3 Mar 2021

FABI researchers work with Sappi in KwaZulu-Natal

FABI team members visited various Sappi holdings in KwaZulu-Natal during the week of 22 February.


26 Feb 2021

Drivers and brakes of pathogen emergence

Professor Daniel Croll of the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland was the guest presenter of this month’s FABI International Seminar Series on 25 February.


19 Feb 2021

In memoriam: Professor Stefan Neser

Stefan passed away on Wednesday, 17 February 2021. Our deepest condolences to his wife Ottilie, his children, other members of his family, and the many special friends that he had in South Africa and abroad.


19 Feb 2021

Macadamia research program’s field visit to Mpumalanga

The Macadamia Protection Program (MPP) is back in the field! The team would like to thank Dr Schoeman for his valuable input, and the various macadamia growers for allowing us to visit and for making time for us.


18 Feb 2021

FABI biocontrol centre imports Anaphes nitens from Australia

The Eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus sp. The original shipment of Anaphes nitens received by F. Despite travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a shipment of Anaphes nitens collected in Queensland, Australia was received by the FABI biocontrol facility at the University of Pretoria’s experimental farm last week. The team at the FABI, Biocontrol facility would like to thank Dr Simon Lawson and Andy Howe for their perseverance and dedication in making the shipment possible. Photos of the Anaphes nitens female on a Gonipterus sp.


17 Feb 2021

Two FABIans attend the Leadership Academy for Agriculture

During the first week of February, two FABIans, Drs Mahlane Godfrey Kgatle and Miekie Human attended the first of three sessions of the “Leadership in the Connection Economy Programme”.


15 Feb 2021

New internship programme begins at FABI

On 1 February, a new internship programme was launched at FABI under the auspices of the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Plant Health Biotechnology (CPHB).


12 Feb 2021

Professor Ströh addresses FABI MMM

Professor Anton Ströh, Vice-Principal: Institutional Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and acting Vice-Principle for Research and Post-graduate Educationat the University of Pretoria was the guest speaker at the FABI Monday Morning Meeting (MMM) of 8 February. Innovation Africa @UP is an important part of this plan to drive transdisciplinary research and FABI is a core part of this flagship project. FABI Director Prof.


12 Feb 2021

US collaborators visit FABI to plan a joint research project

Long-time FABI research collaborator and extraordinary staff member of the Institute, Prof.


11 Feb 2021

Disease screening of maize genotypes in the Eastern Cape

Drs David Nsibo and Mahlane Godfrey Kgatle of the Grain Research Program (GRP) travelled to the Rocky Park Farm in Ugie, Eastern Cape, from 25-27 January 2021. The team would like to thank Sinelizwi Fakade and Lesego Selokela for assisting the team with the planting and maintenance of the MCT at Rocky Park Farm and the University of Pretoria, respectively.


8 Feb 2021

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.


4 Feb 2021

Congratulations to Ntombikayise Nkomo on completing her PhD

FABI celebrated the completion of the second PhD in 2021 with Ntombi Nkomo producing what FABI Director Prof. Ntombi’s primary supervisor was Prof. Several members of the soft rot Pectobacteriaceae family such as Pectobacterium brasiliense1692 (Pb1692) attack a wide range of crops worldwide with P. The objective of Ntombi’s PhD study was to determine the role of two transcriptional regulators SlyA and PhoP in the biology of Pb1692.


1 Feb 2021

Industry partners seconded to the University of Pretoria

Dr Miekie Human and Stefan Links are employed by Grain SA, but have been seconded to the University of Pretoria with effect from 1 February for part of their time.


29 Jan 2021

FABI’s International Seminar Series resumes focussing on the impact mycotoxins on human health

ABI’s very successful and popular International Seminar Series that was established early in 2020 hosted its first seminar for 2021 on 28 January.


28 Jan 2021

Khumbhuzile Bophela presents the first FABI Prestige Seminar in 2021

FABI congratulates Khumbuzile Bophela on being the first FABIan to successfully complete all degree requirements to pass her PhD in 2021.


28 Jan 2021

FABI researchers feature prominently in FSA magazine

The research programmes and activities of several FABIans are profiled in the second issue of the Timber Industry Present magazine (TIP-MAG), an online publication of the Timber Industry Pesticides Working Group (TIPWG) of Forestry South Africa (FSA).


25 Jan 2021

FABI hosts a virtual SASPP Symposium

On 20 January, FABI had the pleasure of hosting a virtual congress of the South African Society of Plant Pathologists’ (SASPP).


22 Jan 2021

New book on pests and diseases of Pine and Eucalyptus in Colombia published

Professor Mike Wingfield and FABI alumnus Dr Carlos Rodas have co-authored a new book entitled “Important insect pests and diseases of Pinus and Eucalyptus in Colombia”.


22 Jan 2021

ARP team members visit Tzaneen

During the week of 18 January, members of the Avocado Research Programme (ARP), Dr Velushka Swart, PhD candidate Phinda Magagula and MSc candidate Raven Wienk travelled to Tzaneen. Finally, to ensure that this trip served to accomplish as much as possible, they visited several Macadamia orchards in the area to sample nuts with Husk rot symptoms on behalf of the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP).


