Mr Siphephelo Phungula

PhD student


Plant and Soil Sciences
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Primary Supervisor
Irene Barnes

Co Supervisor
Almuth Hammerbacher
Mike Wingfield

I graduated with a BSc (Agric) Plant Pathology and later MSc Entomology from the University of Pretoria. Currently, I am enrolled for PhD in Plant Pathology at FABI, TPCP. My PhD research focuses on biology and etiology of the recently discovered fungal pathogen, E. masingae. This pathogen is a causal agent of Eucalyptus scab and shoots malformation diseases which affect different Eucalyptus species.

The study aims at understanding the biology of E. masingae and inform management strategies. I will achieve this by; studying population structure and genetic diversity of the E. masingae, study variation in disease susceptibility and development between different eucalypt genotypes, formulate a rapid screening method by employing spectral and chemical fingerprinting technologies and, develop risk maps for future deployments of eucalypts genotypes.

The data to be generated from this study will inform breeders in South Africa which eucalypt genotypes to avoid as mother plants. It can also be used operationally in planting more susceptible eucalypts in areas that are not favorable for disease establishment. That is, susceptible eucalypts genotypes can then be matched with disease-unfavorable areas and tolerant genotypes with disease-favorable areas.