New DNA test detects oyster-killing infection
A new DNA test has been developed to detect low levels of the Bluff oyster-killer bonamia.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) and molecular diagnostic company dnature have developed a DNA test that is more sensitive, and can detect lower levels of infection, than using a microscope.
Bonamia, a microscopic disease of oysters, is not harmful to humans or animals, but kills large numbers of oysters.
It's a major recurrent problem in the fishery, says Niwa scientist Keith Michael.
"The great advantage of the new method is that it can detect small amounts of bonamia in an oyster," he said.
"This means we can detect the disease in a bed early before the infection becomes fatal and the oysters are lost to the fishery."