The Seed - Biosecurity Innovation Hub

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Welcome to The Seed, our biosecurity innovation hub where you can learn more about exciting developments in the biosecurity space.

This initiative was an outcome of the inaugural Biosecurity Innovation Exchange 2018.

Each issue will feature stories about exciting initiatives and profiles of people who are making great strides in innovation.

You can also plant your ideas in our ideas patch and subscribe so you don’t miss out on the latest news.

Welcome to The Seed, our biosecurity innovation hub where you can learn more about exciting developments in the biosecurity space.

This initiative was an outcome of the inaugural Biosecurity Innovation Exchange 2018.

Each issue will feature stories about exciting initiatives and profiles of people who are making great strides in innovation.

You can also plant your ideas in our ideas patch and subscribe so you don’t miss out on the latest news.

  • eDNA project crawls out of the water

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    16 days ago

    Image caption: EcoDNA scientist Allejandro with export premesis health manager Malee down in the waste water pit. The best place to get an eDNA sample from the whole facility.


    Last year on The Seed we reported on eDNA and portable DNA technology research.

    Early work took us to Kasetsart University in Bangkok. We hooked up with ornamental fish exporters. They helped us understand how to apply this new technology to biosecurity risk-management.

    We are now entering the second year of research. In this phase, we are expanding our partnerships beyond the aquatic environment. Moreover, into new priority pest and disease targets.

    This year, we focused on eDNA* tests using platforms like MinION and iSeq. Additionally, portable technology like Biomeme mobile qPCR thermolcyclers. These are easy to use by our own experts in the field to produce results in as little as 20 minutes.

    Geoff Grossel is a scientist at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. He says an example of how this could support border control is testing eDNA samples. Also, targeted DNA with mobile qPCR.

    ‘This would provide officers with a quick, cheap and accurate tool,' he says. 'The tool would detect high-risk pest hitchhikers and diseases. These pests could be entering the country with all types of imported products.

    There are a number of new priorities for the project, including:

    • developing a quick and accurate I.D. test for exotic invasive ants
    • monitoring for white nose disease in bats from soil samples
    • rummaging through imported bulk seed samples for signs of disease. These include tomato and cucurbit diseases.

    We are starting to realise the tremendous potential of these new DNA technologies. Like the cross-sectoral application to produce benefits for biosecurity risk management. This would impact pre-border to post-border biosecurity across all our divisions. Across state, territory and international governments and exporters. National and international research partnerships are also possible.

    We can also announce our new project partners:

    • Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer, Ian Thompson
    • Biosecurity Plant Division
    • Post Entry Quarantine at Mickleham in Melbourne
    • state and territory biosecurity departments
    • Western Sydney University.

    The University of Canberra EcoDNA lab is a partner we have already been working with. Also, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. The diversity of these partnerships makes the project more interesting and exciting.

    We will provide an update on implementation and application of this mobile technology. This includes both in the field and at the border.

    We are hoping to answer some questions like: Will it work? Will it be more efficient? Will it improve the service we offer our clients? Will it be better than what we are doing now?



    Image caption: EcoDNA scientist Allejandro with export premesis health manager Malee down in the waste water pit. The best place to get an eDNA sample from the whole facility.


    Last year on The Seed we reported on eDNA and portable DNA technology research.

    Early work took us to Kasetsart University in Bangkok. We hooked up with ornamental fish exporters. They helped us understand how to apply this new technology to biosecurity risk-management.

    We are now entering the second year of research. In this phase, we are expanding our partnerships beyond the aquatic environment. Moreover, into new priority pest and disease targets.

    This year, we focused on eDNA* tests using platforms like MinION and iSeq. Additionally, portable technology like Biomeme mobile qPCR thermolcyclers. These are easy to use by our own experts in the field to produce results in as little as 20 minutes.

    Geoff Grossel is a scientist at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. He says an example of how this could support border control is testing eDNA samples. Also, targeted DNA with mobile qPCR.

    ‘This would provide officers with a quick, cheap and accurate tool,' he says. 'The tool would detect high-risk pest hitchhikers and diseases. These pests could be entering the country with all types of imported products.

    There are a number of new priorities for the project, including:

    • developing a quick and accurate I.D. test for exotic invasive ants
    • monitoring for white nose disease in bats from soil samples
    • rummaging through imported bulk seed samples for signs of disease. These include tomato and cucurbit diseases.

