November 2017

Tropical soda apple was approved as a biological control target by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture IPAC (Invasive Plants & Animal Committee), now called the EIC (Environment and Invasives Committee). A collaboration with the University of Florida established to maintain a small colony of the insects for export to Australia.

January 2018

The first importation of Gratiana boliviana into our quarantine research facility at CSIRO in Dutton Park, Qld to establish a culture occurred.

Michelle Rafter and Kerri Moore unpacking a shipment of Gratiana boliviana in the quarantine facility.

March 2018

Host test list developed with Solanaceae specialist Dr Laurence Haegi, Botanic Gardens SA. Solanaceae plant species were sourced, and host testing began in quarantine at CSIRO in Dutton Park, Qld.

Collecting tropical soda apple seed for propagation of plant material for use in quarantine host testing experiments.

April 2019

Collaborators at the University of Florida conducted open field specificity tests, involving native Australian Solanum species and varieties of eggplant (Solanum melongena) available in Australia. The first experimental trial was completed in November 2018 and the final trial commenced in April 2019.

Painted beetle on tropical soda apple in open field specificity tests conducted in Florida.

June 2019

Host specificity testing of imported Gratiana boliviana was completed. Twenty species from the family Solanaceae were included in adult non-choice tests (1-6 replicates each), and twenty species from the family Solanaceae were included in larval non-choice tests (1-6 replicates each).