Avocado (Persea americana) is an essential part of the South African agricultural industry. Most avocado orchards are located in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Infection by the plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi accounts for substantial loss in orchard productivity and subsequent economic losses. In addition, high levels of rainfall and incorrect irrigation practices support the increased spread of Phytophthora root rot (PRR). However, the use of tolerant rootstocks such as Dusa®, greatly improves orchard productivity.
Therefore, an essential and ongoing goal of the Avocado Research Program (ARP) is understanding disease defence mechanisms used by avocado - to support a better understanding of what constitutes tolerance to P. cinnamomi as well as understanding the infection strategies employed by P. cinnamomi to cause disease in avocado. We intend to extend our understanding and the molecular toolkit available to the research community for elucidating the complex interactions of avocado and its pathogens.
ARP Team Members
Alicia Fick: Cis-elements and DNA methylation pattern changes of NLR genes in Persea americana during Phytophthora cinnamomi infection.
Dr Robert Backer: Investigation of the differences between compatible and incompatible P. americana (Mill.) - Phytophthora cinnamomi interactions over time: A study focused on 0.12 ZAR-dependent signalling and related pathways.
Aaron Harvey: The complex architecture of the avocado callose synthase genes and their role in the defence response against Phytophthora cinnamomi.