    We are starting to realise the tremendous potential of these new DNA technologies. Like the cross-sectoral application to produce benefits for biosecurity risk management. This would impact pre-border to post-border biosecurity across all our divisions. Across state, territory and international governments and exporters. National and international research partnerships are also possible.

    We can also announce our new project partners:

    • Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer, Ian Thompson
    • Biosecurity Plant Division
    • Post Entry Quarantine at Mickleham in Melbourne
    • state and territory biosecurity departments
    • Western Sydney University.

    The University of Canberra EcoDNA lab is a partner we have already been working with. Also, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. The diversity of these partnerships makes the project more interesting and exciting.

    We will provide an update on implementation and application of this mobile technology. This includes both in the field and at the border.

    We are hoping to answer some questions like: Will it work? Will it be more efficient? Will it improve the service we offer our clients? Will it be better than what we are doing now?



    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • DNA testing in cows is reducing superbug risk

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    7 days ago

    The dairy industry is embracing new technology to help address antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It allows a more precise identification of mastitis in dairy cattle. Mastitis is a painful condition that reduces milk production and quality.

    The technology uses DNA technology to address the important and growing issue of AMR. AMR reduces the ability to treat serious bacterial infections in animals and humans. Though a natural defence mechanism, inappropriate antibiotic use can increase resistance. This makes infections more difficult to treat.

    The dairy industry is an important contributor to the Australian economy. In 2017–18, it accounted for around 7 per cent ($4.4 million) of the gross value of agricultural production (ABS 2019). It also accounted for around 7 per cent ($3.5 billion) of agricultural export income.

    Poor udder health costs Australian dairy farmers $150 million per year. The major cause is mastitis, which is usually treated with antibiotics.

    It can be challenging though, to know which antibiotic to use, and whether they will help at all. Preventative use of broad-spectrum antibiotics is common by veterinarians and dairy farmers. They also administer them while awaiting culture results from the laboratory.

    The Biosecurity Animal Division is collaborating with the CSIRO. Together they are producing a cow-side, point-of-care test. This is possible through funding from the Biosecurity Innovation Program.

    The test identifies common, causative bacteria for mastitis. It is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.

    The test process is for bacterial DNA to be extracted from fresh milk. Target bacteria is then identified in under 30 minutes, creating a ‘laboratory in a drop’.

    CSIRO is working with Queensland biotechnology company, XING, and the dairy industry. Together, they are developing this proof-of-concept project. This will ensure that the technology fits with workflows in Australian dairies.

    The dairy industry wants a reliable, quick and affordable test. This will help inform treatment decisions for mastitis.

    Dr Jenny Baid said the test will help treatment decisions to be better informed. Dr Baid is a Veterinary Officer in Animal Health Policy.

    ‘They desire a cost effective, fast and reliable test for on-farm use,' she said.

    'Real-time information could lead to more selective antibiotic use. This would reduce the likelihood of ‘superbugs’, which are difficult to treat.

    In 2020–21, further laboratory testing and in field trials will be undertaken.

    Suggest the link be hyperlinked over the words instead and this reference deleted. This is standard practice for online articles.

    Again, hyperlink the words with a link to the article in Dairy News Australia, October 2018 if possible. Otherwise, supply as a footnote.




    The dairy industry is embracing new technology to help address antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It allows a more precise identification of mastitis in dairy cattle. Mastitis is a painful condition that reduces milk production and quality.

    The technology uses DNA technology to address the important and growing issue of AMR. AMR reduces the ability to treat serious bacterial infections in animals and humans. Though a natural defence mechanism, inappropriate antibiotic use can increase resistance. This makes infections more difficult to treat.

    The dairy industry is an important contributor to the Australian economy. In 2017–18, it accounted for around 7 per cent ($4.4 million) of the gross value of agricultural production (ABS 2019). It also accounted for around 7 per cent ($3.5 billion) of agricultural export income.

    Poor udder health costs Australian dairy farmers $150 million per year. The major cause is mastitis, which is usually treated with antibiotics.

    It can be challenging though, to know which antibiotic to use, and whether they will help at all. Preventative use of broad-spectrum antibiotics is common by veterinarians and dairy farmers. They also administer them while awaiting culture results from the laboratory.

    The Biosecurity Animal Division is collaborating with the CSIRO. Together they are producing a cow-side, point-of-care test. This is possible through funding from the Biosecurity Innovation Program.

