Guava Root-Knot Nematode detected in the Top End


A highly pathogenic and aggressive round worm which affects the crop yield of several vegetables, fruit and agricultural fibres has been detected in the Top End.

Meloidogyne enterolobii, known as Guava Root-Knot Nematode, has been detected in four premises in Middle Point, Jingili, Palmerston and Malak.

The pest was found on sweet potato, cucumber, capsicum, butternut pumpkin, snake bean, zucchini and chilli plants. There are no known tracing links between the infected properties.

Guava Root-Knot Nematode was found after a sample of cucumber roots taken from a farm was analysed by plant biosecurity staff at laboratory on Berrimah Farm.

Following confirmation of the pest’s detection biosecurity staff from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade took samples for analysis from various locations in the Darwin area.

Investigations by biosecurity staff suggest Guava Root-Knot Nematode may have been present in the Darwin area for 12 months.

It has also been determined the pest will be difficult to eradicate and plant biosecurity staff have begun working with agriculture industry stakeholders to liaise with growers that have infected plants to prevent an infestation.

Staff will work to support growers and help to manage the pest.

The department is also assessing movement pathways to determine if Guava Root-Knot Nematode has spread from the NT to other jurisdictions.

Guava Root-Knot Nematode spreads through the transport of soil attached to machinery, tools, footwear, and plant products.

Quotes attributable to Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Anne Walters

“Following the detection of Meliodogyne enterolobii work can begin to assess how far the pest has spread in the Northern Territory and a plan can be formulated with industry on how to best progress with activities from here.

“If anyone recognises the symptoms of a plant affected by Meliodogyne enterolobii including stunted growth, wilting, yellow leaves and deformation they should contact the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade plant biosecurity team on or 08 8999 2118.”

Guava Root-Knot nematode

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