Centre for Phytophthora Science & Management (CPSM)


Phytophthora multivora; an emerging pathogen

Phytophthora multivora was the first Phytophthora species to be described from natural ecosystems in Australia where it had previously been misidentified as P. citricola. Phytophthora  multivora is widespread in south-west of Western Australia, with a wider geographical range than the introduced P. cinnamomi and it is also active in calcareous soils where P. cinnamomi is not. Some important keystone species, such as Banksia attenuata, which are tolerant to P. cinnamomi are susceptible to P. multivora. Additionally, three tree declines currently in action in the south-west of WA, those of Eucalyptus gomphocephala (tuart), Agonis flexuosa (WA peppermint) and Corymbia calophylla (marri) have been linked to P. multivora infestations. In the past 3 years, P. multivora has consistently been isolated from dead and dying woody plants in the urban and peri-urban environment.  These deaths had previously been attributed to P. cinnamomi in the absence of pathogen isolation to confirm identity.  It is thought that P. multivora may be outcompeting P. cinnamomi in this habitat, perhaps due to a shift in host range or increased pathogenicity. World-wide Phytophthora multivora is an emerging pathogen. Research into the pathogenicity, impact and origin of P. multivora is continuing at the CPSM.


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