High school learners from various schools participating in the University of Pretoria’s UP with Science programme presented their mini-research projects to a packed auditorium at Sci-Enza.

Under the supervision of Dr Martin Coetzee as well as PhD and MSc students in the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB), six learners investigated the effects of disease and stress on plant life.

The Grade 11 learners started on the mini-research project titled "The stressful life of plants: A shortcut to disease" in February. They subjected onion plants to different stresses and monitored responses to these stresses after inoculating them with the pathogen Pantoea ananatis.

Juanita Avontuur, Arista Fourie, Palesa Madupe, Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry and Markus Wilken mentored the learners in the weeks that they conducted labwork at FABI and also oversaw their presentation.

Roenita Grove, Carla Hollamby, Jared Khayyam, Reabetswe Maifadi, Neo Motloutsi and Marissa Swart are in their second year of the UP with Science enrichment programme.