The Australian Government invested $1.5 million from July 2011 to June 2013 in a Myrtle Rust Transition to Management Program, managed by PHA. The program comprises a range of research projects and communication campaigns to provide information and tools to mitigate the impacts of Myrtle rust in natural, urban, and primary production environments.
In the style of shared responsibility under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed, the new arrangements include additional contributions by a number of state governments and research organisations. Biosecurity Queensland is funding activities that will increase knowledge of the impact of Myrtle rust under local conditions, supported by community engagement activities. Research organisations, such as the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Plant Biosecurity CRC, together with the tea tree industry, are also funding complementary research to help manage the pest.
The key elements of the Myrtle rust management program are:
- a set of national communication activities to help stakeholders understand and adjust to the presence of Myrtle rust, with a view to enabling long-term management strategies
- targeted surveillance in non-infected areas for early detection of new infections
- collection of samples of related species from fungal collections around the world to determine the phylogenetic relationship between Myrtle rust and other members of the Guava rust complex
- full genome sequencing to allow the development of a new molecular based diagnostic protocol for Myrtle rust and other members of the Guava rust complex
- screening of key environmental and commercial host species for susceptibility to Myrtle rust, with the aim of identifying resistant species
- research to determine the impact of Myrtle rust in native and commercial environments
- better understanding of the genetic basis for host plant resistance
- the development of data for registration of chemicals for the control of Myrtle rust
- investigation of the feasibility of establishing a national resistance screening facility to develop breeding programs for beneficial species.
PHA is working with our partners to coordinate these activities.
More information about the program.