Free pulse virus testing

Posted in Agronomy alert on Mar 16, 2020

Free virus testing on 2019 pulse seed

DPIRD's Brenda Coutts and Ben Congdon have kindly volunteered to do the free testing for viruses on pulse grain. DPIRD normally charges $900 for a 2-virus test on a 400-seed sample, so having access to virus testing for free is a great initiative.

Seed-borne viruses can be very detrimental to the production of winter pulses. The most important seed-borne viruses are Pea seed-borne mosaic virus (PSbMV) in field peas, Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and PSbMV in lentils and CMV in lupins. Sowing certified virus-free seed is the best strategy to avoid high virus infection levels in these crops. Unfortunately the costs of seed tests can be prohibitive for a wide-scale adoption of virus seed testing by pulse growers.

Within the GRDC funded Australia-wide project on pulse and oilseed viruses, surveys in the major pulse growing regions are undertaken to quantify virus presence and virus-induced yield losses. In order to get a proper estimate of the importance of virus seed transmission in the different pulse growing regions, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Diagnostic Laboratory Services (DDLS) will do a limited number of seed tests without charge.

Growers who are interested to use this free-of-charge service to have their lentil, field pea or lupin seed from the 2019 harvest tested should first contact Dr Ben Congdon ( Please provide detailed information, including variety name, location and seed source of the 2019 sowing.

To submit samples, Download form and send it with your sample.

For more information about plant disease and virus testing, sample submission forms and sampling techniques, contact:

DDLS Specimen Reception +61 (0)8 9368 3351

Please note that the testing lab in Perth has a permit to receive seed from outside Western Australia. Submitted seed lots from outside WA will be destroyed after testing.

This testing is part of the virus survey work under the GRDC funded project New tools and germplasm for Australian pulse and oilseed breeding programs to respond to changing virus threats (DAN00202). There are no charges to the submitter. The DPIRD Project Cost Code box in the submission form can therefore be left blank.

So far, 20 seed-lots have been received for testing – mostly lupins and most from WA. Researchers are keen to receive more field pea, lentil and chickpea samples from Eastern States growers.

2018 season results

Last year DPIRD volunteered to do a virus testing of pulse seed lots free of charge as part of their collaborative, GRDC-funded, project on pulse and oilseed viruses.

A total of 39 seedlots were tested – 13 from WA, 2 from Vic, 3 from NSW and 21 from SA.

Chickpeas were tested for BYMV, CMV and PSbMV; faba bean and field pea for BYMV and PSbMV; lentils for BYMV, PSbMV and CMV.

  • None of the 7 chickpea and 8 faba bean seed lots were found to be infected.
  • Out of the 9 field pea seed lots, 3 were found infected with PSbMV (range 0.2 - 1%), no BYMV infection was found.
  • Out of the 15 lentil seed lots, 10 (7 out of 8 PBA Hurricane, 3 out of 6 PBA Jumbo2 seed lots), were infected with CMV (range 0.2 - 2.5%). No BYMV or PSbMV infection was found.

Pulse Australia blog home | Subscribe