Fieldwork to understand the emerging Ceratocystis threat to Eucalyptus in South Africa 2019-02-26
From 17-19 February, some members of the Ceratocystis team, Dr Irene Barnes, and TPCP students and Postdocs, Arista Fourie, Dr FeiFei Liu and Granny Hlongwane, went on a field trip to Kwambonambi, KwaZulu-Natal to observe the Ceratocystis infection on Eucalyptus hybrid clones in the plantations. Guided by Prof Jolanda Roux from SAPPI, the team was able to observe typical Ceratocystis symptoms such as stem cankers, wilting, and streaks of vascular discolouration in the stems and roots of diseased plants. The team also noted great growth variation between healthy and diseased hybrid clones of the same age. Diseased plant and soil samples were collected from three different sites for further analysis at FABI. Granny Hlongwane will process these samples as part of her MSc project to determine the distribution of the pathogen in the plant and soil samples and to determine the genetic diversity of the Ceratocystis population.
The team also discovered some other fungal gems in the plantation debris including birds nest and stink horn fungi.
Please see the attached Tech Alert PDF for more information on the symptoms associated with Ceratocystis wilt of eucalypts.