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The pathogen that causes kauri dieback has been named!

Scion is the leading provider of forest-related knowledge in New Zealand
Formerly known as the Forest Research Institute, Scion has been a leader in research relating to forest health for over 50 years. The Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute continues to provide science that will protect all forests from damage caused by insect pests, pathogens and weeds. The information presented below arises from these research activities.

From Forest Health news 258, July 2015.

Kauri dieback is a disease that is killing kauri (Agathis australis) in New Zealand. The pathogen that causes it has been named by researchers at Landcare Research1 as Phytophthora agathadicida. The pathogen’s new name literally means ‘kauri killer’.

Oospores of Phytophthora agathadicida, the pathogen known as the kauri killer.

Phytophthora agathadicida (see link for pronunciation: replaces Phytophthora taxon Agathis (PTA), which the pathogen was previously referred to while it was in the process of being formally described.

Scion researchers continue to contribute to kauri dieback research. Of note is the work being done with P. agathadicida in the Healthy Trees, Healthy Future research programme (, and Echo Herewini’s research on developing screening assays for kauri dieback. Echo is a Bio-Protection Masters student who has spent the last year working at Scion on her research project; she is supervised by Assoc. Prof. Rosie Bradshaw, Dr Terry Stewart (Massey University), Dr Peter Scott, Dr Nari Williams (Scion) and Dr Phil Wilcox (University of Otago).

Beccy Ganley

1 Weir, B.S., Paderes, E.P., Anand, N., Uchida, J.Y. Pennycook, S.R., Bellgard, S.E. & Beever, R.E. 2015. A taxonomic revision of Phytophthora Clade 5 including two new species, Phytophthora agathidicida and P. cocois. Phytotaxa 205: 21–38.


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(Scion is the trading name of the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited.)


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