Research Projects in the department of Plant Sciences

Principal investigator

Plant Pathology:

Characterisation of variability in cereal rust pathogens

Prof Willem Boshoff

Assessment of rust resistance in South African wheat cultivars

Prof Willem Boshoff

Characterisation of diverse germplasm sources for rust resistance

Prof Willem Boshoff

Marker-assisted selection for rust resistance in wheat

Prof Willem Boshoff

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 Marias

The use of essential oils to control soil borne pathogens in maize

Dr Gert Marias

Botryosphaeriaceae associated with pecans, with special reference toNeofusicoccumspp.

Dr Gert Marias

A phylogenetic study on Epicoccum sorghinum in Acacia trees, sorghum and millet in Northern Namibia (MSc Violet Simataa, CTHB funded project)

Dr Gert Marias

Production of plant growth enhancing metabolites fromTrichoderma

Dr Gert Marias

Ophiostomatoid fungi associated with pecans in South Africa

Dr Gert Marias

Plant pathogenic risks associated with pecans in South Africa

Dr Gert Marias

Diversity and distribution ofAlternariaspecies associated with pecans in South Africa

Dr Gert Marias

The impact of the Polyphagous shot hole borer and its symbiotic fungi on pecan nut trees in South Africa

Dr Gert Marias

Situational analysis ofPenicilliumspecies associated with the maize milling process in South Africa

Dr Gert Marias

Population study on the distribution ofCladosporiumspecies in pecans

Dr Gert Marias

Members ofCladosporium cladosporioidescomplex as the causative agents of pecan scab in South Africa

Dr Gert Marias

Basidiomycetous fungi associated with pecan orchards in South Africa

Dr Gert Marias

Fusariumspecies associated with pecans in South Africa

Dr Gert Marias

Production of pyrazines by Penicillium species in indigenous to South Africa (in collaboration with Du Toit Scabort, Dept. ofMicrobial, Biotecnological and Food Sciences at UFS)

Dr Gert Marias

Comparative study of Epicoccum sorghinum in southern Africa (MSc Ariska van der Nest, UP, in collaboration with Prof Emma Steenkamp at UP)

Dr Gert Marias

Mycotoxigenic fungi associated with grain silos in Zimbabwe (PhD Elliot Tembo, in collaboration with Plant Breeding at UFS)

Dr Gert Marias

Adult plant resistance in wheat to stem and stripe rust (in collaboration with CenGen)

Prof Zakkie Pretorius

Evaluation of SA wheat cultivars for rust resistance

Prof Zakkie Pretorius

Genetics of stem rust resistance in SA wheat and triticale (PhD Cornel Bender)

Prof Zakkie Pretorius

Genomics of wheat rust interactions (PhD Hester van Schalkwyk, in collaboration with CenGen, NIAB and TGAC)

Prof Zakkie Pretorius

Leaf rust diversity in southern Africa (in collaboration with ARC-Small Grain Institute, CIMMYT and other partners)

Prof Zakkie Pretorius

Molecular and cellular responses in wheat infected with stem rust (PhD Howard Castelyn)

Prof Zakkie Pretorius

Stem rust resistance in an African wheat collection (in collaboration with NIAB, CenGen and CIMMYT)

Prof Zakkie Pretorius

Stem rust resistance in Zimbabwean wheat germplasm (PhD Tegwe Soko)

Prof Zakkie Pretorius

The development of an integrated soil and plant health strategy with specific reference to biotic and abiotic interactions in the rhizosphere that influence yield and disease resistance/suppression

Prof Wijnand Swart

Biotic and abiotic interactions of above- and belowground parts of an allelopathic plant, using Amaranthus cruentus as model

Prof Wijnand Swart

Prospecting for plant growth promoting fungi and bacteria in the rhizosphere microbiome of maize and wheat for the development of biofertilizers and biopesticides

Prof Wijnand Swart

The effect of herbicide formulations and soybean genotype on the relationship between beneficial organisms and root pathogens

Prof Wijnand Swart

Fungi associated with the seed and roots of various pseudocereals such as amaranth, quinoa, and fonio

Prof Wijnand Swart

The influence of root physiology on rhizosphere interactions in sorghum cultivars: Implications for the incidence of root disease and yield

Prof Wijnand Swart

Plant root exudates and their role in determining soil and plant health

Prof Wijnand Swart

Seed- and soilborne borne diseases of cowpea

Prof Wijnand Swart

Assessing vegetation and soil microbial ecology in renosterveld rangelands around Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape province(in collaboration with UWC)

Prof Wijnand Swart

Biological control of fungal pathogens in the rhizosphere of carrot

Prof Wijnand Swart

Plant root exudates and their role in determining soil and plant health

Prof Wijnand Swart

Screening of soybean and sunflower for escape resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum under field conditions. (In collaboration with Marlese Meiring)

Dr Lisa Rothmann

Integrated management of sorghum diseases

Dr Lisa Rothmann

Study of inoculation and disease evaluation techniques for sclerotinia stalk rot of soybean