    The test identifies common, causative bacteria for mastitis. It is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.

    The test process is for bacterial DNA to be extracted from fresh milk. Target bacteria is then identified in under 30 minutes, creating a ‘laboratory in a drop’.

    CSIRO is working with Queensland biotechnology company, XING, and the dairy industry. Together, they are developing this proof-of-concept project. This will ensure that the technology fits with workflows in Australian dairies.

    The dairy industry wants a reliable, quick and affordable test. This will help inform treatment decisions for mastitis.

    Dr Jenny Baid said the test will help treatment decisions to be better informed. Dr Baid is a Veterinary Officer in Animal Health Policy.

    ‘They desire a cost effective, fast and reliable test for on-farm use,' she said.

    'Real-time information could lead to more selective antibiotic use. This would reduce the likelihood of ‘superbugs’, which are difficult to treat.

    In 2020–21, further laboratory testing and in field trials will be undertaken.

    Suggest the link be hyperlinked over the words instead and this reference deleted. This is standard practice for online articles.

    Again, hyperlink the words with a link to the article in Dairy News Australia, October 2018 if possible. Otherwise, supply as a footnote.




  • The power of new diagnostics to enable faster identification of biosecurity threats

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    2 days ago

    Having ready access to diagnostic capability is of critical importance to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, particularly when dealing with emerging pests and diseases of biosecurity concern. Historically we’ve relied on external providers to develop diagnostic tests. In many cases, this has delayed our ability to perform the required tests in response to new biosecurity threats.

    This project is building an in-house diagnostic capability to develop and validate new molecular technologies. Which means we will be more agile in our ability to prepare and respond to emerging threats.

    ‘We have successfully established a brand new, cutting-edge molecular diagnostic development laboratory within the PIC@PEQ team based at PEQ Mickleham. Using an important family of plant viruses called Begomoviruses as a test-case, we are now close to finalising significantly improved diagnostic tools to detect these viruses in plant hosts. This advancement benefits not just the department, but also colleagues in state government and international jurisdictions said Mark Whattam, Director of PIC@PEQ.

    PIQ@PEQ is continuing to enhance their diagnostic development capability which will further enhance the department’s ability to respond efficiently to new and emerging biosecurity threats.

    Funded by the Biosecurity Innovation Program.

    Having ready access to diagnostic capability is of critical importance to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, particularly when dealing with emerging pests and diseases of biosecurity concern. Historically we’ve relied on external providers to develop diagnostic tests. In many cases, this has delayed our ability to perform the required tests in response to new biosecurity threats.

    This project is building an in-house diagnostic capability to develop and validate new molecular technologies. Which means we will be more agile in our ability to prepare and respond to emerging threats.

    ‘We have successfully established a brand new, cutting-edge molecular diagnostic development laboratory within the PIC@PEQ team based at PEQ Mickleham. Using an important family of plant viruses called Begomoviruses as a test-case, we are now close to finalising significantly improved diagnostic tools to detect these viruses in plant hosts. This advancement benefits not just the department, but also colleagues in state government and international jurisdictions said Mark Whattam, Director of PIC@PEQ.

    PIQ@PEQ is continuing to enhance their diagnostic development capability which will further enhance the department’s ability to respond efficiently to new and emerging biosecurity threats.

    Funded by the Biosecurity Innovation Program.

  • Polly want a lab test ?

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    23 days ago

    Exciting things are happening in the world of animal biosecurity. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is close to releasing its draft risk assessment for the import of live psittacine birds. Most of us know these better as parrots and their various relatives like cockatoos and lovebirds.

    This will mean imports of these birds may shortly be permitted for the first time in decades.

    But a policy is only as good as its implementation and implementation was looking a bit tricky. Why? Because there are no commercially available tests in the world for some of the exotic viruses we need to protect against. Specifically, psittacine bornavirus and herpesvirus.

    ‘A lot of people want to import psittacines, but we can’t afford to risk the health of any of our native birds in the process’ said a departmental spokesperson.

    So, the department, through the Biosecurity Innovation Program, turned to the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) for help developing suitable tests that we can use to ensure imported psittacine birds aren’t carrying any hidden nasties.

    The ACDP is on track to have the new tests up and running shortly. This will be welcome news for Australia’s psittacine fanciers and for people who have had to leave a pet bird behind when immigrating to Australia.

