Wide benefits in detecting chickpea disease

August 6, 2020

As part of our concerted efforts to support and encourage the next generation of Australians in study, careers and volunteering in international agricultural research, the Crawford Fund State Committees proudly support our Student Awards

Our 2020 Student Awards in ACT, NSW and QLD have been extended due to the disruption to the university year caused by COVID-19 so check out the backgrounder and apply online before Monday 2 November 2020.

These awards allow university students from around Australia to include an international component to their studies, to travel to their host countries to research and explore their chosen topic areas and gain international agricultural research experience and expertise.

We proudly present to you reports from our 2019 cohort who completed their  work prior to the COVID-19 impacts on travel. A sample of reports from other States include Jori Bremer from the University of New England; Nadeem Akmal from the University of Canberra;  Daniel Waterhouse from Murdoch University; Cassandra Davitt from the University of Melbourne; Manithaythip Thephavanh from University of Adelaide; Jane Ray with an NT award  and  Oliver Gales from the University of Tasmania.

In this report, Kazbek Dyussembayev from Griffith University in Queensland, explains his trip to India to develop an emerging technology for the detection of Ascochyta Blight disease in chickpea.

Ascochyta Blight disease is an important plant pathogen of chickpea found in all major chickpea producing countries, including Australia and India. There is a significant need for better in-field diagnostic tools to support early testing and rapid responses to limit outbreaks.

Kazbek Dyussembayev is working on an emerging management technology for the early detection of this disease to support Australian and Indian chickpea growers. In addition, his work helps to build collaboration between Queensland and Indian research groups.

Rutwik Barmukh (left), Kazbek Dyussembayev (middle), Praveen Madagula (right) working together in ICRISAT’s chickpea field.

“In collaboration with other researchers at Griffith University, led by Professor Rebecca Ford, I am developing sensitive species-specific molecular probes for the rapid detection of A. rabiei,” reported Kazbek on his return.

Kazbek travelled to ICRISAT in Hyderabad, the international research centre which has chickpea as their mandate crop.

“I established collaboration with a leading Indian chickpea research group and tested the effectiveness of these probes against Indian A. rabiei population. As a result, my target probe was shown to be effective,” he said.

Kazbek reported on a wide range of benefits of his work for both India and Australia. The new detection device would allow Australia to identify a presence of diseases in importing seeds of legume crops. Enormous progress will be possible in the strategic control of destructive crop pathogens and improve food security from the integration of fast, accurate and cost-effective diagnostics into integrated disease management practices. This will also provide large savings on chemical inputs, guide on variety selection, reduce input costs and increase financial returns to growers. In addition, the application of the biosensor will benefit the environment by reducing huge amount of pollination due to chemical use.

“Furthermore, this will help the development of a novel highly sensitive detection technology which will be able to identify not only Australian, but also other fungal populations around the globe”, he concluded.

Chickpea plants infected by A. rabiei (Pulse Australia).