Queensland Plant Pathology Herbarium and Insect Collection

The Plant Pathology Herbarium and Insect Collection holds specimens of most of the known fungal pathogens of plants and insects, as well as insect pests that occur in Queensland. These collections support the reliable and accurate identification of plant diseases and insect pests in Queensland.

Supporting the Biosecurity Act 2014, the collections enhance Queensland's biosecurity through the early detection of new and emerging plant diseases and pests.

State scientific collection

The Plant Pathology Herbarium contains:

  • more than 110,000 specimens representing almost 2,000 fungal species
  • a Culture Collection of 22,000 fungal cultures and 1,000 bacterial cultures.

The Insect Collection has about 1.5 million pinned insect specimens and 52,000 slide-mounted specimens.

Case study – Karnal bunt

Image of specimens from Queensland Plant Pathology Herbarium and Insect Collection.Open larger image

Specimens from the Queensland Plant Pathology Herbarium and Insect Collection.

The correct identification of a pest is not only of importance to individual farms but has far-reaching economic consequences. In many cases, the early detection of a pest can save millions by allowing easy countermeasures that are also less destructive for the rest of the ecosystem.

In 2004, Pakistan authorities rejected the importation of two bulk carriers of wheat in the Port of Karachi. It was claimed that Karnal bunt (from the smut fungus Tilletia indica) had infected the wheat. Australian quarantine and wheat officials refuted the claims, based on evidence that the fungus was a different species that was present on grass in the wheat field. The finding potentially saved the Australian economy over a billion dollars in lost export markets.

Access to the collection

The Culture Collection is a potential source of natural products (chemicals, proteins, genes) that may have economic value in the search (bio-discovery) for novel compounds of benefit in pharmacology, biotechnology, industry and agriculture. For more information about accessing the living cultures of fungi and bacteria from the Culture Collection see the information sheet (PDF, 736.4KB) .

You can access the collection records of specimens held in the Plant Pathology Herbarium and Insect Collection through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Biological Collections portal.

If you are a researcher, you can access the collection by prior arrangement—contact the curator by phone.

You can read about the standards for managing the collections on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Biological Collections portal