Tuesday, 11 February, 2020 - 10:58

A strategy refresh for B3 - New Zealand’s largest single provider of plant border biosecurity science outcomes - is underway and will be implemented within the next six to 12 months.
Following B3’s Collaboration Council (CC) meeting in Wellington at the end of 2019, Chair James Buwalda said while the scope of B3 remains relevant and appropriate, changes need to be made in three key areas to update the strategy. 

Dr Buwalda says the three focus areas will be: 

1. Aligning the B3 research programme with the Government’s new Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) priorities. B3 has traditionally been funded by CRI core funding but it will now need to identify more specific opportunities to link with SSIF funding platforms from which CRIs are providing funding for B3.

2. A demonstrated commitment to partnership with Māori within the B3 research agenda. This work will require guidance from senior Maori leadership from each of the collaboration parties.

3. Changing the number of priority areas in which B3 works and better horizontal and vertical connections with other New Zealand...

Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 - 09:07

The first meeting of B3’s Co-Investment Committee was held in Lincoln at the end of 2019, with strong support coming from industry and MPI for the initiative, according to Director David Teulon.

Dr Teulon said the workshop included broad representation from industry and B3 research end users and included, KVH, Zespri, DOC, Dairy NZ, MPI, FAR, NZ Avocado, PFR, FOA, BHNSC, GIA Secretariat and Apples and Pears NZ.

The workshop covered 3 areas:

  • The reason for the CIC, and exploring...
Thursday, 5 December, 2019 - 13:44

Barbara Barratt’s more than four decades of dedication to research has been recognised with the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award by Science New Zealand.

Dr Barratt was presented with her award at the recent Science New Zealand’s 2019 National Awards Ceremony. At the gala event her pioneering and internationally relevant research and risk assessment into the biosafety of introduced insect biocontrol agents was recognised and acknowledged.

The selection committee said Dr Barratt’s research is an outstanding example of significant and ongoing impact to New Zealand and global biocontrol science and practice.

Dr Barratt, who is based at AgResearch’s Invermay Research Station is B3’s theme leader for research that looks at risk assessments of intentional (ie biocontrol agents) and unintentional introductions. B3 Director David Teulon said the well-deserved award is a wonderful recognition for this key member of the B3 team.

The contribution of B3 researchers was also acknowledged at the recent...

Thursday, 5 December, 2019 - 13:26


B3 Director David Teulon’s recent visit to Europe has strengthened critical research connections with networks working in the areas of plant biosecurity including the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) and the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).

Dr Teulon presented about the activities of B3 at EPPO in November  where discussions were also held on databases such as the EPPO database on plant and pest species (Global Database), the EPPO databases to support diagnostics (such as  EPPO Q-bank) and the B3 global eradication and response database (GERDA).

Dr Baldissera Giovani, Euphresco Co-ordinator located at EPPO, said the meeting was a great opportunity to understand how B3 is organized and how New Zealand successfully established collaborations on research priorities that are shared by research organizations, policy makers, government, industry and the general public. 

Information on the work on some of the...

Monday, 2 December, 2019 - 07:55

A video showing Dr Max Suckling talking about the traps can be viewed here.
Surveillance for detection of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, is reliant on sticky panels with aggregation pheromone, which are low cost, but very inefficient (est. 3%). Trapping for adults was conducted in Italy with novel live (or lethal) traps consisting of aggregation pheromone-baited cylinders with a wind vane, with the upwind end covered by mesh and the downwind end sealed by a removable entry-only mesh cone, admitting the attracted bugs. The novel traps caught up to 15-times more adult H. halys than identically-baited sticky panels in two weeks of daily checking.

Like all B3 research, any application of these tools will need to be evaluated with reference to current practices and ease of implementation.  




Wednesday, 20 November, 2019 - 12:33

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a very long name for the greatest threat to New Zealand’s biosecurity as we know it. This article and podcast by Damian Christie from the Aotearoa Science Agency appeared on Our Changing World on Radio New Zealand in October, 2019.

Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 - 11:02

A new walking trail at the Auckland Botanic Gardens will give locals and overseas visitors a chance to learn about New Zealand’s flora as well as the role they play in protecting it.The Biosecurity Trail is a collaboration between Better Border Biosecurity (B3) and the Auckland Botanic Garden (ABG), funded by Plant and Food Research. Visitors can embark on a 1.8 km-long walk round the garden and discover biosecurity facts at their own pace as they adA mire more than 10,000 native and exotic plants.

Ko Tātou This Is Us, an initiative under Biosecurity 2025, is also promoted within the trail. It recognises the role that every New Zealander needs to play in preventing pests and diseases from getting into New Zealand or helping to stop their spread if they do get here.

Brief information about pests and diseases that threaten New Zealand’s flora and primary industries, including brown marmorated stink bug, myrtle rust and kauri dieback, is displayed at each of the 12 check points along the path. Visitors can scan the QR code at each check point to be directed to either a video or website for additional information on the pest or the disease and how to prevent its spread.

While locals are encouraged to experience the trail, the project team...

Friday, 1 November, 2019 - 13:52

Since February, the Year 10 Mātauranga Māori class at Aorere College (Papatoetoe, South Auckland) has been supported by regular lessons with the scientists at Plant & Food Research as part of an "Unlocking Curious Minds" Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) project. The project seeks to expose students to biosecurity concepts and the dynamic nature of plant disease epidemics, taking them beyond theory and into scientific practice.

The students report some experiences:

 "We found out that myrtle rust had originated from Brazil and it's progression to moving to New Zealand was carried out by the wind. They told us about how easily the spores can spread and how effective it is. We learnt how to identify leaves because leaf identification is helpful in classifying plant varieties and their families. In our case, knowing how to identify leaves was critical to gathering information especially when we're surveying around the school and botanical gardens to see if it is susceptible to receiving myrtle rust. Over time we found out that not all plants are or can be infected by this fungal disease. We have learnt quite a lot about what to do if we have a sighting of myrtle rust or even how to...

Friday, 1 November, 2019 - 13:20

The stink bug hasn’t become established in New Zealand yet - or at least biosecurity officials don’t think it has. But a 2017 report from NZIER found that under a worst case scenario, our GDP losses from a full-blown stink bug invasion could reach $3.6 billion by 2038. It says living standards could fall by up to $2.8 billion over 20 years, as employment and real wages decrease. 

Horticultural export values could fall by up to $3 billion over 10 years and $4.2 billion over 20 years. The wine industry alone could lose $600 million worth of exports. 

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Link to full article: 

*This item featured on newsroom.

Friday, 1 November, 2019 - 13:06

The Port of Tauranga (PoT) is New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing port, processing a large volume of goods, from diverse origins. This presents a key risk; these goods may contain biosecurity risks. With over 1,000 workers on the port, and a number of different companies operating, there is dispersed social and geographic responsibility for managing these risks.In order to measure awareness, perceptions and behaviours related to biosecurity, the research project ‘Biosecurity Excellence in Port Communities’ lead by Penny Payne, Susanna Finlay-Smitts and Bruce Small from AgResearch was undertaken as part of the Better Border Biosecurity (B3) Programme.
Link to full article

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