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Dissemination of Phytophthora cinnamomi by feral pigs

Li, A., Adams, P.J. and Williams, N. (2009) Dissemination of Phytophthora cinnamomi by feral pigs. In: Dieback Information Group Conference (DIG 09), 5 June, Perth, Western Australia.


Feral pigs have long been implicated as vectors in the spread of the plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi due to their rooting and wallowing activities which may predispose them to the transport of infected soil. However, the typically omnivorous diet of feral pigs may also lead to the passage of P. cinnamomi infected plant material through their digestive system. This study investigates tile potential for feral pigs to pass viable P. cinnamomi in their faeces following the ingestion of millet seeds, pine plugs and Banksia leptophilia roots inoculated with P. cinnamomi. Recovery rates of the millet seeds, pine plugs and B. leptophilia roots following ingestion were 33.2%, 94.6% and 10.4% respectively. The viability of P. cinnamomi inoculums post ingestion ranged from 28% to 98.6%. These results demonstrate that infected plant material can contain viable P. cinnamomi following passage through the pig digestive tract. An inverse relationship was observed between tile viability of infected material and passage length, suggesting that plant material provides protection for P. cinnamomi against the adverse environmental conditions of the pig gut. Larger inoculums i.e. pine plugs were also noted to taking longer periods to passage through. This study provides evidence that feral pigs have the ability to transport viable P. cinnamomi in more than one way.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
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