Dr Felipe Balocchi

Postdoctoral Fellow


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I am currently a Postdoctoral fellow with FABI and SANBI. The project that I'm on is focused on using botanical gardens and other urban plantings as sentinel sites for the early detection of novel pest/pathogen intrusions into South Africa (Sentinel plant project). The project also involves detection of new hosts for invasive pests/pathogens already present in the country, the description of novel native diseases/pathogens, and exploring the link between plant collections and natural environments.

Previously I did my PhD at FABI (2018-2022), studying a novel canker disease of Araucaria araucana that had an important outbreak in Chile during 2015-2016. My undergraduate degree (Plant biotechnology engineering) and MSc (Forestry sciences) I completed in Chile at the University of Concepción. Both degrees were completed at the Forest Pathology Lab in the topic of biological control of weeds by using fungal pathogens (bioherbicides). 


FABI sampling for Phytophthora in Cape riverine ecosystems

FABI researchers recently joined Prof. Jonàs Oliva, visiting from the University of Lleida, to sample a large number of rivers draining Cape province mountains for Phytophthora species.

Chilean tree breeders visit FABI

Three tree breeders from Bioforest, a research branch of the Chilean forestry company Arauco, visited FABI on 28 October.

A FABI/SANBI plant health and biosecurity workshop

FABI researchers joined members of SANBI’s Horticultural Enrichment Forum to host a Biosecurity best practice workshop at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

Felicidades Felipe!

Congratulations to Felipe Balocchi on the successful completion of his PhD!

FABI tree-health sleuths explore the Cederberg

Members of the FABI tree health team and collaborators led by Prof. Mike Wingfield recently visited various sites in South Africa’s Cederberg mountain range.

Publication Party celebrates student achievements

FABI hosted a second publication party for the year on Tuesday 16 November.

Student training through the SANBI-funded Sentinel Plant Project in South African botanical gardens

Drs. Mesfin Gossa and Trudy Paap initiated a link with the Department of Horticulture at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to discuss possibilities of student training via the Sentinel Plant Project.

The FABI diagnostics team is growing

Thirty-two years ago the first diagnostic clinic to service the South African forestry industry was established as part of the birth of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP). The FABI Diagnostic Clinic continues to grow to serve the increasing needs of its industry partners. Gabrielle has been a part of the FABI family since 2009, where her research focused on phytobacteria, and for her PhD and postdoc she studied bacterial wilt on Eucalyptus. Shawn Fell is nearing completion of his MSc degree which focused on the PSHB and its associated fungi on pecan trees. The FABI Diagnostic Clinic also welcomes six students and two interns to the team.

FABI mycologists participate in the annual MSA meeting: Mycology in the cloud

FABI students and their co-authors contributed 37 posters/graphical abstracts of the 157 of these presentations at the MSA conference.

Chilean Forestry Delegation visits FABI

FABI hosted a three day visit from 9-11 September by Prof.

Export to RIS
Paap T, Balocchi F, Burgess TI, Bose T, Wingfield MJ. (2024) A diverse range of Phytophthora species from botanical gardens in South Africa, including the novel Clade 5 species, Phytophthora mammiformis sp. nov.. Fungal Systematics and Evolution 13:111-122. 10.3114/fuse.2024.13.05
Visagie CM, Magistà D, Ferrara M, Balocchi F, Duong TA, Eichmeier A, Gramaje D, Aylward J, Baker SE, Barnes I, Calhoun S, De Angelis M, Frisvad JC, Hakalova E, Hayes RD, Houbraken J, Grigoriev IV, LaButti K, Leal C, Lipzen C, Ng V, Pangilinan J, Pecenka J, Perrone G, Piso A, Savage E, Spetik E, Wingfield MJ, Zhang Y, Wingfield BD. (2023) IMA genome-F18 - The reidentification of Penicillium genomes available in the NCBI and draft genomes for Penicillium species from dry cured meat, Penicillium biforme, P. brevicompactum, P. solitum, and P. cvjetkovicii, Pewenomyces kutranfy, Pew. lalenivora, Pew. tapulicola, Pew. kalosus, Teratosphaeria carnegiei, and Trichoderma atroviridae SC1. IMA Fungus 14(21) 10.1186/s43008-023-00121-w
Balocchi F, Barnes I, Wingfield MJ, Ahumada R, Visagie CM. (2023) New Resinogalea species from Araucaria araucana resin in Chile and reclassification of the genus in the Cryptocaliciomycetidae. IMA Fungus 14 10.1186/s43008-023-00122-9 PDF
Balocchi F, Marincowitz S, Wingfield MJ, Ahumada R, Barnes I. (2022) Three new species of Pewenomyces (Coryneliaceae) from Araucaria araucana in Chile. Mycological Progress 21(92):1:23. 10.1007/s11557-022-01840-x PDF
Balocchi F, Wingfield MJ, Paap T, Ahumada R, Barnes I. (2022) Pathogens of the Araucariaceae: How much do we know?. Current Forestry Reports 8:124–147. 10.1007/s40725-022-00164-z PDF
Burgess TI, Oliva J, Sapsford SJ, Sakalidis ML, Balocchi F, Paap T. (2022) Anthropogenic disturbances and the emergence of native diseases: a threat to forest health. Current Forestry Reports 8:111–123. 10.1007/s40725-022-00163-0 PDF
Balocchi F, Wingfield MJ, Ahumada R, Barnes I. (2021) Pewenomyces kutranfy gen nov. et sp. nov. causal agent of an important canker disease on Araucaria araucana in Chile. Plant Pathology 70(5):1243-1259. 10.1111/ppa.13353 PDF