Pests and diseases research incorporates two of SARDI's Sustainable Systems science program areas;
The Entomology science program area has expertise in insect taxonomy, ecology and molecular biology, applied to diagnostic services and integrated pest management programs for agricultural, forestry and urban pests. Research is directed toward solving complex biological problems and supporting market access and sustainable systems by utilising natural ecosystem elements, biological control, biotechnology, pesticide resistance management strategies, and the development of novel pesticide application technologies. Molecular approaches are also applied in pure research aimed at understanding insect biology in order to provide novel tools for producers, managers and researchers. In-house communication and adult-learning officers disseminate research findings to industry and the wider community.
The Plant and Soil Health science program area has expertise in mycology, nematology, molecular diagnostics and microbiology to provide research and development in plant disease management, plant biosecurity, soil health, bio-inoculants as well as the development and delivery of high-throughput molecular and immunological diagnostics.
Plant and Soil Health provides a unique capability to implement DNA diagnostics in a broad range of environmental samples including soil, seed, sediments. Research includes management of foliar and soil-borne pathogens, development and delivery of bio-inoculants including Rhizobium, soil health including compost amendments and use of precision agriculture data for spatial management of diseases and weeds. Information is provided to industry to support phytosanitary requirements for market access. Screening services for plant disease are provided to plant breeding programs.