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Research Features

Phytophthora root rot (PRR) is the most severe and damaging disease in avocado plantations in South Africa. The causal agent, Phytophthora cinnamomi, is an oomycete that also causes disease on thousands of other plant species. The pathogen is a heterothallic species that can reproduce by sexual or asexual means. It can persist in soil or infected plant material for extended periods of time, and there is no means to eradicate this oomycete from infected areas once the pathogen has successfully established in soils. Currently, phosphite injections, along with the use of good agricultural practices, are commonly used as methods of control for PRR.

Given the severity of the disease, however, little is known regarding the biology, population diversity, and the molecular basis for the P. cinnamomi - avocado interaction. Current research of ARP therefore focuses on characterizing the genetic diversity and monitoring pathogen populations using microsatellite markers, and using genomics and genetics tools to characterize effectors genes (RxLR and Crinkler) as well as other genes that are known to contribute to the pathogenicity of the oomycete. The sensitivity and effectiveness of phosphite control and its mode of action towards P. cinnamomi is also being investigated.

 

 * Read more about Phytophthora cinnamomi on our Fact sheet.

 

ARP Team Members

Katelyn Baird: Characterising the role of Phytophthora cinnamomi NLP proteins in plant cell infection.

Ncobile Kunene: Development of a transformation system for Phytophthora cinnamomi.

Kayla Midgley: Characterising the role of Phytophthora cinnamomi CRN effector proteins in host plant cell death.

Susanna Anbu: -Expression profiling of Nep-like protein (NLP) effector genes during infection in avocado.

Shalya Moodley: Assessing the virulence of dominant Phytophthora cinnamomi genotypes from South African avocado orchards.

 

 

New Publications

Hiroyuki S, Marincowitz S, Roux J, Paap T, Wingfield BD, Wingfield MJ. (2024) A new genus and species of Cryphonectriaceae causing stem cankers on plantation eucalypts in South Africa. Plant Pathology :1-14. 10.1111/ppa.13883 PDF
Mapfumo P, Buthelezi S, Archer E, Swanevelder DZH, Wilken PM, Creux N. (2024) In-field climatic factors driving Sclerotinia head rot progression across different sunflower planting dates. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.13873
Price J-L, Visagie CM, Meyer H, Yilmaz N. (2024) Fungal species and mycotoxins Associated with Maize ear rots collected from the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Toxins 16:95. 10.3390/toxins16020095
Tarigan M, Wingfield MJ, Jami F, Marpaung YMAN, Duran A, Pham NQ. (2024) Pathogenicity of Chrysoporthe deuterocubensis on eucalypts in Indonesia. Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science 10.2989/20702620.2023.2279054
MISEV Consortium, Motaung T. (2024) Minimal information for studies of extracellular vesicles (MISEV2023): From basic to advanced approaches. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 13(2):e12404. 10.1002/jev2.12404