Wanted: aphid repellent lupins

Lupin varieties which resist aphid attack are the goal of GRDC-supported research at three Western Australian institutions. Success could save growers millions of dollars currently lost through crop damage by aphids and the diseases they carry.

Lupins with high alkaloid levels in their leaves resist pest attack but high alkaloid levels in the seed make the lupin too bitter for animals or humans to eat. "We want to develop lupin varieties which grow like tomato plants, where alkaloids are produced in their leaves but not transported to their fruits," said Dr David Harris from the WA Chemistry Centre. Research at the University of Western Australia showed that young green shoots contain high alkaloid levels, probably as a natural defence against insect pests. But as the plant grows older alkaloids accumulate in the seeds.

Contact: Dr David Harris 09 222 3038

Region National, North, South, West