Dr Katrin Fitza

Postdoctoral Fellow


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) with Prof. Bernard Slippers. My current research focus is to dive deeper into understanding the diversity and specificity of the SirexDeladenusAmylostereum complex. Sirex noctilio being a great threat to the pine forestry industry worldwide, makes this project a very important one to combat the pest using the biocontrol agent D. siricidicola. The nematode native range includes North America Europe and Asia. Through years of human breeding and interbreeding, a highly efficient, but also highly inbred line of the nematode (the Kamona strain) has been established throughout Southern Hemisphere plantations. It has become evident that this lack of diversity could be affecting the efficiency of the biological control system.

I am also currently the co-ordinator of the new FABI Internship program that started in 2021.

IUFRO 24th World Congress (05-11 October 2014)

Poster: ” Diversity of the parasitic nematode Deladenus siricidicola and its relevance as a biological control agent”

IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania (24-27 October 2016)

Poster: ” Amylostereum association with Japanese siricids”

TPCP-CTHB meeting Pretoria (15-17 May 2017)

Talk: ”Diversity in Sirex Biological Control: The power of international collaborations”

ESSA-ZSSA combined congress (3-7 July 2017)

Talk: “Genetic diversity of Deladenus siricidicola, the biological control agent of the woodwasp Sirex noctilio”

TPCP-CTHB meeting Pretoria (14-16 May 2018)

Talk: ”Sirex research at FABI”

SIP conference (12-16 August 2018)

Talk: ”Genetic diversity of global collections of Deladenus siricidicola”

SIP conference (01-04 August 2022)

Talk: ”Characterising Deladenus (Tylenchida: Neotylenchidae) species associated with Siricidae in North America from preserved

FABI award for mentorship 2016

The Society for Invertebrate Pathology Symposium Speaker Travel Award 2018


FABI welcomes the 2023 interns

FABI welcomed eight new members that join the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Plant Health Biotechnology (CPHB) Internship in Phytosanitation and Biosecurity.

FABI Interns graduate

FABI celebrated the accomplishments of nine interns in the FABI Internship in Phytosanitation and Biosecurity on 9 December.

Interns present a research seminar

Members of the FABI Internship in Phytosanitation and Biotechnology programme presented a research seminar.

FABIans win multiple awards at Invertebrate Pathology meeting

Several FABIans attended the recent virtual 2022 International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control.

FABI welcomes 2022 Interns

FABI welcomed ten new interns to the Institute on 1 February.

CPHB Interns graduate

FABI celebrated the graduation of nine interns in the FABI Internship in Phytosanitation and Biotechnology programme on 19 January.

FABI’s Internship Programme in Phytosanitation and Biosecurity expands even further

Two more candidates, Phozisa Dlokweni and Sindiso Mtshubungu joined the internship programme in Phytosanitation and Biosecurity at FABI on 1 October. Phozisa and Sindiso both have obtained degrees in forestry at the Nelson Mandela University.

FABI Phytosanitation and Biosecurity interns attend a phytosanitary course

Interns in the Phytosanitation and Biosecurity internship programme in FABI had the privilege to attend a two-day introductory phytosanitary course recently.

FABI's Internship Programme is growing

Two more candidates joined the FABI Internship programme on 1 April.

Contributing to the USDA Beech Leaf Disease Workshop

Dr. Katrin Fitza and other international speakers from were given the opportunity to present on their work on an online workshop hosted by the USDA.

FABI's Writing Club going strong

It goes without saying that publishing scientific papers is crucial for a successful science career. Another important part of the writing and publishing process is reviewing and editing. FABI PhD candidate, Katrin Fitza, started a “Writing Club” in 2016 to support this process, and to learn about reviewing and editing at the same time.

FABI PhD Student participates in international Invertebrate Pathology Conference

FABI PhD candidate Katrin Fitza took part in the Society of Invertebrate Pathology (SIP) conference. This annual meeting gathers around 400 people from around the world. This year the conference was held on the Gold Coast in Australia from 12-17 August.

Export to RIS
Eshetu FB, Barnes I, Nahrung FH, Fitza KNE, Meurisse N, Slippers B. (2023) Unexpected diversity in historical biological control programs: Population genetics of the nematode Deladenus siricidicola in Australia and New Zealand. Biological Control 180:105183. 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2023.105183
Fitza KNE, Garnas JR, Slippers B. (2022) Experimental admixture among distinct lineages of Deladenus siricidicola, the biocontrol agent of Sirex noctilio. Biological Control 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2022.104875
Hurley BP, Fitza KNE, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2019) Sequence data reflect the introduction pathways of the Sirex woodwasp parasitoid, Ibalia leucospoides (Ibaliidae, Hymenoptera). Agricultural and Forest Entomology 10.1111/afe.12367
Fitza KNE, Garnas JR, Lombardero MJ, Ayres MP, Krivak-Tetley FE, Ahumada R, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2019) The global diversity of Deladenus siricidicola in native and non-native populations. Biological Control 132:57-65. 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2019.01.014 PDF
Fitza KNE, Garnas JR, Lombardero MJ, Ayres MP, Krivak-Tetley FE, Ahumada R, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2019) The global diversity of Deladenus siricidicola in native and non-native populations. Biological Control 132:57-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2019.01.014
Fitza KNE, Tabata M, Kanzaki N, Kimura K, Garnas J, Slippers B. (2016) Host specificity and diversity of Amylostereum associated with Japanese siricids. Fungal Ecology 24(A):76-81. 10.1016/j.funeco.2016.08.005
Kanzaki N, Tanaka SE, Fitza KNE, Kosaka H, Slippers B, Kimura K, Tsuchiya S, Tabata M. (2016) Deladenus nitobei n. sp. (Tylenchomorpha: Allantonematidae) isolated from Sirex nitobei (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) from Aomori, Japan, a new member of the siricidicola superspecies. Nematology 18(10):1199-1217. 10.1163/15685411-00003025
Lombardero MJ, Ayres MP, Krivak-Tetley FE, Fitza KNE. (2016) Population biology of the European woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, in Galicia, Spain. Bulletin of Entomological Research 106(5):569-580. 10.1017/S0007485316000043
Fitza K, Payn KG, Steenkamp ET, Myburg AA, Naidoo S. (2013) Chitosan application improves resistance to Fusarium circinatum in Pinus patula. South African Journal of Botany 85:70-78.
Fitza KNE, Steenkamp E, Payn K, Naidoo S. (2011) Induced resistance and associated defence gene responses in Pinus patula. BMC Proceedings 5:82. 10.1186/1753-6561-5-S7-P82