Biological control potential of endemic Australian fungal pathogens of Nassella trichotoma (serrated tussock)

S.G. CasonatoA,B,D, A.C. LawrieA and D.A. McLarenB,C

A Biotechnology and Environmental Biology, School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora West Campus, PO Box 71, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia.

B Department of Primary Industries Frankston, PO Box 48, Frankston, Victoria 3199, Australia.

C CRC for Australian Weed Management.

D Current address: HortResearch, Private Bag 92 169, Mt. Albert, Auckland, New Zealand.


Nassella trichotoma is a serious weed in Australia. Three fungi, Arthrinium, Dinemasporium and Fusarium, were identified as infecting serrated tussock plants in the field and were subsequently assessed for their ability to provide biological control in an inundative trial. Host specificity and pathogenicity was tested on 5-6 month-old serrated tussock and 30 other grass species in a pot trial in a temperature-controlled glasshouse. The fungi were not host-specific, as 2-18 other grass species were infected nor did they kill serrated tussock plants. However, six plants of the four Austrostipa species died after inoculation with Fusarium oxysporum. Further research is needed to assess the potential of the fungi as biological control agents in inundative applications; this research has indicated that they have limited potential.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2006) 21 (4) 166-169.