FABI team members visited various Sappi holdings in KwaZulu-Natal during the week of 22 February.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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).
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.
Long-time FABI research collaborator and extraordinary staff member of the Institute, Prof.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ABI’s very successful and popular International Seminar Series that was established early in 2020 hosted its first seminar for 2021 on 28 January.
FABI congratulates Khumbuzile Bophela on being the first FABIan to successfully complete all degree requirements to pass her PhD in 2021.
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).
On 20 January, FABI had the pleasure of hosting a virtual congress of the South African Society of Plant Pathologists’ (SASPP).
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”.
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).
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.
ABI officially opened for the new year starting with an online Monday Morning Meeting on 11 January.
The new year got off to a busy start when Prof.
The RGE-FABI Tree Health Programme (THP) hosted its annual symposium on 3 December.
We wish you a restful holiday period, and all the very best for 2021!
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.
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.
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.
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.
FABI was honoured to host a visit by the newly-appointed Vice President: Sappi Forests, Duane Roothman on 2 December.
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.
South Africa’s iconic silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum) are listed as Endangered (EN) in the Red List of South African Plants.
FABI congratulates Dr Almuth Hammerbacher on her well-deserved promotion to Associate Professor, effective January 2021.
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.
FABIans celebrated their stellar achievements in 2020 and toasted to new partnerships on 21 November at the first virtual year-end function.
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.
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.