Rabie Saunders Building
+27 (0) 33 260 5524
I was born and schooled in Zimbabwe, and came to the University of Natal to study biological sciences in 1977. Falling in love with Plant Pathology, and conducting of research, I have been lucky enough to make my career at this university, starting as a lecturer and ending up as the Professor and Head of Department.
University of Natal: BSc 1979, BSc Honours 1980, PhD 1996.
Current president of the South African Society for Plant Pathology, having been a member for 33 years.
Member of the following societies:
- International Society for Plant Pathology
- American Phytopathology Society
- South African Society for Entomologists
- South African Society for Horticultural Science
- International Society for Silicon in Agriculture (founder member)
- PHI Board of Management
- Frontiers Plant Studies sub-editor
- Dante Aligieri (Pmb) Committee
Plant Pathology at the Honours level; supervision or co-supervision of 6 post-docs, 16 PhD, 24 MSc and 4 Honours students.
Research Interests/Areas of Specialty
Biological control of pests, pathogens, nematodes, weeds, parasites; plant breeding of African crops; agricultural engineering inventions; forestry pathology and horticulture.
- The African Centre for Crop Improvement : training over hundred PhD’s from 14 countries in Africa in plant breeding of African food security crops. Funding: AGRA
- Biofuel crops: breeding of sweet stem sorghum and tropical sugarbeet for the production of sugar on an annual basis at sites where sugarcane will not perform. Funding: the Technology Innovation Agency
- Biocontrol of insects: isolating viruses, bacteria and fungi that kill important insect pests of crops and animals. Funding: Plant Health Products
- Biocontrol of nematodes and flukes of livestock: this involves isolating and screening hundreds of strains of bacteria and fungi, and plant extracts, for the control of “wireworm” and liver fluke of sheep and cattle. Funding: MilkSA
- Biocontrol of mastitis of dairy cows: isolate, screen and produce bacteriophage is for the control of mastitis in dairy cows. Funding: MilkSA
- Biocontrol of nematodes of crops: isolating screen hundreds of bacteria and fungi for the control of nematodes (eelworm) of crops. Funding: Plant Health Products
- Biocontrol of Fusarium cob rot of maize: funding: SA Maize Trust
- Biocontrol of rusts of soybeans. Funding: Protein Research Foundation
- Biocontrol of Sclerotinia of sunflowers. Funding: Oilseeds Trust
- Biocontrol and hot water treatment of citrus to control moulds. Funding: the Industrial Development Corporation
- Biocontrol of avocado anthracnose. Funding: Baynesfield Estate
- Epidemiological studies on avocado blackspot. Funding: South African Avocado Growers Association
- Proteomic studies of black wattle for frost tolerance. Funding: ICFR
- Management of abiotic stress in eucalypts. Funding: NCT
- Vegetative propagation of a new timber crop, Corymbia henryii. Funding: NCT
- Optimising the performance of a novel solar chimney technology for a seed store.
- Optimising the performance of a novel vegetable drying technology.
- Development of a small-scale hot water treatment system for citrus and other fruit for the control of post-harvest diseases.
- Biological control of rust in wheat. Funding: ARC
- Biological control of Russian wheat aphid in wheat. Funding: ARC
- Breeding of superior sweet potatoes for South African conditions with elevated protein content. Funding: ARC
- Breeding of maize for resistance to the parasitic weed, Striga asiatica plus and biocontrol of Striga. Funding: AGRA and Rockefeller Foundation
SAEES committees, SAEES Board, SAAES Manco, WACCI Board of Management.
217 publications as of March 2017.