Preliminary investigation of prickly acacia dieback

The project, Preliminary investigation of prickly acacia dieback, investigated naturally occurring Indian biocontrols to combat prickly acacia which currently infests large tracts of western Queensland grasslands.


Prickly acacia (Acacia nilotica) is a weed of national significance (WONS) that significantly impacts the grazing industry across northern Australia.

A dieback phenomenon has been reported to occur in some locations where this woody weed exists. 150 fungal isolates were collected from field sampling of dieback-affected prickly acacia plants. The majority (70%) of these were found to mainly belong to the genus, Botryosphaeria.

Insect damage was also associated with dieback symptoms in the field, while anecdotal information suggested that climate and location were contributing factors. Laboratory and glasshouse testing of these isolates found that the most promising agents belonged to the genus Botryosphaeria. These particular agents are able to both kill seedlings and induce dieback symptoms in juvenile trees.

These preliminary studies have provided a firm platform for ongoing studies that seek to develop prickly acacia dieback into a management tool for use in the grazing industry.

Project concluded: 1 December 2011

Contact: Dr Victor Galea

Collaborator: University of Queensland

More information

To learn more about this project, please read the final report summary and download the final report (B.NBP.0618) (PDF, 3.2 MB ) from the Meat & Livestock Australia website.