Plant Pest and Disease Testing

We are experienced in a wide range of plant disease issues across arable, forage, seed, horticulture and turf industries. We are able to decide which test are required and include a full report including interpretation of the results and control advice if required.

  • Fungi
    • We are able to test plant tissue for a wide variety of fungal pathogens by isolation to agar media, identification by morphology/microscopy or by DNA sequence analysis when required.
  • Bacteria
    • We can test for many bacterial pathogens by isolation to agar media, biochemical tests and DNA sequence analysis when required.
  • Viruses
    • We can test for the following viruses using immunological tests
      • Beet Western Yellows/Turnip Yellows Virus (BWYV)
      • Potyvirus
      • 4 virus combination
        • Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)
        • Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV)
        • Impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV)
        • Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV)
    • Nematodes
      • We can provide a thorough analysis and interpretation of levels and identification of species present in plant samples.

Soil-Borne Pest and Disease Testing

We are able to test for many soil borne pathogens by testing symptomatic plant tissue. In addition we offer direct testing of soil samples for the following:

  •  Phytophthora
    • baiting test with identification by morphology or DNA sequencing if required.
  • Nematodes
    • We can provide a thorough analysis and interpretation of levels and identification of species present in soil samples


Water Testing

We provide water testing services to quantify microbes in water using dilution plating, membrane filtration or baiting depending on the needs of the client.

  • Irrigation water treatment effectiveness
    • Routine total counts/yeast and mould counts before and after irrigation water treatment to assess effectiveness and identify potential microbial issues before they become a problem.
  • Plant pathogen screening of water
    • Testing water for a variety of potential pathogens, providing quantification and identification.


Food mould

As experienced mycologists, we are able to identify a wide variety of fungi/moulds growing on food. We can narrow down the identity of the fungus using morphology then DNA sequencing for confirmation of species.

We only identify visible mould contamination and do not provide advice regarding food safety.

Food samples can be sent or alternatively sub-cultured fungi can be sent for identification.

House Mould

Damp and mouldy buildings pose an important risk to human health. Fungi producing spores and metabolites can cause increased risk of allergic responses, asthma symptoms and rarely other respiratory conditions.

Different moulds have different profiles and growth conditions. Some may be more allergenic whilst others can produce toxins. Some moulds produce large quantities of airborne spores whilst others grow under high moisture levels and can be indicators of excessive moisture in a home.

Plant Diagnostics can provide an identification of any visible mould growing in your home to give a better understanding of the health of your home environment.

Please contact us for information about sampling and sending your mould sample.


At Plant Diagnostics we are experienced plant pathology researchers


  • Research projects for private clients such as pot trials or lab based assays
  • Participation in wider industry and government funded plant disease related research projects including collaboration with other research providers

We can assist in the following areas:


  • Field consultancy visits to discuss and identify plant health issues
  • Disease surveys for industry groups
  • Participation in field days
  • Technical expert (Biological Testing) for International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ)
  • Preparation of scientific reports
  • Editing of scientific reports (Mark Braithwaite, Senior Editor for Australasian Plant Pathology)
  • Field trial support
    • Production of fungal or bacterial inoculum
    • Disease assessment of trials
    • Disease diagnosis and confirmation
    • Assessment of fungicide trial data pending registration application

Fungicide Efficacy Testing

In-vitro fungicide efficacy testing

Testing of fungicides against specific pathogens or strains of interest and/or to investigate changes in effectiveness over time.


We also provide a specific fungicide resistance testing service for specific pathogens on certain crops to investigate the level of resistance throughout an orchard/crop.

  • Botrytis cinerea (grey mould) on summerfruit, berryfruit and grapes as well as Monilinia fructicola (brown rot) on summerfruit
  • Possible testing of other crops by arrangement



DNA Sequencing

Often plant pathogens can be effectively identified using classical isolation and microscopy. However where required DNA sequence analysis is available for further confirmation of identity.

Pure cultures can be sent to us for sequencing. We will interpret the DNA sequence and match it against sequences in GenBank to provide you with an accurate identification.