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South Africa: Potato pathologists at the Univ of Pretoria tackle industry threatening potato diseases

Prof vd WaalsThe Potato Pathology Programme at the University of Pretoria in South Africa is considered to be the flagship programme for research on bacterial and fungal diseases of potatoes in that country. The programme functions under the leadership of Prof Jacquie van der Waals, a renowned specialist in potato pathology. According to Prof van der Waals, the most important and industry threatening diseases in the South African potato industry are soft rot and blackleg, powdery scab, Rhizoctoniasis and also an emerging disease, brown spot, caused by Alternaria alternata.

“The primary research projects in this programme investigate various aspects of these diseases, including sustainable, integrated management of the different diseases, as well as pre-plant risk assessment of the soil-borne diseases,” she says. “Molecular characterisation and correct diagnosis of the causal agents of each disease complex in South Africa are important aspects of our work,” Prof van der Waals notes. “We also look carefully at epidemiology, dissemination and introduction of new pathogens.”

Feel free to contact Prof van der Waals for additional information or to exchange ideas at: [email protected]. Please go here to access a PowerPoint presentation detailing the research activities of members involved in the Potato Pathology Programme at the University of Pretoria: Potato Pathology

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