Plant Biosecurity Laboratory

The Plant Biosecurity Laboratory identifies:

  • plant pathogens
  • entomology (insects).

We prioritise samples of potential biosecurity concern, however we may also test agricultural and horticultural samples.

This service is provided by Biosecurity Queensland, part of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Step 1: Contact us

Contact us before sending your samples:

  • there may be specific requirements you need to follow
  • your samples may be collected by our Plant Biosecurity Officers.

Email with:

  • your name
  • your address (we use your town or suburb to assign a Plant Biosecurity Officer)
  • your phone number
  • details of the sample for testing (e.g. suspect citrus canker symptoms on fruit)
  • host plant affected (e.g. lemon)
  • degree of the problem (e.g. 20 plants infected)
  • photos that clearly show the symptoms or pest (if available)
  • any other important information (e.g. you are responding to a Biosecurity Queensland Pest Alert on Facebook).

Where possible, one of our Plant Biosecurity Officers will collect suspect exotic pests and diseases samples.

You may need to package and send the specimen if we are unable to visit (for example, the location is not within safe driving distance of our office).

Step 2: Collect and package samples

To give an accurate diagnosis, your sample needs to be properly prepared:

  • Plant specimens must include damaged or infected parts of the plants, that show a representative range of symptoms.
  • Separate all above-ground plant parts from roots, to avoid contamination of leaves.
  • Insect specimens must be dead—place the specimen in a solid container and then into a freezer (-20°C) overnight.

Package different samples separately and label each sample clearly with a waterproof marker. Use packaging that will not compress or damage your sample—especially if submitting fruit or delicate plant material.

First, pre-wrap plant samples in dry paper—especially for soft or rotted samples, and in summer.

Then, triple-package each sample:

  • Layer 1: put the sample into a press-seal plastic bag or screw-cap specimen container
  • Layer 2: put this inside another press-seal plastic bag or plastic container
  • Layer 3: put this inside a padded bag, tough bag, corrugated cardboard box or biobottle.

Ensure the package weighs less than 15kg and can be lifted by 1 person.

Step 3: Complete the submission form

Complete a sample submission form:

  • samples without a completed form may be delayed
  • make sure the form is legible and completed correctly
  • place the form in a separate plastic bag (to keep clean), inside the final layer of packaging.

Step 4: Send your samples

Send samples on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, if possible. Samples that sit in transport over weekends can become degraded.

Packages can be:

  • delivered by courier (preferred option)
  • dropped off in person
  • sent by express post (if under 2kg).

If delivery delays occur, the specimen may not be in a condition to allow identification.

Address your sample correctly and to the attention of:

  • 'Plant pathology' (for plant diseases)
  • 'Entomology' (for insects).

An incorrect address will significantly delay your sample.

Courier or drop-off address

Plant Biosecurity Laboratory
Ecosciences Precinct
B3 Loading Dock
Joe Baker Street

Postal address

Plant Biosecurity Laboratory
Ecosciences Precinct
GPO Box 267

Contact us