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04 Dec 2017 - TTO goes Royal

Meghan Markle reveals the ONE go-to remedy in her medical cabinet she calls her 'cure-all' More »»

26 Aug 2017 - Botanical Adulterants Bulletin on Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia and M. linariifolia) Oil

The American Botanical Council (ABC) has released a Botanical Adulterants Bulletin on TTO. More »»

14 Feb 2017 - ISO 4730 Revision released

The Standard ISO 4730 which is used for 100% pure Australian TTO has been revised. More »»

08 Aug 2016 - RIRDC Rural Diversity Magazine Winter 2016

RIRDC has released its Winter 2016 "Rural Diversity" magazine which features the tea tree industry. More »»

Myrtle Rust – Austropuccinia psidii

Myrtle Rust is fungal rust that infects most Myrtaceae – Australia has many native plants from this family – but since it is a new disease (first identified in Apr 2010 in Gosford, NSW) very little was known about it, this is slowly changing as researchers find out more about the pest.
The CSIRO conducted host testing on 100 + species in 2011 finding 95%+ are susceptible. We know that Melaleuca alternifolia is susceptible from both CSIRO host testing and field observations. What we now know is that while the pesat is endemic in Australia the impact on production of 100% pure TTO is minimal and relatively easy to control using a suite of fungicides and integrated pest management strategies.
Melaleuca alternifolia at 4 wks after inoculation - Photo F(2).JPG

3rd generation (elite stock) Melaleuca alternifolia seedling infected with Myrtle Rust (Uredo rangelii)
Symptoms induced under experimental conditions only Images © Dr Louise Morin CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

Closely related to Guava Rust (Puccinia psidii) which is the same as Eucalyptus Rust, P. psidii  and A. psidii both affect many Myrtaceous genera including Eucalypts (Eucalyptus & Corymbia spp) Bottlebrush (Callistemon spp) and Paperbark (Melaleuca spp), as well as many native Australian under-storey and amenity (ornamental) species.
Many scientists believed these werethe same but there is now good evidence (https://biotaxa.org/Phytotaxa/article/view/phytotaxa.297.1.5)  that while both are the same family of Fungi, they are two distinct species. The biology and lifecycle of A. psidii is now better known and much research has been conducted on this species (see http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0188058).

Myrtle Rust (MR), which originated in South America, was first identified in April 2010 on the Central Coast of NSW:

Apr 2010     MR first identified and reported to the National Management Group (NMG)
May 2010    Plant Health Australia (PHA) make a submission to the NMG to attempt eradication despite the probable low chance for success
Jul 2010      The NMG supports the Interim Response Plan (IRP) to attempt eradication
Aug 2010    MR found outside the quarantine area in NSW
Nov 2010    MR found in bushland in NSW
Dec 2010    NMG determine eradication impossible in NSW
Dec 2010    MR confirmed in QLD
Jan 2011    MR confirmed in 15 sites in QLD including parkland at Noosaville
July 2011   MR declared endemic and a Transition to Managemet plan implemented

The latest information on MR is available from the Plant Health Australia and a dedicated MR page:

Working closely with I & I NSW, ATTIA Ltd has produced a Biosecurity Manual to assist members control the spread of the pathogen. Please apply to join ATTIA here if you want more information and to be kept up to date.

ATTIA and I & I NSW have also produced flyers for printing and display or distribution. These are available HERE.

While much is still not known about the disease  its lifecycle has nowbeen mapped and we know from observations that:

We also have evidence that the spores can last up to 3 months until conditions favour germination.
Ideal germination is in dark, moist or humid conditions at around 20 Celsius. Strong sunlight appears to inhibit growth.

More information is available from the links above.


Page last updated: 08 Feb 2018