Risks and management of exotic and endemic Phylloxera



The project aims to validate and underpin existing and novel approaches to phylloxera management.


There are currently three key long-term phylloxera management options; detection, quarantine and rootstocks. All approaches need to consider the importance of phylloxera genetic diversity to ensure their effectiveness. The known distribution of phylloxera, based on a survey conducted in 2000, shows that the greatest genetic diversity of strains is in north-east Victoria where more than 80 strains predominate. There has been a significant change in phylloxera strain distribution over the last 15 years and it is unclear whether this is due to improved detection, climate variability or quarantine breakdown. The risk of phylloxera spread is minimised through the use of disinfestation protocols for different risk vectors. These protocols were first developed in 1997, when phylloxera genetic diversity was unknown and were based on previous overseas work and later supplemented by some very limited scientifically validated data in Australia using single strains.

Research approach

A desktop comprehensive risk analysis will describe biology, lifecycle, dispersal and establishment characteristics/requirements of phylloxera, likely causes of infestation and the key risk pathways and likelihood of spread of phylloxera.

The project will identify scientifically based control/risk mitigation recommendations to limit/prevent dispersal/spread and establishment, and identify (and where applicable test) any key gaps in our understanding of phylloxera in relation to scientifically based controls/risk mitigation options/treatments.

Throughout the project selected phylloxera strains will be maintained using well established in vitro and in planta techniques.

Industry benefit

Phylloxera ranks in the top 10 pest and diseases for the Australian viticulture industry (Scholefield, 2010). Results from this project will ensure recommendations within the National Phylloxera Management Protocol are scientifically validated and consider the six most important phylloxera strains which already exist in Australia. It aims to identify novel disinfestation procedures against endemic strains. In the event of possible incursions of exotic phylloxera strains, robust disinfestation protocols will be available to protect the industry. These improved protocols will reduce the potential inputs required by prevention of further phylloxera spread to areas currently deemed phylloxera free.