Rosellinia necatrix Berl. ex Prill. is an ascomycete pathogen that targets over 400 different plant hosts. Its ability to switch between saprophytic and pathogenic lifestyles allows the occupation of an area for long periods of time. It is the causal agent of white root rot which has resulted in significant economic losses within the agricultural and forestry industries of numerous temperate and tropical countries. Recently, symptoms resembling white root rot were observed in a commercial avocado orchard in the Limpopo Province. These symptoms were determined to be due to R. necatrix infection. The majority of the commercial South African avocado rootstocks were subsequently found to be susceptible to white root rot.
Research within the ARP aims to survey the prevalence, spread and distribution of this pathogen in South African fruit tree orchards. We also aim to assess physiological responses of South African avocado rootstocks to R. necatrix infection, as well as to evaluate potential control techniques for white root rot on avocado. Additionally, candidate pathogenicity-related genes of R. necatrix will be predicted prior to functional characterization of these genes using a CRISPR-Cas9 system.
Read more about Rosellinia necatrix on our Fact sheet here
ARP Team Members
Jesse Hartley: The Detection and Surveillance of White Root Rot caused by Rosellinia necatrix in South African Avocado Orchards
Phinda Magagula: Physiological response of South African avocado rootstocks to Rosellinia necatrix and its control