A herbarium is most commonly a collection of dried preserved plant specimens. Here at the NSW Plant Pathology & Mycology Herbarium we have preserved plants but they are all infected with some form of pathogen, like a fungus, bacteria or virus. The collection primarily holds plant diseases (a pathogen that is injurious to plant health, plant products or plant beneficial organisms). We also have non-pathogenic fungi (like mushrooms and lichen) and are the only recognised mycology (fungi) collection in NSW.
In addition to preserved dried specimens we also maintain living cultures of plant pathogens and other fungi and bacteria, such as beneficial or commercially important species and strains. We have over 6,000 cultures, some dating as far back as the 1970s.
We preserve these cultures in three different methods, at cool temperatures on a nutrient jelly called agar, at -80°C in special cryopreservation beads, or freeze dried. Researchers use our cultures for studies such as host-pathogen interactions and looking for certain biological traits that may have commercial applications.
Our cultures are available for purchase, and we also offer preservation services, please see our collection services page.
The Biosecurity Collections offer a number of services, including specimen vouchering and imaging, diagnostics, culture sales and specimen preservation.
For more information and pricing please visit our collection services page.
The Collections hold illustrations and artworks related to plant pests, diseases and mushrooms.
We are working on digitising these holdings to share online. They have value as both scientific tools and heritage items, but also simply as beautiful pieces of art and a testament the skill of their creators.
These scientific illustrations and other select works are available for purchase through Redbubble
A collection of coloured insect paintings completed by entomologist and scientific illustrator EH Zeck during his employment with NSW Department of Agriculture.
A collection of coloured illustrations of plant diseases and disorders painted by artist Margaret Senior. These were commissioned in the 1960s by the then Department of Agriculture for use in the "Ag Facts" Bulletin. We are working to digitise the bulletins also.
The Biosecurity Collections are managed but the Agricultural Scientific Collections Trust, under the Agricultural Scientific Collections Trust Act (1983), which safeguards the collection for future generations.