• The prevalence of Q-fever and Toxoplasmosis in slaughter animals in abattoirs of Gauteng and Mpumalanga regions of South Africa and development of cell mediated immunity biomarkers.

Q-fever and Toxoplasmosis are among the most understudied reproductive zoonoses in the world due to their asymptomatic nature in animals. Both zoonoses are economically important as they cause loss of productivity through abortions, foetal deaths and endometritis in infected wildlife and livestock. Abattoirs are an important source of passive disease surveillance. We are currently investigating the prevalence of Q- fever and Toxoplasmosis in South African livestock and game, using abattoirs as sampling points.

  • Evaluation of the capacity of mangiferin to impact infection and aflatoxin contamination of maize by Aspergillus flavus

Toxigenic strain of A. flavus produce aflatoxin B1(AFB1), aflatoxin B2(AFB2) and often cyclopiazonic acid (CPD); with AFB1 and AFB2 being the most relevant in food safety. Aflatoxins are highly carcinogenic and their ingestion by humans or livestock in high doses results in acute toxicity that can be fatal. Evidence shows that mangiferin, which is a natural antioxidant found in plants such as mango and honeybush, can inhibit growth of Aspergillus and can have significant anticancer activity. We are currently investigating the effect of treatment of maize seeds with mangiferin on the infection and colonization of maize seedlings by A. flavus.

  • Optimization and validation of a multiplex PCR assay for serotyping of Salmonella

PCR offers efficient and more accurate methods for detection and strain typing of pathogens. In this study we have optimized and currently validating a multiplex PCR assay for serotyping of Salmonella spp. The assay will offer an alternative to the more laborious traditional typing assay.

  • Molecular characterization of Clostridium perfringens strains isolated from different host species in South Africa

We are characterizing different strain types of C. perfringens from different host species by PCR and sequencing of different target genes.

Collaborators

  • University of Pretoria: Faculty of Veterinary Science

  • University of Western Cape: Faculty of Natural Sciences

  • Utrecht University: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

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