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Bill Dunstan

 Centre for Phytophthora Science & Management – Murdoch University

 Presentation Title: Phosphite tolerance in isolates of Phytophthora cinnamomi recovered from avocado orchards.


Meet the Presenter:

Bill has been engaged principally in phytophthora research with CPSM at Murdoch University since late 2002.  Research undertaken has been directed mainly at controlling P. cinnamomi in natural ecosystems. 

The highlights of his work have been experimental work on eradication of spot infestations of P. cinnamomi, which was undertaken in WA (Cape Riche) and in Tasmania.  In collaboration with CALM, the experimental work was followed up with operations on an infestation on the Telegraph Track (Cape Arid NP), which appears to have been successful.  CPSM has several other containment/eradication operations in progress. 

Bill’s current work is with avocados, but some of what he does also has relevance to saving the crown jewels of the natural estate.  Bill has strayed from the dark side and has occasionally dabbled with the True Fungi, mainly mycorrhizal and plant pathogens. 

Descended mainly from long lines of rather dour Presbyterians and Welsyans, unsurprisingly Bill’s unofficial(?) nickname is ‘Grumpy’.  Or is grumpiness due to having to work with Pc and its effects? Bill has tried to correct this grumpiness, but no amount of Boags Light or Cascade Premium Light, or Carlton Zero seems to work… 

coast and banksia


Disease caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi (PRR, phytophthora root rot) is a constant threat to productivity in avocado orchards and phosphite has been used successfully as the principle chemical control agent for more than thirty years.  Satisfactory control of PRR typically requires three to eight applications of phosphite (by foliar spray and/or trunk injection) every year.

Decades of phosphite application at high rates provide conditions we would expect to be strongly selective for the development of tolerance or resistance to phosphite in populations of P. cinnamomi in avocado orchards. Phosphite tolerant or resistant isolates may threaten our ability to control disease in orchards, but also in natural ecosystems if they became more widely dispersed.

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This event was supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Newmont Boddington Gold, and Perth NRM

This project is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government's State NRM Program

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