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Prof. Mary Barbercheck from the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University presented a special seminar at FABI on 27 January. The occasion marked Prof. Barbercheck’s return visit to South Africa after more than 30 years as one of Birhan Abate’s PhD external examiners. She presented her seminar titled “Effects of soil characteristics and management of Metarhizium, a bifunctional fungus, in organic cropping systems”. The talk focused on studies on the effect of Metarhizium anisopliae on soils on organic systems where the use of synthetic chemicals, whether as fertilisers or pest management is prohibited. The fungus has an endophytic relationship with some plants and Prof. Barbercheck spoke about the possible roles that the fungus plays in disease and insect pest control, nutrient transfer and the decomposition of organic matter. 

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Linnakoski R, Forbes KM, Wingfield MJ, Pulkkinen P, Asiegbu FO. (2017) Testing projected climate change conditions on the Endoconidiophora polonica / Norway spruce pathosystem shows fungal strain specific effects. Frontiers in Plant Science 8:883. 10.3389/fpls.2017.00883 PDF
Crous CJ, Burgess TI, Le Roux JJ, Richardson DM, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Ecological disequilibrium drives insect pest and pathogen accumulation in non-native trees. AoB Plants 9:plw081. 10.1093/aobpla/plw081
Swart V, Crampton BG, Ridenour J, Bluhm BH, Olivier NA, Meyer JJM, Berger DK. (2017) Complementation of CTB7 in the maize pathogen Cercospora zeina overcomes the lack of in vitro cercosporin production. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions First Look Online 10.1094/MPMI-03-17-0054-R
Wingfield MJ, Slippers B, Wingfield BD, Barnes I. (2017) The unified framework for biological invasions: a forest fungal pathogen perspective. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-017-1450-0
Tanui CK, Shyntum DY, Priem SL, Theron J, Moleleki LN. (2017) Influence of the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) protein on pathogenicity in Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense. Plos One 5(12) 10.1371/journal.pone.0177647