    ‘Psittacine birds are often very long lived, intelligent and closely bonded with their owner. We are expecting several happy reunions in the not too distant future,’ said a departmental spokesperson.

    Exciting things are happening in the world of animal biosecurity. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is close to releasing its draft risk assessment for the import of live psittacine birds. Most of us know these better as parrots and their various relatives like cockatoos and lovebirds.

    This will mean imports of these birds may shortly be permitted for the first time in decades.

    But a policy is only as good as its implementation and implementation was looking a bit tricky. Why? Because there are no commercially available tests in the world for some of the exotic viruses we need to protect against. Specifically, psittacine bornavirus and herpesvirus.

    ‘A lot of people want to import psittacines, but we can’t afford to risk the health of any of our native birds in the process’ said a departmental spokesperson.

    So, the department, through the Biosecurity Innovation Program, turned to the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) for help developing suitable tests that we can use to ensure imported psittacine birds aren’t carrying any hidden nasties.

    The ACDP is on track to have the new tests up and running shortly. This will be welcome news for Australia’s psittacine fanciers and for people who have had to leave a pet bird behind when immigrating to Australia.

    ‘Psittacine birds are often very long lived, intelligent and closely bonded with their owner. We are expecting several happy reunions in the not too distant future,’ said a departmental spokesperson.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • FMD preparedness training goes virtual

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    about 1 month ago


    Image: Early screenshot of clinical examination in the pilot VR experience

    We’re turning to virtual reality to enhance foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) preparedness, by transforming live training courses into simulated learning experiences.

    Since 2012, the department has been working with the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD) to run training courses in FMD-endemic countries, such as Nepal. These face to face training courses give livestock workers, industry representatives and veterinarians first-hand experience diagnosing and investigating FMD outbreaks. They also play an important role in raising awareness of FMD when they return home. However, providing this training in person is resource intensive, and inaccessible to some.

    Virtual reality has been shown to be a successful, cost effective and practical method for training large numbers of people using task-based scenarios. So, in the search for an alternative, the department asked Novus Res, a virtual reality games studio in Adelaide, to conduct a pilot virtual reality experience and develop a research report on the efficacy of the training.

    The pilot experience includes activities such as clinical examination of cows, laboratory sampling, and setting up a biosecurity control point. The pilot will evaluate the effectiveness of the technology for biosecurity training, with a focus on FMD preparedness. The research report will provide insights into the possibilities of virtual reality as a training tool, and how it could potentially be rolled out.

    Project manager, Corrie Croton, said ‘the report and pilot outcomes will help show government and industry the current state, and the potential, of virtual reality training. It will provide a foundation for future virtual reality training projects. This is an emerging field with the potential to enhance future training programs.’

    The department expects to release the report in July 2020.


    Image: Early screenshot of clinical examination in the pilot VR experience

    We’re turning to virtual reality to enhance foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) preparedness, by transforming live training courses into simulated learning experiences.

    Since 2012, the department has been working with the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD) to run training courses in FMD-endemic countries, such as Nepal. These face to face training courses give livestock workers, industry representatives and veterinarians first-hand experience diagnosing and investigating FMD outbreaks. They also play an important role in raising awareness of FMD when they return home. However, providing this training in person is resource intensive, and inaccessible to some.

    Virtual reality has been shown to be a successful, cost effective and practical method for training large numbers of people using task-based scenarios. So, in the search for an alternative, the department asked Novus Res, a virtual reality games studio in Adelaide, to conduct a pilot virtual reality experience and develop a research report on the efficacy of the training.

    The pilot experience includes activities such as clinical examination of cows, laboratory sampling, and setting up a biosecurity control point. The pilot will evaluate the effectiveness of the technology for biosecurity training, with a focus on FMD preparedness. The research report will provide insights into the possibilities of virtual reality as a training tool, and how it could potentially be rolled out.

    Project manager, Corrie Croton, said ‘the report and pilot outcomes will help show government and industry the current state, and the potential, of virtual reality training. It will provide a foundation for future virtual reality training projects. This is an emerging field with the potential to enhance future training programs.’

    The department expects to release the report in July 2020.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Biosecurity Industry Innovation Challenge

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    about 2 months ago

    Image: Biosecurity Industry Innovation Challenge

    Australia’s biosecurity landscape is constantly changing — with increasing volumes of trade, supply chain complexity, climate change and the increasing international spread of pests and diseases. We need to do biosecurity differently. Simply increasing our current biosecurity controls will no longer maintain the same level of residual biosecurity risk.

