Prof Zakkie Pretorius
Research Fellow
Plant Sciences
BL 233
Plant Sciences
IB 62
051 4012466

Short CV

Zacharias A. Pretorius obtained the B.Sc. Agric (Plant Pathology and Entomology, 1977), B.Sc. Agric Honours (1979) and M.Sc. Agric (1982) degrees at the University of Stellenbosch. In 1987 he received a PhD from the University of Natal. In 1978 he started his career as a plant pathologist in the cereal rust program at the Small Grain Centre of the former Department of Agricultural Technical Services. He has spent sabbaticals at the Cereal Rust Laboratory and University of Minnesota (1982/83) and University of Sydney (1997). In 1989 he joined UFS as lecturer in Plant Pathology and currently teaches an undergraduate course in Plant Disease Control. Several masters and doctoral students have graduated under his supervision. He has served as President of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology and currently holds a B1 rating from the NRF.

Publications (Short List)

Recent publications




Agenbag GM, Pretorius ZA, Boyd LA, Bender CM, MacCormack R and Prins R. 2014. High-resolution mapping and new marker development for adult plant stripe rust resistance QTL in the wheat cultivar Kariega. Molecular Breeding 34:2005-2020. DOI 10.1007/s11032-014-0158-4.


Rouse, M., Nirmala, J., Jin, Y., Anderson, J.A., Chao, S., Fetch, T.G., Pretorius, Z.A. & Hiebert, C. Characterization of Sr9h, a wheat stem rust resistance allele effective to Ug99. Theor Appl Genet 127(8): 1681-1688.


Terefe, T., Visser, B., Herselman, L., Prins, R., Negussie, T., Kolmer, J.A. & Pretorius, Z.A. 2014. Diversity in Puccinia triticina detected on wheat from 2008 to 2010 and the impact of new races on South African wheat germplasm. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 139:95-105. DOI 10.1007/s10658-013-0368-3.


Terefe, T., Visser, B., Herselman, L., Selinga, T. & Pretorius, Z.A. 2014. First Report of Puccinia triticina (Leaf Rust) Race FBPT on Wheat in South Africa. Plant Disease 98:1001. doi 10.1094/PDIS-12-13-1195-PDN.



Castelyn, H.D., Appelgryn, J.J., Mafa, M.S., Pretorius, Z.A. & Visser, B. 2015. Volatiles emitted by leaf rust infected wheat induce a defence response in exposed uninfected seedlings. Australasian Plant Pathology 44:245-254.


Pretorius, Z.A., B. Visser, T. Terefe, L. Herselman, R. Prins, T. Soko, J. Siwale, B. Mutari, T.I. Selinga, D.P. Hodson. 2015. Races of Puccinia triticina detected on wheat in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi and regional germplasm responses. Australasian Plant Pathology 44:217-224.


Pretorius, Z.A., Bender, C.M. & Visser, B. 2015. The rusts of wild rye in South Africa. SA J Bot 96:94-98.


Pretorius, Z.A., R. Prins, P. K. Malaker, N.C.D. Barma, M.A. Hakim, D. Thapa, U. Bansal, G. L. Cisar, & R. F. Park. 2015. Assessing the vulnerability of wheat germplasm from Bangladesh and Nepal to African stem rust. Phytoparasitica 43:637-645.


Singh, R.P., David P. Hodson, Yue Jin, Evans S. Lagudah, Michael A. Ayliffe, Sridhar Bhavani, Matthew N. Rouse, Zacharias A. Pretorius, Les J. Szabo, Julio Huerta-Espino, Bhoja R. Basnet, Caixia Lan, Mogens S. Hovmøller. 2015. Emergence and Spread of New Races of Wheat Stem Rust Fungus: Continued Threat to Food Security and Prospects of Genetic Control. Phytopathology 105:872-884.



