Study of Claviceps in SA: morphology, geographical distribution, host range, toxicology and phylogenetic relationships. Primary investigator: Dr E.J. van der Linde, ARC-PPRI; collaborators on different aspects: Prof C. Botha, University of Pretoria, Prof G. Rottinghaus, University Missouri, USA, Dr S. Pazoutova, Lab. Genetics, Physiology and Bioengineering, Czech Republic
Ongoing survey of the microbial population dynamics in a karst ecosystem. Primary investigator: Dr F du Randt, University of Johannesburg; collaborator: Dr A. Jacobs-Venter, ARC-PPRI
The fungal genus Claviceps is an important plant pathogen on grasses and sedges. Taxonomic research on South African species is being done as continuation of a PhD project. Most of the work already completed was done on one species on yellow nut sedge which caused ergotism in milk cows due to the mycotoxins produced by it. The work was published in Mycologia 99: 586-591 (2007). Follow-up studies involve phylogenetic relationships between species, description of new species, germination studies on sclerotia, an investigation into the mycotoxin production of some species as well as its possible role as tool in taxonomy.