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New screening service for growers to identify Scope or Buloke barley

Released on

Released on:
Monday, 17. March 2014 - 10:15

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia is working with AGWEST Plant Laboratories to offer a rapid and inexpensive screening service to distinguish between the barley varieties Scope and Buloke.

Sampling will be administered by the AGWEST facility in South Perth, with screening carried out by department staff at the State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre (SABC) at Murdoch University.

Department principal research officer Chengdao Li said the tests used an advanced DNA fingerprinting technique developed by department officers.

“Screening will be important as Barley Australia and the CBH Group have both advised that the malt grade Scope and Buloke will not be co-binned to ensure the market can be confident in terms of end use reliability and production performance,” Dr Li said.

Buloke, released in 2005, is well established and has developed an international reputation as malt-quality barley.

Scope, released in 2010, is approved by Barley Australia for malting and brewing.

The two barley varieties are very similar, except the variety Scope contains a gene resistant to the broad spectrum herbicide Intervix®.

“The screening tests will utilise molecular marker technology and will test for the presence or absence of the herbicide tolerance gene,” Dr Li said.

“Growers may wish to test seed prior to seeding in 2014 to ensure that Buloke and Scope are correctly identified if they plan to apply Intervix®.”

A second test will also be available and can determine the purity of the sample (percentage of Scope barley).

For more information, contact: Marcia Vistisen at AGWEST Plant Laboratories on 9368 3844 for details on sample submission and test costs (
Dr Chengdao Li on 9368 3843 for more information on any technical aspects of the tests (

Molecular test in the laboratory.
Photo caption: Department of Agriculture and Food research officers Sharon Westcott and Dr Gaofeng Zhou conducting molecular test in the laboratory.

Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Dionne Tindale, media liaison           +61 (0)8 9368 3937