Research projects in the Department of Plant Sciences

Plant Pathology:


Penicillium species associated with maize milling in South Africa (MSc Ryno Schoeman)
Dr Gert (GJ) Marais
Production of plant growth enhancers by Trichoderma species (MSc Chris Rothmann)
Dr Gert (GJ) Marais
Situational analysis of the pests and plant pathogenic risks associated with the pecan industry, with special reference to the Hartswater area (collaborative study with Dept. of Entomology at UFS, South African Pecan Producers Association, and NRF THRIP)
Dr Gert (GJ) Marais
A phylogenetic study on Epicoccum sorghinum in Acacia trees, sorghum, and millet in Northern Namibia (MSc Violet Simataa, CTHB-funded project)
Dr Gert (GJ) Marais
Production of pyrazines by Penicillium species indigenous to South Africa (in collaboration with Du Toit Schabort, Dept. of Microbial, Biochemical  and Food Biotechnology at UFS)
Dr Gert (GJ) Marais
Comparative study of Epicoccum sorghinum in Southern Africa (MSc Ariska van der Nest, UP, in collaboration with Prof Emma Steenkamp at UP)
Dr Gert (GJ) Marais
Mycotoxigenic fungi associated with grain silos in Zimbabwe (PhD Elliot Tembo, in collaboration with Plant Breeding at UFS)
Dr Gert (GJ) Marais
Analysis of the Fusarium graminearum species complex and mycotoxin translocation in roots, crowns, stems, and ears in South African commercial maize production systems (PhD Sonia-mari Greyling)
Prof Neal (NW) McLaren
Effect of legume rotation systems on soil nutrient status, rhizosphere biodiversity, biocontrol organisms, root rot, and sorghum yield in the Ukulima farm system (in collaboration with Michael Chung and Anette Alleman – both PhD studies)
Prof Neal (NW) McLaren
Evaluation of fungicides for the control of Exserohilum leaf blight, grain mould toxin production and associated potential growth regulating properties on sorghum (in collaboration with Dr Maryke Craven, ARC Grain Crops Institute, Potchefstroom)
Prof Neal (NW) McLaren
Modelling the colonisation of sorghum grain by the Fusarium graminearum species complex and concomitant mycotoxin production (MScAgric Lisa Coetzee)
Prof Neal (NW) McLaren
Relationship between sorghum plant and grain characteristics, colonisation by mycotoxigenic Fusarium spp. and mycotoxin levels (PhD Danelle van Rooyen)
Prof Neal (NW) McLaren
Soybean response to rust and Sclerotinia stem rot under different biotic and abiotic conditions (PhD Chrisna Steyn)
Prof Neal (NW) McLaren
Adult plant resistance in wheat to stem and stripe rust (in collaboration with CenGen)
Prof Zakkie (ZA) Pretorius
Evaluation of SA wheat cultivars for rust resistance
Prof Zakkie (ZA) Pretorius
Genetics of stem rust resistance in SA wheat and triticale (PhD Cornel Bender)
Prof Zakkie (ZA) Pretorius
Genomics of wheat rust interactions (PhD Hester van Schalkwyk, in collaboration with CenGen, NIAB, and TGAC)
Prof Zakkie (ZA) Pretorius
Leaf rust diversity in Southern Africa (in collaboration with ARC Small Grain Institute, CIMMYT, and other partners)
Prof Zakkie (ZA) Pretorius
Molecular and cellular responses in wheat infected with stem rust (PhD Howard Castelyn)
Prof Zakkie (ZA) Pretorius
Stem rust resistance in an African wheat collection (in collaboration with NIAB, CenGen, and CIMMYT)
Prof Zakkie (ZA) Pretorius
Stem rust resistance in Zimbabwean wheat germplasm (PhD Tegwe Soko)
Prof Zakkie (ZA) Pretorius
Biotic and abiotic interactions of above- and below-ground parts of an allelopathic plant, using Amaranthus cruentus as model
Prof Wijnand (WJ) Swart
The effect of herbicide formulations and soybean genotype on the relationship between beneficial organisms and root pathogens
Prof Wijnand (WJ) Swart
The influence of root physiology on rhizosphere interactions in sorghum cultivars: Implications for the incidence of root disease and yield
Prof Wijnand (WJ) Swart
Assessing vegetation and soil microbial ecology in renosterveld rangelands around Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape province(in collaboration with UWC)
Prof Wijnand (WJ) Swart
Biological control of fungal pathogens in the rhizosphere of carrot
Prof Wijnand (WJ) Swart



Plant Breeding:


Marker-assisted introgression of different wheat rust resistance genes and QTL (including resistance to Ug99) (MSc Magriet van der Linde, funded by Winter Cereal Trust)
Prof Liezel (L) Herselman
Marker-assisted introgression of different rust resistance genes as well as Fusarium head blight resistance into South African wheat cultivars (PhD Ansori Maré, funded by Winter Cereal Trust)
Prof Liezel (L) Herselman
Evaluation of rust and Fusarium head blight resistant lines for bread-making qualities using marker-assisted selection and biochemical tests (in collaboration with ARC Small Grains Institute, funded by THRIP)
Prof Liezel (L) Herselman
Development of a Fusarium head blight resistant backcross two derived recombinant inbred line (RIL) population
Prof Liezel (L) Herselman
Protein quality versus quantity in South African commercial bread wheat cultivars (PhD Robbie Lindeque, in collaboration with ARC Small Grains Institute, funded by Winter Cereal Trust)
Prof Maryke (MT) Labuschagne
Environmental influence on the expression of wheat protein fractions under South African dryland conditions (PhD Barend Wentzel in collaboration with ARC Small Grains Institute, funded by THRIP)
Prof Maryke (MT) Labuschagne
Relationship between Mixsmart parameters and bread wheat quality characteristics in South African dry land cultivars (PhD Chrissie Miles, in collaboration with ARC Small Grains Institute, partly funded by TRHIP).
Prof Maryke (MT) Labuschagne
Heritability and expression of mixing time in selected spring wheat cultivars (MSc Stefan Pelser, in collaboration with the Small Grains Institute and PANNAR, funded by THRIP)
Prof Maryke (MT) Labuschagne
The influence of abiotic stress conditions on storage protein expression in selected wheat cultivars (funded by Oppenheimer Trust)
Prof Maryke (MT) Labuschagne
Fusarium head blight resistance breeding in wheat (funded by NRF)
Dr Chrisna (C) Steyn

Dr Adre (A) Minnaar-Ontong
Breeding for resistance to Sclerotinia Stem Rot in soybean (funded by NRF)
Dr Chrisna (C) Steyn

Dr Adre (A) Minnaar-Ontong
Abiotic stress tolerance and nutritional value of CIMMYT provitamin A elite maize germplasm in Zimbabwe (PhD Pepukai Manjeru, in collaboration with Harvest Plus, CIMMYT)
Dr Angeline (A) van Biljon
Improved separation of polymeric and monomeric protein fractions using a high resolution column (MScAgric Keneoue Phakela, in collaboration with the Swedish University of Agriculture or SLU and the ARC Small Grains Institute, funded by SLU and THRIP)
Dr Angeline (A) van Biljon
Nutritional value and secondary metabolites in selected South African bread wheat cultivars (MSc Timmy Baloyi in collaboration with ARC Small Grains Institute, funded by NRF)
Dr Angeline (A) van Biljon
The relationship between glutenin subunits and baking quality characteristics in South African commercial bread wheat cultivars (MScAgric Jared Onsando, in collaboration with ARC Small Grain Institute, funded by Winter Cereal Trust and THRIP)
Dr Angeline (A) van Biljon
The genetic improvement of nutritional value in staple crops
Dr Angeline (A) van Biljon
Stability analysis of Edamame (Glycine max L.) introductions in South African production conditions (PhD Armand Smit, in collaboration with Michiel Smit and the Edamame Development Programme, project funded by the Durban City Council and KwaZulu-Natal Government)
Dr Rouxlene (R) van der Merwe
Selection for drought stress tolerance in soybean: the role of proline accumulation, root traits and its effect on yield and quality attributes (PhD Obed Mwenye, in collaboration with Pannar, project funded by the NRF)
Dr Rouxlene (R) van der Merwe
Botany:


Re-evaluation of the fossil pollen from Florisbad, which will assist us in reconstructing the climate and vegetation of the Quaternary in the central Free State

Dr Andri (AC) van Aardt
Looking at the use of leaf epidermis as possible palaeo-environmental indicators from the Pretoria Salt pan (Tswaing Crater).

Dr Andri (AC) van Aardt
Systematics of genera Garuleum, Curio, Senecio within the Asteraceae.
Dr Mariette (M) Jackson
Systematics of Crabbea (Acanthaceae)
Dr Mariette (M) Jackson
Taxonomic revision of the genus Cryptolepis
Dr Lize (L) Joubert
Systematics of the Periplocoideae
Dr Lize (L) Joubert
Systematics of two South African endemic genera: Steirodiscus and Garuleum (Asteraceae)
Dr Lize (L) Joubert
Elicitors in plant defence responses
Dr Lintle (L) Mohase
Characterisation of elicitors/effectors in aphid saliva
Dr Lintle (L) Mohase
Effect of commercial plant activators on crop protection (pest/drought resistance, yield)
Dr Lintle (L) Mohase
Oxygen sensing mechanisms in plants
Dr Gerhard (GP) Potgieter
Evaluation of bio-catalytic compounds on plant growth and development.
Dr Gerhard (GP) Potgieter
Late Quaternary Palynology and Environments
Prof Louis (L) Scott
Coprolite pollen taphnomy
Prof Louis (L) Scott
Digitising pollen reference material
Prof Louis (L) Scott
Taxonomic revision of the genus Licium in Africa
Dr Andor (AM) Venter
Taxonomic revision of the family Apocynaceae
Prof Johan (HJT) Venter
Early response to pathogen infection in wheat
Dr Botma (B) Visser
Molecular analysis of gene expression in plants
Dr Botma (B) Visser
Molecular analysis of defence gene expression in wheat
Dr Botma (B) Visser
The role of volatile emissions in defence activation in exposed wheat
Dr Botma (B) Visser
Genetic analysis of stem, leaf, and yellow rust populations of wheat in South Africa
Dr Botma (B) Visser
Genetic analysis of bio-activator treatments in wheat
Dr Botma (B) Visser
Karee malformations represents a biodiverse rich habitat
Ms Marguerite (M) Westcott




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