Ms Vida Burger

MSc student


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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Primary Supervisor
David Read

I am a first year masters student, my project focuses on determining the diversity and distribution of viruses associated with sunflowers in South Africa. Examining the viral diversity and distribution in
sunflower crops, will allow for insights into the persistence of viruses in specific
regions over time. This information will enable the implementation of targeted control measures, such
as the removal of alternate host plants and the eradication of arthropod vectors, where necessary.
The current lack of
knowledge regarding viral diversity in sunflower crops hinders effective management strategies. A comprehensive understanding of the viruses prevalent in a production area will empower
farmers to adopt more targeted control measures against their vectors. Furthermore, by
understanding the diversity of specific viruses, researchers can develop effective diagnostic assays.
Rapid testing using these assays will enable prompt actions in the event of localized epidemics and
enhance disease control efforts. Ultimately, this research serves as an early warning system, allowing
for timely implementation of control measures and protecting the sunflower industry from viral