Quantitative DNA tests for lucerne seed wasp and associated parasitoid wasps


This project will develop quantitative DNA tests for lucerne seed wasp (LSW) Bruchophagus roddi and two parasitoid wasps Idiomacromerus perplexus and Pteromalus sequester. The project will source DNA of the targets and near relatives from NSW DPI Orange Agricultural Institute, and supplement these with additional isolates from the field. Appropriate gene regions will be selected and sequenced, and data used to design assays. Prospective assays will be evaluated for specificity using available DNA collections. Assay sensitivity will be assessed using soil, truck delivery, offal, and traps samples spiked with known numbers of target species. Alpha Group will assist with sampling and development of the experimental program and Lucerne Australia will be engaged to disseminate the results of the project. Sampling strategies will be selected to compare DNA results from soil, truck delivery and offal samples with manual assessments for LSW and parasitoids. The experimental program will be finalised after the PRP and project are approved by AgriFutures, a review of the development of the tests is also recommended after 12 months and this may require Milestones for Years 2 and 3 to be revised. This includes deciding if all DNA stored from truck samples collected by SARDI since 2015, should be tested, potential value of parasitoids levels in offal and select sampling strategies to support a minimum two year survey of commercial lucerne paddocks to map the distribution of LSW and parasitoids between harvests.


Pasture Seeds

Research Organisation

The University of Adelaide

Objective Summary

1. To develop quantitative DNA tests for lucerne seed wasp Bruchophagus roddi and associated parasitoid wasps Idiomacromerus perplexus and Pteromalus sequester
2. To evaluate soil, truck delivery, offal sampling strategies to monitor the frequency and distribution of LSW and the parasitoids in the lucerne production areas.
3. To provide Lucerne Australia with information collected on LSW and associated parasitoid populations to assist in developing new management plans.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Project Completion Date

Friday, September 29, 2023

National Priority

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

National Priority

PSE-Production and processing efficiency and profitability