19 Jun 2011

Pollen heat treatment against PSA infection trialled

10:00 am on 19 June 2011

There's been a potential breakthrough in treating kiwifruit pollen to kill the bacterial disease PSA without reducing the pollen's effectiveness.

Many growers spray pollen onto their vines to increase the quality and size of the fruit.

Following the outbreak of the vine-killing disease PSA near Te Puke last November, growers became concerned about whether pollen could spread the disease.

Te Puke company Kiwi Pollen did some initial research on heat treatments before collaborating with Plant and Food.

Plant and Food business development manager Stuart Kay says further work in the laboratory has proved that if pollen infected with PSA is exposed to certain temperatures, the bacteria are killed but the pollen remains viable.

Mr Kay says there's no reason why the heat treatment couldn't be used on imported pollen as well, if the ban which the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry imposed last year is lifted.