Project Leader

Dr Mariana Campos, Murdoch University




Myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) is a serious pathogen which has a myriad of hosts among Australian native and industry plant species. This pathogen has not yet been detected in Western Australia (WA), despite there being suitable habitat for its establishment. The current strategy in WA regarding myrtle rust is to ‘keep an eye out’ for susceptible species and ban on importation of incoming Myrtaceae material. However, this strategy could be supplemented by: (1) a formal surveillance plan for WA; and (2) local testing preparedness.

Objectives and Impact

There are two objectives to this project:

1. Develop a surveillance plan specific to WA for A. psidii. We will conduct a desktop assessment of the recognized pathways (including human-mediated) against the predictive modelling and develop a surveillance plan for the state, in liaison with DPIRD and DBCA.

2. Equip a laboratory with the materials needed for local, rapid testing. We will order the primers, reagents, and a synthetic (non-biologically active) control to enable quick and testing in WA. We will liaise with DPIRD to who have a PCR protocol for myrtle rust, but which hasn’t been validated yet. The outputs are a validated test and peer-review publication on using synthetic control(s) for A. psidii strains. The impact of this project is increased preparedness and capacity for action for WA, which allows for rapid response with minimum damage were a detection to be made