Dr Lisa Rothmann

Sorghum foliar diseases and grain mold: A systems analysis approach

Dr Lisa Rothmann

Sclerotinia sclerotiorumdisease potential and management responses in soybean and sunflower

Dr Lisa Rothmann

Plant Breeding:

Introgression of powdery mildew resistance genes from Cucurbita pepo into Cucurbita moschata (MSc Derrick Botha) Prof Liezel Herselman
Marker-assisted introgression of different rust resistance genes as well as Fusarium head blight resistance into South African wheat cultivars Prof Liezel 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 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 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 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 Labuschagne
The influence of abiotic stress conditions on storage protein expression in selected wheat cultivars (funded by Oppenheimer Trust) Prof Maryke Labuschagne
Fusarium head blight resistance breeding in wheat (funded by NRF) Dr Adre Minnaar-Ontong
Dr Chrisna Steyn
Resistance to Fusarium head blight in wheat: Influence of the fungal mycotoxin profile (funded by SARCHI_NRF) Dr Adre Minnaar-Ontong
Breeding for resistance to Sclerotinia Stem Rot in soybean (funded by GrainSA) Dr Adre Minnaar-Ontong
Dr Chrisna Steyn
Population genetic structure of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in South Africa Dr Adre Minnaar-Ontong
Dr Chrisna Steyn
Assessment of soybean genotypes for resistance to soybean sudden death syndrome in South Africa Dr Adre Minnaar-Ontong
A pre-breeding approach towards soybean sudden death syndrome in South African soybeans Dr Adre Minnaar-Ontong
Soybean sudden death syndrome: Influence of phytotoxins on disease development Dr Adre 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 van Biljon
Improved separation of polymeric and monomeric protein fractions using a high resolution column (MSc. Agric. 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 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 van Biljon
The relationship between glutenin subunits and baking quality characteristics in South African commercial bread wheat cultivars (MSc Agric Jared Onsando, in collaboration with ARC-Small Grain Institute, funded by Winter Cereal Trust and THRIP) Dr Angeline van Biljon
The genetic improvement of nutritional value in staple crops Dr Angeline van Biljon
Developing a breeding strategy for vegetable-type soybean under abiotic stress conditions (Project funded by the NRF - Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers) Dr Rouxlene van der Merwe
Breeding for resistance to pod shattering in vegetable type soybean (In collaboration with Prof. Q. Zhang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Edamame Development Program in South Africa) Dr Rouxlene van der Merwe
Explore new rust resistance sources in wheat (Funded by NRF Thuthuka and Winter Cereal Trust) Dr Ansori Maré
Improving wheat lines with combined rust and Fusarium head blight resistance (MSc Karabo Khiba funded by CRF) Dr Ansori Maré
Effect of climate change on cowpea nutritional value and other quality related traits (Funded by NRF Chair) Dr Ntombokulunga Mbuma
Heritability and expression of yield and nutritional characteristics in cowpea (PhD Milcah Masemola funded by NRF Chair in collaboration with ARC - Vegetable and Ornamental Plants) Dr Ntombokulunga Mbuma
Genotype and environmental effects on maize grain yield, nutritional value and milling quality (MSc Agric Tsietso Khajoane funded by NRF Chair in collaboration with Bayer Pharmaceutics company) Dr Ntombokulunga Mbuma
Evaluating cowpea mutant genotypes for grain yield and nutritional values in South Africa (MSc Agric Moshieng Ntswane funded by AgriSeta in collaboration with ARC-Grain Crops) Dr Ntombokulunga Mbuma

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 van Aardt
Looking at the use of leaf epidermis as possible palaeo-environmental indicators from the Pretoria Salt pan (Tswaing Crater). Dr Andri van Aardt
Systematics of the Curio group (Asteraceae) Dr Mariette Jackson
Systematics of genus Steirodiscus (Asteraceae) Dr Mariette Jackson
DNA fingerprinting of Devil’s Claw Dr Mariette Jackson
Taxonomic revision of the genus Cryptolepis Dr Lize Joubert
Systematics of the Periplocoideae Dr Lize Joubert
Systematics of two South African endemic genera: Steirodiscus and Garuleum (Asteraceae) Dr Lize Joubert
Elicitors in plant defence responses Dr Lintle Mohase
Characterisation of elicitors/effectors in aphid saliva Dr Lintle Mohase
Effect of commercial plant activators on crop protection (pest/drought resistance, yield) Dr Lintle Mohase
Late Quaternary Palynology and Environments Prof Louis Scott
Coprolite pollen taphnomy Prof Louis Scott
Digitizing pollen reference material Prof Louis Scott
Early response to pathogen infection in wheat Prof Botma Visser
Molecular analysis of gene expression in plants Prof Botma Visser
Genotypic analysis of rust populations of crops in South Africa Prof Botma Visser
Investigation of fungicide tolerance/resistance in cereal crops Prof Botma Visser
Identification of South African rust species using molecular phylogeny Prof Botma Visser


BLOEMFONTEIN CAMPUS FACULTY CONTACT

Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531
E:vdberge@ufs.ac.za

QWAQWA CAMPUS FACULTY CONTACT

Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284
E:naturalscienceqq@ufs.ac.za

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