SRA leaves no stone unturned in search for Yellow Canopy Syndrome answers

Date Posted

21 May, 2015

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Sugar Research Australia (SRA) is issuing a caution that the complex problem of Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS) has not yet been solved, and that specific investigations into causes and treatments of the YCS were not an automatic indication that these would yield answers for our industry.

SRA is looking at the mysterious problem of Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS) via three-year integrated research program three major research projects and a funding commitment of $4 million on behalf of growers and millers.

SRA CEO Neil Fisher said that an important part of this process was working with local growers, millers and extension staff to continually discuss ideas regarding causes and possible treatments, and then follow-up on these leads.

“But we want to remind people that there are no clear answers yet,” SRA CEO Neil Fisher.

“We know that our industry wants answers and solutions, but we also caution that because this is such an unknown problem it means that we are going to face some dry gullies in our investigations as we rule certain things out.”

He said that among the many leads that SRA was investigating was a fungus released into the environment to control weeds such as Paramatta grass.
“A fungus called Nigrospora has been hoped to control Paramatta grass and possibly giant rat’s tail grass in some regions,” Mr Fisher said.

“While the fungus presents some similar symptoms to YCS, we also know that some of the main symptoms are quite different as well, so we caution growers, millers, and advisors not to jump to conclusions.”

Mr Fisher said that researchers were busy re-analysing the entire SRA database of YCS plants to see whether there was evidence of Nigrospora, which would be indicated by the presence of four organic compounds.

“This analysis will show whether Nigropora is present in YCS affected plants and whether it is associated with YCS symptoms. The first results are expected in less than two weeks.

“This is an example of an important lead that we are investigating, but the early indications are that this fits into the ‘unlikely’ category based on what we know so far,” Mr Fisher said.

“SRA has also been investigating whether a nano-virus could be associated with YCS, but this also currently fits into the unlikely category.
“SRA is working to cover all the bases when it comes to YCS. We are continuing to update the industry on our YCS research through regular regional forums and newsletter and email correspondence with our members.”

Media contact: SRA Brad Pfeffer 0419 175 815

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