Fruit fly tech gets $1m aid

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Tom Zaun­mayr

A new weapon in the fight against fruit fly has gained a leg up with a $1.25 mil­lion boost from the CSIRO.

Founded by CSIRO re­searchers Nancy Schell­horn, Dar­ren Moore, and Laura Jones, RapidAIM pro­vides real-time fruit fly de­tec­tion and mon­i­tor­ing to help Aus­tralian pro­duc­ers bat­tle against the dev­as­tat­ing pest, which costs Aus­tralia more than $300 mil­lion every year.

Main Se­quence Ven­tures, which man­ages the CSIRO In­no­va­tion Fund, is mak­ing the $1.25 mil­lion in­vest­ment in the start-up, which suc­cess­fully tri­alled the tech­nol­ogy with fruit pro­duc­ers in Vic­to­ria last year.

RapidAIM chief ex­ec­u­tive Ms Schell­horn said ex­ist­ing fruit fly mon­i­tor­ing re­lied solely on man­ual trap check­ing.

“Grow­ers rely on weather radar and take ac­tion ac­cord­ingly, but un­til now they haven’t had any pest ‘radar’ to sup­port them against pests like fruit fly,” she said.

“(This) lim­its the scale and depth of avail­able in­for­ma­tion and costs valu­able re­sources.

“Our new tech­nol­ogy can re­duce the time spent check­ing traps by more than 35 per cent, and pro­vides an im­me­di­ate pic­ture of fruit fly pres­ence in spe­cific lo­ca­tions to en­able a rapid re­sponse for con­trol.” Fruit flies lay eggs in fruits and veg­eta­bles as they ripen.

The hatched mag­gots ruin the pro­duce from the in­side, creat­ing huge losses for pro­duc­ers and cost­ing mil­lions in clean-up ef­forts.

The RapidAIM sys­tem uses low-pow­ered smart sen­sors to de­tect in­sects like fruit fly from their char­ac­ter­is­tic move­ments.

The sen­sors, which can be placed by the thou­sands, send data to the cloud, giv­ing pro­duc­ers real-time data flow of the pest on their farms and re­gions through a linked mo­bile app.

CSIRO chief ex­ec­u­tive Larry Mar­shall said RapidAIM could make a huge dif­fer­ence to grow­ers around the world.

“Tak­ing tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped in­side of CSIRO, turned into a new Aussie start-up through our in­no­va­tion pro­gram and the CSIRO In­no­va­tion Fund, is a great ex­am­ple of ac­cel­er­at­ing science so­lu­tions to de­liver real-world so­lu­tions,” he said.

“As an ac­com­plished sci­en­tist, en­tre­pre­neur and now CEO, Nancy Schell­horn is an in­spi­ra­tion to our next gen­er­a­tion of women STEM lead­ers.”

Ms Schell­horn said the tech­nol­ogy could lead to more tar­geted use of in­sec­ti­cide and other crop­pro­tec­tion mea­sures.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.