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SASPP Western Cape Branch Meeting – 3 April 2023 at Neethlingshof Winery

On 3 April 2023, eighty plant pathology enthusiasts from all over the Western Cape came together at Neethlingshof Winery, Stellenbosch, to share ideas and learn more about their fellow researchers’ work.

The Western Cape branch meeting of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathologists (SASPP) was kicked off by Prof Gerhard Pietersen, who gave an interesting keynote presentation titled “Management of a serious virus disease through sustained, industry-supported research: The South African grapevine leafroll disease control story”.

Thirteen doctoral students with plant pathology-related projects were then given the opportunity to present their research. The presentations covered a variety of topics, including virus control and pathogenomics; pathogen detection and epidemiology; applied plant pathology; and postharvest pathology and technology. There was also an opportunity to view posters related to the presentations in the wine cellar of the winery.

Dr Isabelle Robene, a visiting researcher from the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) in Réunion, treated attendees to her presentation on “INDICANTS project: INnovative DIagnostiCs for bANana paThogens Surveillance”. She was followed by Dr Ali EE Ali from the University of the Western Cape who presented his work titled “Antifungal role of hydrogen sulfide against Aspergillus flavus in maize”.

At the end of the day, the best PhD presentation and poster were awarded. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Wynand van Jaarsveld, the presentation winner and Stefni van der Walt, the poster winner, on a job well done! We would like to thank all the sponsors of the day – Inqaba, Hill & Dale, La Grenade, Patho Solutions, Real IPM, Tessara, and especially Bayer, who sponsored the meeting venue for the day.

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