The Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) is the NSW Department of Primary Industry’s (DPI) Centre of Excellence for Plant and Animal Health. It is NSW’s premier quarantine and biosecurity facility with critical infrastructure and world recognised research scientists.
Built to the latest PC3 standards EMAI delivers “Disease Intelligence for Disease Control” through its world class laboratories and plant & animal high containment facilities, international experts and National and international linkages. It provides local, state, national and global disease advice through NSWDPI, to the commonwealth, the OIE and FAO.
With such state, national and global potential EMAI is determined to become the laboratory of choice for research and diagnostics for high impact existing and emerging diseases of plants and animals.
The emerging ‘One Health’ Framework recognises the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.
EMAI comfortably sits within the One Health framework and provides an enabling capability to the activities of NSW farming and Agriculture and beyond into the national and international marketplace.
The facility is located at Menangle in South West Sydney and has work spaces available for likeminded entities considering colocation. Please contact our Institute Director.
Opened in 1990 at Camden, 60 km south of Sydney, EMAI's 1600 hectares is part of the original land granted to agricultural pioneers John and Elizabeth Macarthur in 1805. Today, it consists of:
The veterinary laboratories at EMAI are a critical ‘first line of defence’ in providing early detection of any emerging or exotic farm animal diseases. The ISO9001 accredited laboratories provide specialist research and diagnosis in the fields of animal pathology, virology, microbiology, immunology, and parasitology. The diagnostic laboratories provide NATA 17025 accredited diagnostic testing.
Plant Health Laboratories
These laboratories undertake plant pest and disease diagnosis and research for the early detection, reduction, on-going management or eradication of harmful plant pests and diseases (especially exotic plant pathogens, as part of a statewide network). Facilities include quarantine glasshouses, greenhouses and insectaries (one capable of producing millions of sterile fruit flies a week for fruit fly control). The diagnostic laboratories are NATA accredited and all have access to PC3 facilities.
A conference room at EMAI is equipped with comprehensive multimedia facilities and can accommodate up to 120 people. The old granary at Belgenny is available for social and educational functions for up to 200 people.
The Department of Education and Training uses the resources of Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute and Belgenny Farm for its schools education program with more than 6,000 students visiting the Centre each year.
Research and Diagnostic Laboratories
The EMAI Research and Diagnostic Laboratories are equipped to characterise pathogens, produce comprehensive reports, give expert advice on control strategies, undertake statutory testing in support of animal trade, maintain unique reference collections and sequence databases and supply diagnostic reagents and kits.
The Virology Laboratory is a front line facility for animal biosecurity – particularly during animal disease emergencies – and is routinely involved in a wide range of activities in three main areas:
Microbiology and Parasitology
The MaP group are specialists in the diagnosis and control of bacterial diseases and parasites of terrestrial and aquatic species. The group collaborates with other government institutes, universities, industry groups and field veterinarians to improve health, biosecurity and food safety within Australian animal production industries.
MaP applies state-of-the-art immunological, molecular, genomic and computational technologies to develop and implement new tests for disease diagnosis and surveillance. MaP researchers are also focussed on improving animal health through the development of diseases control measures, such as vaccines, prebiotic and probiotic treatments for production-limiting endemic pathogens.
Australian Centre for Genomic Epidemiological Microbiology (AUSGEM)
AUSGEM is a collaborative partnership between the NSW DPI and the i3 institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). AUSGEM applies a 'One Health', genomic epidemiological approach by combining the unique and complementary skills and resources of the founding partners.
Specifically it is harnessing the high throughput genomic, proteomic and bioinformatics skills available within the i3 institute, UTS and the the pathogen libraries, laboratory and epidemiological skills available at EMAI and DPI.
Projects are currently focusing on antibiotic resistance gene carriage among food animals and humans, and the development of alternatives to antibiotic treatment in food animals.
EMAI is also equipped with an electron microscope unit which provides a statewide service for NSW Department of Primary Industries. It is available for urgent and routine disease diagnosis in both animals and plants. The unit also provides a valuable collaborative tool for in-depth investigations.
The plant health group comprises specialist plant pathologists, entomologists and support staff. It provides research and diagnostics to enhance the productivity of NSW primary producers, through the design, development and implementation of new test technologies. These are used to detect and manage pests and diseases and provide surveillance against biosecurity threats.
Key activities include:
The EMAI Diagnostic Laboratories underpin the NSW strategy with an ‘enabling capability’ making available the best possible disease information as near to ‘real time’ as possible. It maintains capacity to provide rapid diagnosis, and emergency response and carry out specific tests in support of State and National disease surveillance. “Surveillance Providing Early Warning”
Virology research & diagnostics is a front line facility for animal biosecurity, particularly during animal disease emergencies, and is routinely involved in the diagnosis and surveillance of viral diseases of animals and aquatic species, health certification and research.
Bacteriology and Parasitology undertake research into bacterial, protozoal and external parasites of farm animals, bees and aquatic species.
Plant Protection includes the Plant Health Diagnostic Service that undertakes surveillance and response to endemic and exotic plant pests with the ability to differentiate them from closely related endemic organisms.
State Veterinary diagnostics plays a vital role in providing the best available diagnostic capabilities in production animal pathology and is part of the State response to emergency animal disease events and pest incursions.
Specialist veterinary and extension officers based at EMAI are integrated into state-wide, industry-related programs. Each provides reliable and independent farm management advice to producers in the Sydney basin and the Southern Highlands of NSW.
Senior Veterinary Officers
Two Senior Veterinary Officers are also based at EMAI. These officers oversee animal health and animal welfare issues in livestock, companion animals and wildlife with both State and Regional responsibilities including liaison with Local Land Services (LLS) for disease surveillance for notifiable diseases, emergency preparedness and response for exotic and emerging animal diseases, and regulatory programs underpinning animal health legislation.
The SVOs are also experienced veterinarians who provide technical expertise to the NSW pig, goat and cattle industries, to facilitate sustainable and competitive industries through the development and management of biosecurity systems, technology transfer and extension activities. Research and surveillance projects are also undertaken to enhance export potential and facilitate consumer confidence.
One way NSW Department of Primary Industries keeps consumers and clients informed about its business is through news publicity and other methods of information delivery:
The Department’s photography and imaging section is based at EMAI. It provides corporate, general and scientific photography to departmental officers, industry clients and media throughout the state.
EMAI houses the Department’s photographic archive collection of more than 40 000 negatives, slides and prints, including historic glass plates from the early 1900s.
A Media Officer coordinates news coverage about research and advisory services in the Sydney and south-east regions.
An Emergency Response Coordinator identifies opportunities to improve the Department’s planning, response and recovery during an emergency animal disease outbreak and to enhance awareness of such diseases and response arrangements amongst stakeholders and the community. The officer provides a key link between NSW DPI, supporting agencies and industry bodies, making a major contribution to development and review of statewide and national policies, plans and procedures.
Private Bag 4008
Phone: (02) 4640 6333,
International: +61 2 4640 6333
Fax: (02) 4640 6300