From 18-21 January, the 49th congress of the Southern African Society of Plant Pathology (SASPP) took place in Bloemfontein. It was one of the largest meetings in the history of the society with more than 200 delegates representing the industry, academia, government and regulatory bodies. FABI was well represented with FABIans giving one keynote address, 15 oral and 17 poster presentations, the topics of which are listed below. Furthermore, Prof. Emma Steenkamp and Prof. Lucy Moleleki acted as chairs of two of the sessions. Apart from the congress participations, Prof. Teresa Coutinho served for the past term of four years as president of the Society and Prof. Jolanda Roux also served on the council.
FABI was made proud by the fact that three FABIans won major awards during the meeting, presented to them at the gala dinner. The first was Prof. Brenda Wingfield who won the top honour of the society, namely the 18 carat gold Hendrik Persoon Medal (read more on that award here). Then Prof. Gerhard Pietersen was selected as a Fellow of the Society, and Johan van der Linde won the Inqaba prize for best student presentation that included molecular techniques. We congratulate these FABIans with their awards!

Global tree health: New and emerging disease challenges
M.J. Wingfield

Cyrtogenius africus (Scolytinae), its phoretic mites and novel ophiostomatoid partners: The final blow leading to the Euphorbia ingens die-off
J.A. van der Linde, D.L. Six, M.J. Wingfield, J. Roux

Mutations of flagella (flgK and motA) and type IV pili (pilA and pilT) genes of Pantoea ananatis LMG20103 reduces motility, attachment and virulence in onion seedlings
T. Weller-Stuart, I. Toth, J. Theron, P. de Maayer and T. Coutinho

Functional characterisation of the Cercospora zeina crp1 gene as a putative pathogenesis regulation factor
J. Liversage, D.K. Berger and B.G. Crampton

Insight into three putative Cercospora zeina effector genes and the role they play in virulence
B. Lombard, D.K. Berger and B.G. Crampton

Diverse origins of genes associated with growth QTL in Fusarium circinatum
S. van Wyk, B.D. Wingfield, L. de Vos, N.A. van der Merwe and E.T. Steenkamp

Understanding nuclear-cytoplasmic incompatibility between Fusarium circinatum and F. temperatum
G. Fourie, L de Vos, N.A. van der Merwe, B.D.Wingfield, M.J. Wingfield and E.T. Steenkamp

New pathovar of Pseudomonas syringae from onion plants
V.M. Moloto, T. Goszczynska and T.A. Coutinho

Identification of two Ralstonia species associated with bacterial wilt in Eucalyptus
G.D. Carstensen, S.N. Venter, M.J. Wingfield and T.A. Coutinho

A new and serious rust disease of Acacia mearnsii in South Africa
J. Roux, A.R. McTaggart, D. Herron, I. Greyling, S. Fouche, J. Chan, C. Norris, T. Mbatha, B.D. Wingfield and M.J. Wingfield

A new species of rust on Eucalyptus in South Africa
A.R. McTaggart, W. Maier, J. Roux and M.J. Wingfield

Characterisation and identification of Agrobacterium species from South Africa
V.M. Moloto, T.A. Coutinho and T. Goszczynska

Evidence for multiple introductions, migration and clonal spread of Exserohilum turcicum in South Africa
M. Haasbroek, I. Barnes, M. Craven and B.G. Crampton

Diseases, DNA and diagnostics
Z.W. de Beer

Pathogenesis related proteins play an important role in the maize defence response to Cercospora zeina
B.G. Crampton, S.L. Murray, B. Lombard, J. Meyer and D.K. Berger

Plant defence against pathogenic bacteria: A focus on Pectobacterium-potato interactions
G.K.E Mosina and L.N. Moleleki

A comparative analysis of the flagellin glycosylation island in strains of Pantoea ananatis from different ecological niches
A. du Preez, P. de Maayer and T.A. Coutinho

Bacterial pathogens in onion seed
V.M. Moloto, T. Goszczynska and T.A. Coutinho

Characterization of the MAT Locus in the saprobe Huntiella omanensis
A. Wilson, P.M. Wilken, M.A. van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield and B.D. Wingfield

Gene expression associated with intersterility in Heterobasidion
M.A. van der Nest, Å. Olson, M. Karlsson, M. Lind, K Dalman, M. Brandström-Durling, M. Elfstrand, B.D. Wingfield and J. Stenlid

The role of gene duplication in the evolution of GH32 invertase genes within pathogenic and saprotrophic Ceratocystidaceae species
C. Trollip, M.A. van der Nest, D. Roodt, T. Godlonton, E. Sauerman, P.M. Wilken, M.J. Wingfield and B.D. Wingfield

Characterization of the Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliensis expI gene during infection of potato tubers and stems
C.K. Tanui and L. Moleleki

Culturable fungi associated with mesembs in the Namaqua National Park of the succulent Karoo biome
Z. Pieterse, A. Jacobs and T.A.S. Aveling

Heritability of pathogenicity towards Pinus patula in a back-crossed population of Fusarium circinatum
M.M. Phasha, L. De Vos, M.P.A. Coetzee, B.D. Wingfield, M.J. Wingfield and E.T. Steenkamp

Molecular and morphological characterization of Dothiorella species associated with dieback of Ostrya carpinifolia in Slovenia and Italy, and a host and geographic range extension for D. parva
D. Pavlic-Zupanc, B. Piškur, B. Slippers, M.J. Wingfield and D. Jurc

Expression profiling of putative RxLR genes from the fine roots pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi, during in vitro growth and avocado root infection
B. Ndlovu and N. van den Berg

Functional characterisation of the putative pathogenicity factor, CZK3 in Cercospora zeina
M.B.L. Malefo, D.K. Berger and B.G. Crampton

The Botryosphaeriaceae associated with Ribes spp. in New York, USA
F. Jami, M.J. Wingfield, G.W. Hudler and B. Slippers

Generation of a mating pheromone deletion mutant in Fusarium circinatum
O.O. Adenigba, B.D. Wingfield, T.A. Duong, N.A. van der Merwe, M.J. Wingfield and E.T. Steenkamp

A new disease of banana, scaly black spot of fruit, caused by Xanthomonas species
T. Goszczynska, V.M. Moloto, T.A. Coutinho, W.J. Botha and A. Jacobs

Scanning electron microscopy and quantification of Phytophthora cinnamomi infection in tolerant and susceptible avocado rootstocks
B.L. Mitchell and N. van den Berg

A survey of Alternaria species on sunflowers in South African production fields
M.G. Kgatle, T.M. Ramusi, B. Flett, M. Truter and T.A.S Aveling

Cardinal temperature differences between closely related species and subspecies of pectinolytic bacteria responsible for blackleg and soft rot on potatoes
S. du Raan, T.A. Coutinho and J. van der Waals