On 19 March, a group of postgraduate students under the supervision of Prof. Irene Barnes, and those working in the FABI diagnostic clinic with Dr Wilma Nel, participated in an isolation jamboree for Elsinoe masingae. Elsinoe masingae is a recently-described fungal species (Roux et al 2023) that causes a scab and shoot malformation disease on different Eucalyptus species in South Africa.

The purpose of the jamboree was twofold: 1) to expose students working in the forest pathology space to this new pathogen by training them to isolate the fungus, and 2) to obtain enough isolates from different infected eucalypt varieties from different areas in South Africa for the Ph.D. project of Siphephelo Phungula. Siphephelo’s project, in collaboration with SAPPI, will include investigating the distribution, genetic diversity, and host susceptibility of Elsinoe masingae affecting Eucalyptus in South Africa.