    The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has partnered with the Canberra Innovation Network to hold the Biosecurity Industry Innovation Challenge on Tuesday 26 May 2020. The challenge is a fully virtual event held through Zoom, where the department is looking for ideas and solutions to 4 big biosecurity challenges.

    Innovators will be asked to submit project proposals for feasibility/proof of concept studies through The Seed. The department will choose up to 4 successful proposals to further develop their idea or solution. Successful proposals will receive up to $50,000 through the Biosecurity Innovation Program. They will also receive 12 weeks assistance through the Canberra Innovation Network’s Virtual Incubation Program to help them develop and proof their concepts and apply for further funding.

    Find out more about the 4 problem statements that make up the challenge on the challenge website. The topics include:

    • audits
    • treatment verification
    • exotic invasive ants
    • container traceability.

    If you have an innovative idea we want to hear from you. Sign up to attend the event via the Canberra Innovation Network.

    Image: Biosecurity Industry Innovation Challenge

    Australia’s biosecurity landscape is constantly changing — with increasing volumes of trade, supply chain complexity, climate change and the increasing international spread of pests and diseases. We need to do biosecurity differently. Simply increasing our current biosecurity controls will no longer maintain the same level of residual biosecurity risk.

    The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has partnered with the Canberra Innovation Network to hold the Biosecurity Industry Innovation Challenge on Tuesday 26 May 2020. The challenge is a fully virtual event held through Zoom, where the department is looking for ideas and solutions to 4 big biosecurity challenges.

    Innovators will be asked to submit project proposals for feasibility/proof of concept studies through The Seed. The department will choose up to 4 successful proposals to further develop their idea or solution. Successful proposals will receive up to $50,000 through the Biosecurity Innovation Program. They will also receive 12 weeks assistance through the Canberra Innovation Network’s Virtual Incubation Program to help them develop and proof their concepts and apply for further funding.

    Find out more about the 4 problem statements that make up the challenge on the challenge website. The topics include:

    • audits
    • treatment verification
    • exotic invasive ants
    • container traceability.

    If you have an innovative idea we want to hear from you. Sign up to attend the event via the Canberra Innovation Network.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Improving biosecurity through enhanced traceability of Australian agricultural products

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    7 months ago

    Image: PwC’s Food Trust Platform


    In a rapidly changing international trade and biosecurity environment, better traceability systems are a necessity. Being able to reliably trace products, across the whole supply chain, provides customer assurance about the quality and origin of the product. It also provides valuable information about how it gets from farm to fork.

    Funded by the Biosecurity Innovation Program, the Biosecurity Plant division is working on a project to improve the traceability of plant products. A collaborative project with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to investigate the feasibility of their new Food Trust platform.

    ...

    Image: PwC’s Food Trust Platform


    In a rapidly changing international trade and biosecurity environment, better traceability systems are a necessity. Being able to reliably trace products, across the whole supply chain, provides customer assurance about the quality and origin of the product. It also provides valuable information about how it gets from farm to fork.

    Funded by the Biosecurity Innovation Program, the Biosecurity Plant division is working on a project to improve the traceability of plant products. A collaborative project with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to investigate the feasibility of their new Food Trust platform.

    Food Trust is a partnership between several companies—PwC, Google Cloud and Trutags Technologies. It combines different technology to improve traceability of agricultural products.

    Based on technology currently used in the United States’ pharmaceutical industry, it uses a tag to connect the physical world to the digital world. These inexpensive tags, developed by Trutags technologies, are microscopic barcodes. They are made of silicon dioxide and are applied directly to a product or its packaging.

    Each tag is manufactured with an optically-encoded, custom signature that can be scanned like a barcode by a specific device or mobile phone. Paired with Google Cloud software, this technology allows for real time product tracking up and down the supply chain.

    Data, such as product origin, biosecurity certification, organic certification (and other on-farm practices) and other relevant information, can be securely attached to products.

    PwC engaged with the Australian cherry industry to develop a pilot of the new technology with plant products. It is a great test case—as a low volume, high cost export that is subject to counterfeit trade. Australia only exports cherries for 9 weeks of the year—but ‘Australian’ cherries are available in foreign markets for over 9 months of the year.

