Improving Australia’s biosecurity toolkit

September 14, 2022

Fast access to data and information is key to support the quick identification of, and rapid response to, the detection of exotic pests and diseases to ensure the appropriate response strategies are implemented.

To continually improve Australia’s biosecurity toolkit and to aid the effective and efficient detection of plant biosecurity risks, Plant Health Australia (PHA) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), Museums Victoria and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia (DPIRD, WA) recently relaunched the Pest and Disease Image Library (PaDIL). Funded by DAFF, the updated and modernised version of PaDIL was developed by PHA in consultation with Australian governments.

A scientific identification tool, PaDIL is an online database containing high-quality diagnostic images and information tools designed to assist agronomists, biosecurity officers, diagnosticians and researchers both in Australia and overseas.

The diagnostic tool, hosted by PHA, contains detailed records of invertebrates, bacteria, fungi, viruses and viroids, and phytoplasmas that threaten a range of agriculture sectors, animals and human health.

The refreshed system boasts improved search functionality, a diagnostic image comparison tool for specimen triaging and taxonomic identification, and increased representation of priority pest species.

“Enhancing system integration is key to strengthening the national plant health system and using new tools and technologies drives actions that protect our market access,” said Sarah Corcoran, CEO of PHA.

“PaDIL has been designed as a key diagnostic resource to increase both detection and diagnostic capability,” Ms Corcoran said.

Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer, Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, said the upgraded PaDIL will assist a range of stakeholders including scientists, biosecurity officers, policy officers, farmers and citizen scientists to diagnose plant pests and diseases.

“The system will support further scientific research and activities to protect against and reduce the impact of pests and diseases,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.

“Australia is lucky to be free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests, and our biosecurity system helps protect us from exotic plant pests.”

“This new generation PaDIL is an incredibly valuable tool, providing the most up to date resources to aid and accelerate diagnostics, which is essential for an efficient and effective biosecurity response, as well as research,” said Dr Sonya Broughton, DPIRD, WA Chief Plant Biosecurity Officer.

Visit the PADIL website for more information.

Find out more about plant pest and disease risks.