Find out information on current partnerships and research activities with the melon growers.


Fusarium wilt is one of the most severe diseases in watermelon and is caused by a fungus called Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon). This strain is only pathogenic on watermelons and can be divided into four races (0, 1, 2 and 3). The disease is one of the major yield limiting factors in production, worldwide. Fon was first detected in the Northern Territory (NT) in May 2011. The disease affected three different varieties of watermelon seedlings and plants from six different locations.

The objectives of the projects are to:

  • identify the NT Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum race(s) and compare with other Fon races (Australian and international)
  • screen rootstocks and grafted watermelons for resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum [all races]
  • implement extension strategies to raise awareness of Fusarium wilt of watermelon, deliver outcomes to industry and propose management strategies.


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This is an extension program demonstrating aspects of melon production in the Northern Territory, including CGMMV, IPM and cover crops.


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A two year research project which will run until July  2021 and is funded by HortInnovation Australia (melon levy).

We have previously demonstrated that CGMMV present in honey  bee hives can remain viable for at least six months post-exposure. It is  unknown if honey bees are able to transmit the viable virus from inside their  hives into clean melon crops. The objective of this new project is to determine  the mechanism by which honey bees introduce CGMMV into clean melon plants and  develop management practices for the melon and apiary industries to combat  this.

The specific questions of the project are:

  • Is the transmission of CGMMV by honey bees from  plant to plant whilst foraging or are honey bees also able to transmit the  virus from their hive to plants?
  • Can CGMMV remain viable inside honey bee hives  beyond 6 months?
  • What role do alternative hosts (weeds) play as a  source for CGMMV inoculum in honey bee vectoring of the virus?
  • Do current honey (and pollen) extraction  practices remove viable virus and, if so, to what extent does this remove the  risk of virus transmission from a hive?
  • What management of honey bee hives is required  for both the cucurbit and apiary industries to be confident of clean honey bees  for pollination?

We plan to survey bee hives used in managed pollination of  cucurbits and conduct field trials on Berrimah Research Farm.

For more information visit the HortInnovation Australia website.

Contact: Mary Finlay-Doney

Last updated: 13 November 2018

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