    Tasmanian cherry exporters were happy to contribute to the development of the pilot. They are excited about the potential for this new technology in combatting counterfeit product and improving traceability. Biosecurity Plant division is looking to secure more funding to run the pilots in 2020–21.



    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • 2019 innovation exchange continues Trans-Tasman collaboration

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    8 months ago

    Image: Exchange participants trialling the augmented reality game showcased by Air New Zealand in partnership with Magic Leap.

    Article written by Biosecurity Innovation team, Biosecurity Implementation branch

    Australia and New Zealand are world leaders in biosecurity. We share similar biosecurity challenges, objectives and an appetite for innovation.

    The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries hosted the second Biosecurity Innovation Exchange in Auckland on 4 November. Bringing together government agencies, research organisations, universities and industry from Australia and New Zealand.

    More than 90 participants took part in collaborative discussions, focused on...

    Image: Exchange participants trialling the augmented reality game showcased by Air New Zealand in partnership with Magic Leap.

    Article written by Biosecurity Innovation team, Biosecurity Implementation branch

    Australia and New Zealand are world leaders in biosecurity. We share similar biosecurity challenges, objectives and an appetite for innovation.

    The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries hosted the second Biosecurity Innovation Exchange in Auckland on 4 November. Bringing together government agencies, research organisations, universities and industry from Australia and New Zealand.

    More than 90 participants took part in collaborative discussions, focused on innovative ways to address biosecurity challenges into the future.

    Nine representatives from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture attended the event. Including the head of biosecurity Lyn O’Connell and head of biosecurity implementation Cathryn Geiger.

    The department updated attendees on the progress of key initiatives from the first exchange, held March 2018 in Canberra, Australia.

    Key themes from this year’s exchange included innovative and cost-effective solutions to manage hitchhiker pests, tracking production animals without human intervention, priority areas of research and innovation for future biosecurity activities and remote sensing and artificial intelligence for surveillance, detection, monitoring and eradication.

    The New Zealand Biosecurity Awards were held at the end of the exchange to acknowledge people across the country contributing to biosecurity—including members of the public.

    The New Zealand community work closely together to overcome biosecurity challenges. Evident by the winner of the New Zealand Biosecurity Supreme Award, Te Arawa Lakes Trust, from Rotorua, taking out the top honour with the trust's initiative dubbed 'Catfish Killas'.

    Highlights included a field trip for attendees, treating them to a tour of Auckland’s innovation hubs. Such as the Air New Zealand Innovation Hub, SPARK 5G Lab, New Zealand Product Accelerator at Auckland University and the Joint Border Analytic Centre.

    The exchange continues to be a success for growing collaboration on biosecurity. We look forward to exploring more opportunities as part of this valuable initiative.

    Outcomes from the exchange inform our innovation focus and activities. So, if you are keen to see the direction the 2019 exchange is pointing to, stay tuned to The Seed for updates.

    Also, nominations for the department’s 2020 Australian Biosecurity Awards are now open. Complete the nomination form by Friday 6 December 2019.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • eDNA Innovations for Biosecurity Identification

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    8 months ago


    Image caption (left): The Franklin™ Real-Time PCR Thermocycler from Biomeme being tested in the facilities of an international aquarium fish supplier in Thailand.

    Image caption (right): The owner and manager of the aquarium fish facility were actively involved in preparing samples for testing, which was an essential component of collaborating and communicating science with an active importer to Australia.

    Article written by Biosecurity Analytics and Intelligence Services team, Biosecurity Integrated Information System Program

    Dr McCoy from Star Trek used a fictional futuristic device called a tricorder to examine patients in an instant. Imagine if we...


    Image caption (left): The Franklin™ Real-Time PCR Thermocycler from Biomeme being tested in the facilities of an international aquarium fish supplier in Thailand.

    Image caption (right): The owner and manager of the aquarium fish facility were actively involved in preparing samples for testing, which was an essential component of collaborating and communicating science with an active importer to Australia.

    Article written by Biosecurity Analytics and Intelligence Services team, Biosecurity Integrated Information System Program

    Dr McCoy from Star Trek used a fictional futuristic device called a tricorder to examine patients in an instant. Imagine if we could build something like the tricorder to test for pests and diseases in plants and animals coming into Australia?

    Sound farfetched? It’s not as far away as you might think. Recent advances in molecular screening methods have revolutionised the way biological surveys are undertaken by providing users a cheap, fast and highly reliable method that increases certainty and accuracy of detection.

