About the Plant Pathology Herbarium (BRIP)

The Plant Pathology Herbarium was established in about 1901. It’s unique collections of Queensland microfungi date back to the 1850s. In 1966 the herbarium was given the abbreviation BRIP. This abbreviation has official status in that it was first listed in Index Herbariorum, Sixth Edition in 1974. The abbreviation is not an acronym in that each letter represents a word, rather it is derived from the words Brisbane and pathology.

BRIP currently holds more than 50,000 specimens, representing virtually all of the known plant pathogenic microfungi in Queensland. The specimens comprise dried plant and fungal tissue, dried fungal cultures, microscope slides and other materials including notes, disease records, photographs and digital images.

The herbarium specimens are used as reference material in routine identification of plant diseases; for research into the classification of new fungal plant pathogens; and for the provision of plant disease lists and information in relation to market access and quarantine issues.

The herbarium specimen collection records have been incorporated into a database using KE Software Pty Ltd software. Many of the records of Queensland plant pathogenic fungi are available for searching. It is anticipated that all of the Queensland records will eventually become available on the Web.

Importance of the collection

Preserved specimens of plant pathogens are an essential resource that underpins the reliable and accurate identification of the causative organisms that cause disease in plants. The department maintains a reference collection of over 50,000 specimens, which represents virtually all of plant pathogens known to occur in Queensland. This collection has Australia’s largest collection of plant pathogens found in tropical and subtropical regions.

The collection is held at the Plant Pathology Herbarium where specimens are permanently stored along with information about their collection. The collection comprises two parts, a herbarium where dead, dried and pressed specimens are kept in packets; and a culture collection where living cultures are preserved in small ampoules. The collection includes specimens of plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria, viruses and viroids.

All of the collection details for each specimen are kept on a database, which means that information about specimens can be rapidly accessed without having to search through numerous physical specimens. The collection details include important information, such as the name of the host plant and the name of the pathogen, the location, the date of collection and who collected it. The data can be easily searched, retrieved, analysed and updated. The value of the database is demonstrated by the way that distribution maps of particular plant pathogens as well as lists of pests present in Queensland on particular hosts, can be rapidly generated. The database also holds images of disease symptoms and photomicrographs of many of the pathogens.

The Plant Pathology Herbarium and its staff are directly linked to maintaining Queensland’s prosperity by providing the information and diagnostic expertise to help solve many of the diagnostic, quarantine and biosecurity problems that face many primary producers. Australia’s international trade in agricultural products ultimately relies on the Plant Pathology Herbarium and similar collections in other States.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Plant Pathology Herbarium is acquire and disseminate knowledge of the diversity and systematics of fungi for the benefit of the Queensland and Australian community. The application of this knowledge and expertise supports sustainable primary industries based enterprises by providing solutions for market access, biotechnology, production research, extension services and natural resource management. Research emphasis is on plant pathogens of agricultural and environmental importance. On-line information about Queensland fungi is provided to world wide users through publication in electronic databases.

Other Services

In keeping with the Mission of the BRIP, herbarium staff may be able to assist with the following specialist services:
• Validation and update of plant disease records for trade and market access
• Provision of cultures of fungi for agricultural and biotechnology industries
• Rehabilitation and/or incorporation of collections of micro-organisms
• Innovative products for plant disease diagnosis and training in plant health
• Preparation of distribution maps, illustrations and descriptions of important fungi

Staff Profiles