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.

Dr Ashok Prabhu: Unravelling the molecular basis of interaction between the Avocado-Phytophthora cinnamomi through quantitative proteomics approach.

Aaron Harvey: The complex architecture of the avocado callose synthase genes and their role in the defence response against Phytophthora cinnamomi.




New Publications

Wingfield BD, Berger DK, Coetzee MPA, Duong TA, Martin A, Pham NQ, Van den Berg N, Wilken PM, Arun-Chinnappa KS, Barnes I, Buthelezi S, Dahanayaka BA, Durán A, Engelbrecht J, Feurtey A, Fourie A, Fourie G, Hartley J, Kabwe ENK, Maphosa M, Narh Mensah DL, Nsibo DL, Potgieter L, Poudel B, Stukenbrock EH, Thomas C, Vaghefi N, Welgemoed T, Wingfield MJ. (2022) IMA genome‑F17. 13:19. 10.1186/s43008-022-00104-3
Wienk R, Mostert‑O’Neill M, Abeysekara N, Manosalva P, Freeman B, van den Berg N. (2022) Genetic diversity, population structure and clonal verification in South African avocado cultivars using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. Tree Genetics and Genomes 18(41) 10.1007/s11295-022-01573-8 PDF
Joubert M, van den Berg N, Theron J, Swart V. (2022) Transcriptomics Advancement in the Complex Response of Plants to Viroid Infection. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23(7677) 10.3390/ijms23147677 PDF
Backer R, Engelbrecht J, van den Berg N. (2022) Differing Responses to Phytophthora cinnamomi Infection in Susceptible and Partially Resistant Persea americana (Mill.) Rootstocks: A Case for the Role of Receptor-Like Kinases and Apoplastic Proteases. Frontiers in Plant Science 13 10.3389/fpls.2022.928176 PDF
Hartley J, Engelbrecht J, Van den Berg N. (2022) Detection and prevalence of Rosellinia necatrix in South African avocado orchards. European Journal of Plant Pathology 10.1007/s10658-022-02532-8