1331417_Martoni,F_2023.pdf (37.82 MB)
Non-destructive insect metabarcoding for surveillance and biosecurity in citrus orchards: recording the good, the bad and the psyllids
journal contributionposted on 2024-02-07, 23:49 authored by Francesco Martoni, Reannon Smith, Alexander PiperAlexander Piper, Jessica Lye, Conrad TrollipConrad Trollip, Brendan RodoniBrendan Rodoni, Mark J Blacket
Background: The Australian citrus industry remains one of the few in the world to be unaffected by the African and the Asian citrus psyllids, Trioza erytreae Del Guercio and Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, respectively, and the diseases their vectored bacteria can cause. Surveillance, early detection, and strict quarantine measures are therefore fundamental to safeguard Australian citrus. However, long-term targeted surveillance for exotic citrus pests can be a time-consuming and expensive activity, often relying on manually screening large numbers of trap samples and morphological identification of specimens, which requires a high level of taxonomic knowledge. Methods: Here we evaluated the use of non-destructive insect metabarcoding for exotic pest surveillance in citrus orchards. We conducted an 11-week field trial, between the months of December and February, at a horticultural research farm (SuniTAFE Smart Farm) in the Northwest of Victoria, Australia, and processed more than 250 samples collected from three types of invertebrate traps across four sites. Results: The whole-community metabarcoding data enabled comparisons between different trapping methods, demonstrated the spatial variation of insect diversity across the same orchard, and highlighted how comprehensive assessment of insect biodiversity requires use of multiple complimentary trapping methods. In addition to revealing the diversity of native psyllid species in citrus orchards, the non-targeted metabarcoding approach identified a diversity of other pest and beneficial insects and arachnids within the trap bycatch, and recorded the presence of the triozid Casuarinicola cf warrigalensis for the first time in Victoria. Ultimately, this work highlights how a non-targeted surveillance approach for insect monitoring coupled with non-destructive DNA metabarcoding can provide accurate and high-throughput species identification for biosecurity and biodiversity monitoring.