20 Jan 2021

Mike unpacks FABI’s past at MMM

Following the recent clearing-out of 30 years’ paperwork, Prof. Mike Wingfield shared some of the 32-year history of the Institute at the Monday Morning Meeting (MMM) of 18 January.


15 Jan 2021

FABIans get 2021 up and running

ABI officially opened for the new year starting with an online Monday Morning Meeting on 11 January.


11 Jan 2021

RGE-FABI THP symposium links three continents

The RGE-FABI Tree Health Programme (THP) hosted its annual symposium on 3 December.


14 Dec 2020

FABI wishes for the Festive Season and 2021

We wish you a restful holiday period, and all the very best for 2021!


13 Dec 2020

FABIans contribute to special issues in two scientific journals commemorating the International Year of Plant Health

The United Nations has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), in recognition of the urgent need for greater global collaboration to protect plant health.


11 Dec 2020

FABI became the first institute of Innovation Africa@UP in 2020

Innovation Africa@UP is a new business unit within the University of Pretoria that stems from the renaming and repositioning of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Hatfield Experimental Farm. In 2020, the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) became the first institute to join the Innovation Africa@UP unit. “The Innovation Africa@UP concept is an excellent example of innovative thinking towards harnessing industry-government-academia knowledge and knows how, in building a sustainable and resilient future for us all. Prof Bernard Slippers, Director of FABI and also of this new initiative is very excited about this new venture. An earlier version of this article appeared in the newsletter of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.


10 Dec 2020

Join us for the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology conference on 20 January!

We are excited to connect with you on 20 January for our Southern African Society for Plant Pathology(SASPP) hybrid meeting at Future Africa at the University of Pretoria.


10 Dec 2020

Prof. Kupe visits FABI to discuss the need to rethink, reimagine and reposition higher education in a post-COVID-19 world

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Tawana Kupe addressed the FABI Monday Morning Meeting on 30 November on higher education reimagined in the post COVID-19 world. COVID-19 has many negative implications for higher education. Notwithstanding the challenges, the pandemic has highlighted the need for a hybrid or blended education. Universities also have enormous research and development resources to contribute to the transformation of society. This is Professor Kupe’s third visit to FABI since his appointment at UP, and much appreciated by the community.


9 Dec 2020

Recently-appointed Sappi Vice President visits FABI

FABI was honoured to host a visit by the newly-appointed Vice President: Sappi Forests, Duane Roothman on 2 December.


8 Dec 2020

Last tree planting event for 2020

Forty FABIans from the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) and Grain Research programme (GRP) got their hands dirty replanting 200 pine and 1500 Eucalyptus seedlings into potting bags at the last tree planting event for 2020 on 27 November. This year’s tree planting also included students from the GRP who harvested maize leaves.


7 Dec 2020

Treatment trials established to fight Phytophthora die-back in Kirstenbosch gardens

South Africa’s iconic silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum) are listed as Endangered (EN) in the Red List of South African Plants.


2 Dec 2020

Almuth Hammerbacher promoted to Associate Professor

FABI congratulates Dr Almuth Hammerbacher on her well-deserved promotion to Associate Professor, effective January 2021.


1 Dec 2020

FABI PhD student presents at Entomology 2020

Ms Luki-Marie Scheepers, a PhD student in the Applied Chemical Ecology research group in FABI, presented her and her co-authors’ work on the Pine Emperor moth, Nudaurelia clarki, at the prestigious Entomological Society of America (ESA) annual meeting ‘Entomology 2020’. Annual conferences like these are usually highly anticipated collaboration and networking events and this year was no different despite it being hosted virtually. The online platform empowered a global audience, from 51 countries, to watch a total of 87 symposia divided into sections including systematics, medical science, ecosystems and physiology. The symposium content was full of variety, ranging from how bumblebees cope with self-created heat, how a fly evades your swat on a neural level and so much more. This conference illustrates the grit and innovation of researchers worldwide to continue networking, collaborating, innovating and working towards a finding answers for real-world problems despite a gripping global restriction on movement.


30 Nov 2020

Beauty in biodiversity and research excellence celebrated at 2020 year-end function

FABIans celebrated their stellar achievements in 2020 and toasted to new partnerships on 21 November at the first virtual year-end function.


27 Nov 2020

FABIans’ excellence celebrated at UP Academic Achievers Awards

Eight FABI researchers were honoured at the University of Pretoria Academic Achievers Award event on 25 November. Professors Fanus Venter and Dave Berger were both honoured with the Exceptional Academic Achievers Award.


26 Nov 2020

Researchers in the GRP lay the foundation for future research projects in Ugie, EC

Drs David Nsibo and Mahlane Godfrey Kgatle in the Grain Research Program (GRP) planted the first maize cultivar trials and configured a weather station on 19 November at Rocky Park Farm in Ugie, Eastern Cape.