A suite of high-tech surveillance units known as Sentinels, have been developed by iMapPESTS to incorporate smart trapping devices for monitoring airborne spores and insects.

Myrtle Rust spores were detected for the first time recently in South Australia by a deployed iMapPEST sentinel, according to Dr Rohan Kimber from the South Australian Research and Development Institution (SARDI), who spoke at the Plant Biosecurity Research Symposium.

The Sentinels are equipped with power supply, climate sensors, telemetry and a control panel to remotely monitor and control the units. The units vary in size, power requirements, trap composition, cost and deployment method.

The Sentinels are now being tested in trials around Australia. Sentinel 4 commenced sampling at Treasury Wine Estate’s Wynns Coonawarra site on 4 March 2022.

The unit features two insect suction traps, sampling airborne insects at two metres and six metres, a spore suction trap, and an onboard weather station. Priority pathogens for grains, horticulture and viticulture are targeted for identification at this site.

A key focus of the surveillance trial in Coonawarra includes monitoring and quantification of fungal species associated with Eutypa and grapevine trunk disease.

SARDI has developed a range of detection assays that will provide insights into the dynamics of these species during grapevine management events, such as pruning or reworking.

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An iMapPESTS sentinel in Coonawarra.