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Re-inventory of Australia’s plant pathogen reference collections: Australian Colletotrichum species revisited

Jacqueline Edwards: AgriBio

<div>In Australia, the effectiveness of biosecurity measures relies heavily on the accuracy of specimen-based databases of plant pathogens. Pathogen incidence data is essential for ‘evidence of absence’ that underpins market access and biosecurity for Australian produce, and plant pathogen reference collections and associated databases provide this evidence. With recent advances in fungal taxonomic research, identification of specimens based on the phenotype has been demonstrated to be inadequate and unreliable. This has enormous implications for quarantine and biosecurity, which rely on accurate diagnostic methods and accurate names. There is an urgent need for re-examination of herbarium specimens and living cultures using DNA-based methodologies. <em>Colletotrichum</em> is recognised as one of the most important genera of plant pathogenic fungi worldwide. In 2015, living cultures of 86 specimens were sourced from Australian plant pathogen reference collections plus published DNA sequence data from a further 106 Australian specimens were found. Based on unambiguous DNA sequence matches to data from ex-type specimens, 44 species of <em>Colletotrichum</em> were confirmed as being<em> </em>present in Australia.</div>

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