The Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) has the mandate to import, quarantine, store and distribute grains germplasm to breeders and researchers. A major bottleneck is the availability of information which allows breeders to make informed choices of germplasm. The use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to obtain genomic information on imported seedlines and their associated microbiota and the application of bioinformatics to identify both pathogens and genetic traits, provides a streamlined new approach for breeders and quarantine scientists.
We have used NGS successfully as a diagnostic tool for viruses and have detected and correctly identified a range of viruses in plant samples in Post-entry Quarantine (PEQ), from the field and from 30 year old stored samples, highlighting the robustness of the technique.
A review of the tropical pulse germplasm held in the AGG has identified approximately 140 species in the collection, the most important being of the genera Arachis, Glycine, Phaseolus and Vigna. These genera are host to well in excess of 100 viruses, including many that are seedborne and of quarantine significance worldwide but currently no post-entry quarantine virus-screening of imported lines is required by DAWR. The information will be used to identify risks, develop new PEQ protocols for tropical legumes and facilitate the safe movement of pulse germplasm.
The large number of tropical pulse species in the collection indicates that NGS would be an appropriate diagnostic tool for efficiently detecting a potentially large range of microbiota in PEQ.