Fieldwork To Understand The Emerging Ceratocystis Threat To Eucalyptus In South Africa
From 17-19 February, some members of the Ceratocystis team, Dr
Irene Barnes, and TPCPstudents and Postdocs, Arista Fourie, Dr FeiFei
Liu and Granny Hlongwane, went on a field trip to Kwambonambi,
KwaZulu-Natal to observe the Ceratocystis infection on Eucalyptus hybrid clones in the plantations.
Guided by Prof Jolanda Roux from SAPPI, the team was able to observe typical Ceratocystis symptoms
such as stem cankers, wilting, and streaks of vascular discolouration
in the stems and roots of diseased plants. The team also noted great
growth variation between healthy and diseased hybrid clones of the same
Diseased plant and soil samples were collected from three different sites for further analysis at FABI.
Granny Hlongwane will
process these samples as part of her MSc project to determine the
distribution of the pathogen in the plant and soil samples and to
determine the genetic diversity of the Ceratocystis population.
The team also discovered some other fungal gems in the plantation debris including birds nest and stink horn fungi.
Please see the Tech Alert PDF for more information on the symptoms associated with Ceratocystis wilt of eucalypts.