Babiker, E.M., T. C. Gordon, J. M. Bonman, S. Chao, M. N. Rouse, G. Brown-Guedira, S. Williamson & Z. A. Pretorius. 2016. Rapid identification of resistance loci effective against Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici race TTKSK in 33 spring wheat landraces. Plant Disease 100:331-336.


Babiker, E.M., T. C. Gordon, S. Chao, M. N. Rouse, Jayaveeramuthu Nirmala, R. Wanyera, M. Newcomb, G. Brown-Guedira, Z. A. Pretorius & J. M. Bonman. 2016. Genetic mapping of resistance to the Ug99 race group of Puccinia graminis f. sp tritici in a spring wheat landrace CItr 4311. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 129(11) 2161-2170. doi 10.1007/s00122-016-2764-5.


Bender, C.M., Prins, R, & Pretorius, Z.A. 2016. Development of a greenhouse screening method for adult plant resistance in wheat to stem rust. Plant Disease 100: 1627-1633.


Hongwei Li, Qi Zheng, Zacharias A. Pretorius, Bin Li, Dingzhong Tang, and Zhensheng Li. 2016. Establishment and characterization of new wheat-Thinopyrum ponticum addition and translocation lines with resistance to Ug99 races. Journal of Genetics and Genomics 43: 573-575. doi: 10.1016/j.jgg.2016.07.04.


Pretorius, Z.A., C.X. Lan, R. Prins, V. Knight, N.W. McLaren, R.P. Singh C.M. Bender, & F.J. Kloppers. 2016. Application of remote sensing to identify adult plant resistance loci to stripe rust in two bread wheat mapping populations. Precision Agriculture DOI: 10.1007/s11119-016-9461-x (accepted 16 July 2016).


Prins, R., S. Dreisigacker, Z. Pretorius, H. van Schalkwyk, E. Wessels, C. Smit, C. Bender, D. Singh, L. A. Boyd. 2016. Stem rust resistance in a geographically diverse collection of spring wheat lines collected from across Africa. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 973.


Rahmatov, M., Matthew Rouse, Staffan Andersson, Brian Steffenson Ruth Wanyera, Zacharias A. Pretorius, Andreas Houben, Nazari Kumarse, Sridhar Bhavani, and Eva Johansson. 2016. Sources of Stem Rust Resistance in Wheat-alien Introgression Lines. Plant Disease 100:1101-1109


Terefe, T., Visser, B. & Pretorius, Z.A. 2016. Phenotypic and genotypic variation in Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici detected on wheat and triticale in South Africa from 2009-2013. Crop Protection 86:9-16. DOI 10.1016/j.cropro.2016.04.006.


Visser, B., Liezel Herselman and Zacharias A. Pretorius. Microsatellite characterization of South African Puccinia striiformis races. SAJ Plant&Soil 33(3): 161-166.



Specialisation in rust diseases of field crops with an emphasis on cereal rusts. Expertise in pathogen variability, host plant resistance and pathogen-host interactions.

Area(s) of Interest

My main research interest is genetic resistance to rust diseases of field crops, particulary cereals. I was responsible for the first comprehensive characterisation of pathogenic variation in the wheat leaf rust fungus in South Africa and have extended this knowledge to wheat stem and stripe rust, barley leaf rust, oat leaf and stem rust, common rust of maize, sunflower rust and soybean rust. In addition, post-graduate students have worked on stem rot of peanut, lentil rust, rust and anthracnose of drybean, ear rot of maize and Fusarium head blight of wheat. I have been involved in the identification and genetic analyses of wheat germplasm with effective resistance (emphasis on durable resistance) to leaf, stem and stripe rust, and the establishment and refinement of evaluation and selection protocols. In collaboration with colleagues a research niche in the assessment and utilization of adult plant resistance to cereal rusts has been developed, with special emphasis on phenotyping and molecular markers.

Courses Presented





Elfrieda Lötter: Marketing Manager
T: +27 51 401 2531

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