Plant Pathology

The Plant Pathology section goes back to 1953 when it was part of the Commonwealth Department of Territories and W Stahl became the first resident plant pathologist in the Northern Territory (NT). In 1962, a plant pathology collection was started, which became the NT Plant Pathology Herbarium (DNAP). The section was relocated from Darwin city to Berrimah Farm PDF (7.9 MB), when the Berrimah Agricultural Laboratory building was inaugurated on 22 November 1974, about one month before Cyclone Tracy, which devastated Darwin.

In 1978, the NT was granted self-government and the Plant Pathology section was transferred from the Commonwealth Department of Interior to the then newly-formed NT Department of Industrial Development.

From 1977, when a serial record began, to the end of 2015, the laboratory has received about 28,000 samples for diagnosis.

The Plant Pathology section provides the following services:

  • diagnostics of plant diseases and information on plant disease management
  • research and development of disease management in agricultural crops
  • extension services for growers, including diagnoses, publications, and provision of information through seminars, visits, meetings and by phone or email
  • curation of the NT DNAP and its database, which is a component of the Australian Plant Pest Database
  • support to the department's Biosecurity division, including diagnoses, surveys, expert advice, scientific committees, risk assessments and more.

If you suspect an exotic plant pest or disease or if you spot anything unusual on your crops and plants, report it any of the following ways:

The Plant Pathology section provides a diagnostic service for identification of plant diseases and plant pathogens on plant and plant products samples collected in the NT for growers, nursery, householders and stakeholders. The service is funded through the NT Government.

When submitting samples, use the sample submission form for plant pathology diagnostics PDF (251.1 KB) and email pictures of the problem to

If you suspected plant damage is caused by insects, contact the Entomology section.

Samples from interstate

Commercial growers, nursery, householders and other clients from outside the NT should refer to their jurisdiction’s department of primary industries or equivalent for diagnostic services.

Plant Pathology may provide diagnostic service for commercial growers and nurseries from the Ord River region in Western Australia, upon request.

Before sending samples from interstate, contact Plant Pathology.

You may need an import permit from the quarantine unit. For information about entry or movement of plants in the NT, see the NT plant quarantine manual PDF (1.0 MB).

Samples from overseas are not accepted

If you intend to bring or send any plant material or plant product from overseas into Australia, you must get an import permit from the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

Any plant or plant-related material being introduced into Australia from an overseas country must comply with the Quarantine Act 1908 and any applicable Commonwealth legislation and conditions outlined in the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).

Herbarium code: DNAP

Date founded: 1962

Specialty: NT plant-parasitic and plant-associated microfungi.

Collection: about 4,000 specimens, the majority are dried plant material with microfungi, some with bacteria, virus, nematodes and phytoplasmas.

Registered in the Index Herbariorum.

Registered to exchange Australian native specimens (AU083).

Find contact information for the Plant Pathology section.

Last updated: 13 October 2021

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