Australasian Plant Pathology

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 86-95

First online:

Phosphite concentration: its effect on phytotoxicity symptoms and colonisation by Phytophthora cinnamomi in three understorey species of Eucalyptus marginata forest

  • R. A. PilbeamAffiliated withA School of Biology and Biotechnology, Murdoch University
  • , I. J. ColquhounAffiliated withAlcoa World Alumina Australia
  • , B. ShearerAffiliated withCALMScience, Department of Conservation and Land Management
  • , G. E. St J. HardyAffiliated withA School of Biology and Biotechnology, Murdoch University Email author 

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Pre-treatment of plants with foliar sprays of 0.2, 0.5 and 2% phosphite restricted colonisation by Phytophthora cinnamomi in inoculated stems of Adenanthos barbiger and Daviesia decurrens, and led to a reduction in the isolation of P. cinnamomi from these stems in comparison with unsprayed plants. In plants treated with 2% phosphite, P. cinnamomi was not isolated from D. decurrens but was isolated from 22% of the stems of A. barbiger. In Xanthorrhoea preissii, colonisation by, and isolation of, P. cinnamomi from inoculated roots was not significantly affected by pre-treatment of the foliage with 0.2, 0.5 and 2% phosphite. Very low concentrations of phosphite were detected in the roots of X. preissii (maximum mean of 2.2 μg/g dry weight), in comparison with the phosphite concentrations measured in the foliage of A. barbiger and D. decurrens plants treated with phosphite (maximum means of 80 and 871 μg/g dry weight, respectively). Treatment with 0.2% phosphite resulted in minimal phytotoxicity in each of the three species, whereas treatment with 2% phosphite led to the development of severe phytotoxicity symptoms. This study indicates that phosphite has potential for the management of P. cinnamomi in native plant communities.