    The Department of Agriculture, through the Biosecurity Innovation Program, has teamed up with Professor Dianne Gleeson’s University of Canberra EcoDNA team to research the latest environmental DNA (eDNA) technology, and to understand how we can most effectively and efficiently apply it to biosecurity risk management.

    The project tests the use of eDNA (commonly shed by organisms into their environment in the form of skin, urine, hair, and other secretions) and suitable technology to detect priority pests, parasites and diseases of importance to Australian biosecurity.

    For example, a small water sample can be taken from a bag of imported ornamental fish on-arrival and added to a portable eDNA device no bigger than a mobile phone. The device will then identify both pest fish and diseases and give you a result in as little as 20 minutes.

    We are currently testing suitable technology that could be used by Australian biosecurity in pre-border, border and post-border scenarios. This will determine the possibility of including eDNA screening methods in our future biosecurity repertoire.

    Testing eDNA at border control for example, may in the future provide officers with a quick, accurate and simple triage tool to detect high risk pest hitchhikers that could be entering the country with imported products.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • At the forefront of Innovation Month 2019

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    10 months ago

    Video: Innovation Sandpit 2019 summary

    Article written by Biosecurity Innovation team, Biosecurity Implementation branch

    The Department of Agriculture was a major player in Innovation Month 2019, an annual APS-wide initiative held each July since 2011.

    This year’s theme was Test. Fail. Learn. Deliver. And deliver it did, with the initiative showcasing and celebrating thinking differently, being creative and trying new approaches in government.

    To celebrate this initiative, the department held a five-part event series, consisting of thought-provoking, hands-on events that explored the theme of Test. Fail. Learn. Deliver.

    The launch event was an exciting seminar featuring keynote speaker...


    Video: Innovation Sandpit 2019 summary

    Article written by Biosecurity Innovation team, Biosecurity Implementation branch

    The Department of Agriculture was a major player in Innovation Month 2019, an annual APS-wide initiative held each July since 2011.

    This year’s theme was Test. Fail. Learn. Deliver. And deliver it did, with the initiative showcasing and celebrating thinking differently, being creative and trying new approaches in government.

    To celebrate this initiative, the department held a five-part event series, consisting of thought-provoking, hands-on events that explored the theme of Test. Fail. Learn. Deliver.

    The launch event was an exciting seminar featuring keynote speaker Marita Cheng AM. Marita shared her experiences in founding and operating her robotics company, aubot (formerly 2Mar), and inventing the Aipoly app. These achievements amongst others have earned her a spot as one of Forbes World’s Top 50 Women in Tech.

    This was followed by two days of interactive learning in the Biosecurity Knowledge Rooms, where we showcased videos from the new Workforce Knowledge Sharing peer-to-peer learning project. This gave staff the opportunity to learn about a wide range of biosecurity inspection processes.

    Next in the event series was an impromptu seminar with Tommy Cheesman, co-founder and CEO of Future Superfoods. Tommy shared his story of experimentation with alternative food sources and how he landed on crickets as a new protein source. Tommy even brought in samples of cricket-based foods for morning tea.

    The department’s flagship event for Innovation Month 2019 was the Innovation Sandpit. The event showcased the exciting and innovative work happening across both the public and private sectors.

    Matt Koval, First Assistant Secretary, Biosecurity Policy and Implementation, and the department’s Research and Innovation Champion, said it’s exciting to see the department and the wider APS celebrating innovations in the public sector.

    ‘Getting hands-on with departmental innovations, as well as innovations from the private and research sectors, can inspire us all to innovate the way we do business,’ Mr. Koval said.

    Through the sandpit, the department brought together innovators from government agencies, the research sector and industry for an interactive showcase.

    Some of the latest developments that featured included our innovations in detector dog training and new 3D X-ray technology, as well as demonstrations from Bondi Labs, the Bureau of Meteorology, Canberra Innovation Network, Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-technology, CSIRO, FluroSat, North Australian Quarantine Strategy, Silverpond and Wildlife Drones.

    The department closed out Innovation Month 2019 with ‘My Fantastic Failure’, a departmental executive panel where four senior executives shared their experiences of failure and how learning from these failures led to future success.

    ‘Innovation Month might be the annual month-long APS celebration of innovative work, but there are always opportunities to innovate across the department. Let’s keep innovating!’ Mr Koval concluded.

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    comment
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel