Origin Fingerprint used in Nursery and Orchard audits

20 June 2019


In late 2018, the Australian Nurserymens Fruit Improvement Company (ANFIC) discovered a nursery and growers in Victoria and Tasmania were supplying and planting ANFIC managed cherry rootstocks protected by Plant Breeders Rights (PBR), without authorisation from ANFIC.

ANFIC CEO, Dr Gavin Porter stated that unauthorised plantings of some 20,000 PBR Krymsk® 5 (VSL-2 cv.) cherry rootstocks, managed exclusively in Australia by ANFIC, were discovered in multiple orchards in Victoria and Tasmania. Some of these Krymsk® 5 rootstocks had also been field grafted to PBR protected and ANFIC managed cherry varieties.

Press release: 20th June 2019.

In addition to PBR protection and ANFIC non-propagation agreements used for property access, origin fingerprinting technology proved an important part of this investigation into unauthorised propagation, supply and planting of the PBR protected rootstocks and varieties.

ANFIC has become the first Australian Intellectual Property & Commercialisation company to partner with technology company Oritain and use its origin fingerprinting technology as a tool to trace plant material back to its source.

With a commitment to transparency, Oritain use forensic science to unlock the natural code in fruit and plant material, scientifically verifying where it comes from. Oritain Australia Managing Director, Sandon Adams, says explains how:

“If you want to be sure where something comes from, you need to test the ‘thing’ itself. Luckily, nature embeds all things with a unique code based on where in the world it was grown; The code is created from the exact geochemistry of the product’s environment. Some environments are nutrient rich, some are poor, some are high in elements, some are low. These differences are what we measure, using the results to create our origin fingerprint,” he said.

“We’ve mapped the origin fingerprint of some fruit production areas in Australia, which we then use to verify where a product has originated.”

ANFIC negotiated a significant financial penalty settlement with the nursery and growers involved to compensate all supply chain partners, including the breeder’s unpaid royalty requirements.

ANFIC believes the settlement will protect the long-term interests of growers with legitimate plantings, while also sending a strong message to those nurseries and growers who may try to propagate Krymsk® 5 and other PBR protected rootstocks and varieties without authorisation.

Such unauthorised activities can negatively impact the development of new fruit varieties and rootstocks from the world’s fruit breeders, by which authorised growers rely on for maintaining any competitive advantage within the Australian fruit industry. 

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