air according to either pre-determined GPS, time, temperature or humidity settings.

The technology is well suited to detect rare influxes of pathogens for example exotic incursions that can be difficult to detect through traditional trapping systems.

The mobile spore trap will undergo field tests for the rest of the growing season, and will be used in conjunction with fixed trapping systems at seven locations in South Australia and four in Victoria.

Samples collected by a prototype of the Insect Suction Trap were analysed by SARDI and found the first Russian Wheat Aphid had been captured by the device.

A new prototype will use smart technology to understand the influence of the environment for pest flights. Its smart capture system will generate data to identify the best sampling times or weather conditions for the surveillance of peak insect flights.

The new prototype will soon be deployed to existing pest trapping sites and compared with current insect sampling strategies.

The sensor moth trap uploads a time-stamped image of the captured moth to a web portal for analysis. The technology has been successfully evaluated for surveillance of native budworm last spring, and will be used for further testing for autumn flight activities.

SARDI is a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA.