Ms Makhosazana Ngema

Research Assistant


Full CV
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I am a passionate and enthusiastic research assistant specializing in plant pathology, focusing specifically on species within the Botryosphaeriaceae family associated with Avocado branch canker. Holding an MSc degree in Plant Pathology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, my thesis investigated the use of Trichoderma asperellum to alleviate drought stress in selected plants.

Currently, my primary objectives revolve around identifying Botryosphaeriaceae species associated with canker and dieback in avocado trees across South Africa. This entails extensive involvement in sample collection from all avocado-growing  provinces in the country, followed by the isolation and identification of fungal species. Moreover, I conduct pathogenicity assays to ascertain the virulence of different species.

Within this project framework, we aim to address the following inquiries:

  1. Which species within the Botryosphaeriaceae family are implicated in avocado branch canker in South Africa?
  2. Among these species, which demonstrate pathogenicity towards commercially-grown avocado varieties?
  3. What impact do abiotic stresses have on the development of symptoms associated with avocado branch canker?

Through rigorous research and experimentation, we strive to provide insights crucial for the management and mitigation of Avocado branch canker disease, ultimately contributing to the sustainability of avocado cultivation in South Africa.