13 Dec 2020

FABIans contribute to special issues in two scientific journals commemorating the International Year of Plant Health

The United Nations has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), in recognition of the urgent need for greater global collaboration to protect plant health.

11 Dec 2020

FABI became the first institute of Innovation Africa@UP in 2020

In 2020, the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) became the first institute to join the Innovation Africa@UP unit.

10 Dec 2020

Join us for the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology conference on 20 January!

We are excited to connect with you on 20 January for our Southern African Society for Plant Pathology(SASPP) hybrid meeting at Future Africa at the University of Pretoria.

10 Dec 2020

Prof. Kupe visits FABI to discuss the need to rethink, reimagine and reposition higher education in a post-COVID-19 world

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Tawana Kupe addressed the FABI Monday Morning Meeting on 30 November on higher education reimagined in the post COVID-19 world. COVID-19 has many negative implications for higher education. Notwithstanding the challenges, the pandemic has highlighted the need for a hybrid or blended education. Universities also have enormous research and development resources to contribute to the transformation of society. This is Professor Kupe’s third visit to FABI since his appointment at UP, and much appreciated by the community.

9 Dec 2020

Recently-appointed Sappi Vice President visits FABI

FABI was honoured to host a visit by the newly-appointed Vice President: Sappi Forests, Duane Roothman on 2 December.

8 Dec 2020

Last tree planting event for 2020

Forty FABIans from the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) and Grain Research programme (GRP) got their hands dirty replanting 200 pine and 1500 Eucalyptus seedlings into potting bags at the last tree planting event for 2020 on 27 November. This year’s tree planting also included students from the GRP who harvested maize leaves.

7 Dec 2020

Treatment trials established to fight Phytophthora die-back in Kirstenbosch gardens

South Africa’s iconic silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum) are listed as Endangered (EN) in the Red List of South African Plants.

2 Dec 2020

Almuth Hammerbacher promoted to Associate Professor

FABI congratulates Dr Almuth Hammerbacher on her well-deserved promotion to Associate Professor, effective January 2021.

1 Dec 2020

FABI PhD student presents at Entomology 2020

Ms Luki-Marie Scheepers, a PhD student in the Applied Chemical Ecology research group in FABI, presented her and her co-authors’ work on the Pine Emperor moth, Nudaurelia clarki, at the prestigious Entomological Society of America (ESA) annual meeting ‘Entomology 2020’. Annual conferences like these are usually highly anticipated collaboration and networking events and this year was no different despite it being hosted virtually. The online platform empowered a global audience, from 51 countries, to watch a total of 87 symposia divided into sections including systematics, medical science, ecosystems and physiology. The symposium content was full of variety, ranging from how bumblebees cope with self-created heat, how a fly evades your swat on a neural level and so much more. This conference illustrates the grit and innovation of researchers worldwide to continue networking, collaborating, innovating and working towards a finding answers for real-world problems despite a gripping global restriction on movement.

30 Nov 2020

Beauty in biodiversity and research excellence celebrated at 2020 year-end function

FABIans celebrated their stellar achievements in 2020 and toasted to new partnerships on 21 November at the first virtual year-end function.

27 Nov 2020

FABIans’ excellence celebrated at UP Academic Achievers Awards

Eight FABI researchers were honoured at the University of Pretoria Academic Achievers Award event on 25 November. Professors Fanus Venter and Dave Berger were both honoured with the Exceptional Academic Achievers Award.

26 Nov 2020

Researchers in the GRP lay the foundation for future research projects in Ugie, EC

Drs David Nsibo and Mahlane Godfrey Kgatle in the Grain Research Program (GRP) planted the first maize cultivar trials and configured a weather station on 19 November at Rocky Park Farm in Ugie, Eastern Cape.

24 Nov 2020

Mike Wingfield once again included on the 2020 Clarivate Web of Science Highly Cited Researchers list

FABI congratulates Prof. Mike Wingfield, Founding Director of the Institute for being included on the 2020 Clarivate Web of Science Highly Cited Researchers list - the fourth consecutive year he has achieved this status.

23 Nov 2020

Chinese Government gift to FABI

Professor Bernard Slippers, Director of FABI and Prof. Mike Wingfield recently visited the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pretoria to receive a gift of a large number of protective face masks from the newly-appointed Minister Counselor (Science and Technology), Mr Shen Long.

23 Nov 2020

FABI celebrates the accolades of its staff and students

November has been a good month for staff and students at FABI. FABI celebrates the achievements of the following five students who received awards in various categories.

17 Nov 2020

Inspection of invasive disease and pest problems in SANBI's Cape gardens

During the week of 9 November, a FABI team including Prof. Mike Wingfield, Prof. Brenda Wingfield, Dr Trudy Paap, Dr Mesfin Gossa and Dr Hiroyuki Suzuki visited botanical gardens in the Western Cape Province.

17 Nov 2020

FABI meetings return to the auditorium

FABI’s Monday Morning Meeting returned to the auditorium on 16 November after an eight month break, using a newly-installed webcam to host a “hybrid meeting” on the usual Zoom platform.

16 Nov 2020

Sandisiwe Jali profiled in FSA newsletter

FABI field extension officer Sandisiwe Jali is profiled in an article “Role models for the future of forestry” in Forestry South Africa’s (FSA) October newsletter.

9 Nov 2020

A new biocontrol agent for the eucalypt gall wasp, Leptocybe invasa

The end of October saw the first intentional introductions of the parasitoid wasp Quadrastichus mendeli.

6 Nov 2020

FABI scientists present their research at prestigious international plant synthetic biology conference

While a pandemic has brought world travel to a near halt, the international scientific community has shown remarkable resilience in our ability to connect with one another virtually and share research updates at international conferences.

6 Nov 2020

Industry experts unpack the intricacies of maize production in South Africa at MCET lecture

FABI postdoctoral Fellow Dr Godfrey Kgatle chaired a national maize cultivar evaluation trial (MCET) lecture on 3 November. SANSOR and Grain SA are key players in the trials and their relationship with FABI as well as with partners in academia, government and the grain industry culminated in the launch of the Grain Research Programme in August. FABIans have, since 2019, helped to sort and pack seeds for the national maize cultivar evaluation trials.

2 Nov 2020

Arthropod genomics and their applications on plant health explored in the sixth installment of the FABI International Seminar Series

Renowned insect genomics expert Professor Robert Waterhouse presented the sixth lecture in the FABI International Seminar Series on 29 October.

28 Oct 2020

TPCP team members visit the southern Cape

When you think of the southern Cape, you think of the Tsitsikamma: long beaches and the rolling mountains that follow the N2 freeway. In addition to collecting these important logs team members, Prof.

26 Oct 2020

TPCP team members visit plantations on the KZN coast

Some of the most impressive, and in fact some of the earliest, clonal eucalypt plantations can be found on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast of South Africa.

21 Oct 2020

The Hans Merensky Chair in Avocado Research hosts its annual student presentation day

The Avocado Research Programme (ARP) in FABI hosted its annual Student Presentation Day on 15 October.

20 Oct 2020

National monitoring of Eucalyptus pests and their biological control agents

During the week of 5-9 October the members of the Tree Protection Co-operative (TPCP) in FABI conducted the first national monitoring field trip for this year. The survey of these pests, during two seasons per year, aims to evaluate parasitism levels over time, between different Eucalyptus hosts and between different Eucalyptus growing regions of South Africa. The monitoring trips will continue into December, and include Limpopo, central Mpumalanga and lowveld, southern KZN and midlands, and the Eastern Cape.

19 Oct 2020

Inspection of trees dying in the Hennops river valley

Relatively regular reports of trees dying in various parts of Gauteng have emerged during the course of the past five years. One of the areas where trees have been reported dying is in the Hennops river valley, where especially white stinkwood (Celtis africana) and karee (Searsia lancea) are most seriously affected.

15 Oct 2020

Prof. Wilhelm de Beer receives the SAIF Distinguished Forestry Award

Congratulations to Prof. Wilhelm de Beer who was awarded this year’s Distinguished Forestry Award by the Southern African Institute of Forestry (SAIF).

14 Oct 2020

Harvesting Phytophthora pathogenicity trials in the KZN midlands

During the week of 5 October and three months after these inoculations, Tanay, along with FABIans Josephine Queffelec and Matthew Jackson, harvested this trial with the assistance of Sappi's scientific and non-scientific staff members.

13 Oct 2020

NSTF video interview with Mike Wingfield

A video interview with FABI founding Director, Professor Mike Wingfield has been published online on the YouTube channel of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF). Click here to watch the full video

8 Oct 2020

Fifth FABI International Seminar explores disease resistance against necrotrophic fungal pathogens

The fifth presentation in FABI’s popular International Seminar Series was by Prof. Katherine also spoke about the Global Burden of Crop Loss, an initiative she is participating in that is modelled after the Global Burden of Disease initiative in human health, which has transformed health policy research, over the last 25 years through better use of data. Click here to view the Global Burden of Crop Loss  presentation.

5 Oct 2020

FABI celebrates the achievements of its Spring graduates

Congratulations to 20 graduates affiliated with FABI whose degrees were conferred at the University of Pretoria’s virtual Spring Graduation Ceremony on 29 September.

30 Sep 2020

National Maize Cultivar Evaluation Trials seed packing at FABI

A team of students and interns from theTPCP and CPHB in FABI, took on the mammoth task of packaging a large number maize seed cultivars.

30 Sep 2020

UP Vice-Chancellor visits York Timbers with FABI colleagues

During the week of 21 September, University of Pretoria (UP) Vice Chancellor and Principal, Prof. Tawana Kupe visited York Timbers in Sabie, accompanied by Prof. Bernard Slippers, Prof. Mike Wingfield (FABI) and Prof. Wynand Steyn (UP Department of Civil Engineering).

30 Sep 2020

FABIans’ living heritage comes to life in “Picking the Fruit of the Heritage Tree”

From the mystical to the culinary, FABIans went on a sensory trip down memory lane and around the world in celebration of their living heritage as South Africa marked National Heritage Day on 24 September.

28 Sep 2020

New publication explores genetic diversity hidden within natural populations of Eucalyptus grandis

In the study recently published in Molecular Ecology by Mostert-O’Neill et al., the population structure and patterns of genetic differentiation of E. grandis was determined in terms of neutral and adaptive genetic diversity in 596 individuals sampled from 32 provenances covering the natural species range.