Research Team Manager: Dr.
Isabel RongE-mail: RongI@arc.agric.zaOffice number: +27 (0)12 808 8138Campus: Roodeplaat, Pretoria
PLANT PATHOGENIC AND PLANT PROTECTING BACTERIA
BIOLOGICAL NITROGEN FIXATION
SOIL MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH
The Division, located in Roodeplaat East of Pretoria, provides specialist
research and routine diagnostic and advisory services on plant diseases
such as soil-borne diseases; seed-borne diseases and foliar diseases
using traditional and molecular techniques on fungal, bacterial and
viral pathogens with emphasis on those affecting crops to industries,
nurseries, commercial and small-scale farmers. The Division supports
Government Departments to meet statutory obligations; supplies cultures
to various clients including farmers, researchers, manufacturers, etc.; conducts national surveys of disease
outbreaks; biological control of plant diseases caused by bacteria;
provides plant pathogen etiology and management strategies;
soil microbiological population studies as indicators of soil health; quality control testing;
small holder and commercial farmer training on mushroom farming; and
maintains the South African Rhizobium Culture Collection (SARCC), plant
pathogenic and beneficial bacteria as well as Plant Virus sero reagent
and antisera collections. The SARCC is the state of art and regarded as a
Genetic Resource and as a National asset to assist sustainable
agriculture and crop production in South Africa.
main research focus areas of the Plant Microbiology & Pathology are
conducted within the following Units: Virology; Soil Health; Beneficial
Nitrogen Fixation; Soil borne Plant Diseases; Fungal and Bacteriology.
These specific focus areas are supported by
specialized skills; resources available and experts on plant
microbiology, pathology and soil health who investigate plant diseases
which attack many crops such as
ornamental plants, deciduous fruit trees, grapevines, vegetables, citrus, soil types, etc.
Our laboratories are registered with the South
African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to
provide plant pathogen diagnostic and advisory services. This role
include the responsibility to support DAFF with phytosanitary matters in
terms of safety and trade issues.
As a result of our research indicated above, the
Division contributes to the prevention and protection of contamination
of the food basket; impact on food safety and security; public health;
mitigate agricultural risks; and protection of natural resources. Our
research also contributes to enhanced crop yields for example influence
of conservation agriculture on soil health and soilborne diseases;
management strategies for pest and disease control; development of inoculants for biological nitrogen
fixation; and protection against crown-gall of vine and fruit trees.
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