Harnessing fungi in the fight against giant rats tail grass
Unintentionally introduced in the early 1900s, five exotic weedy Sporobolus grasses, including giant rats tail grass, have invaded an estimated 450,000ha of grazing land in coastal and sub-coastal eastern Australia, reducing livestock carrying capacity by up to 80 per cent and costing the industry about $60 million annually.
Research undertaken by Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
What are we doing?
This project conducted a preliminary assessment of the effects of the two fungi, Nigrospora oryzae and Fusarium sp., on Giant Ratstail Grass, to see if they produce the same symptoms as in Giant Parramatta Grass reducing plant size and potentially survival. The project also assessed field-collected material of for the presence of either of these fungi. Giant Ratstail Grass decreased in total biomass over 8 months in a glasshouse trial when inoculated with the fungi, and the effects of the fungi were additive. Further work was recommended.