Above and Below Ground: Diseases Threatening Sustainable Potato Production

Above and Below Ground: Diseases Threatening Sustainable Potato Production

The World Potato Congress is very pleased to be beginning its Fall webinar series on November 12, 2020 with Professor Jacquie van der Waals from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Professor van der Waals will present – “Above and Below Ground: Diseases threatening sustainable potato production”. This presentation will discuss three important disease complexes in potatoes, namely Rhizoctoniasis, soft rot and blackleg, early blight and brown spot. For each of these disease complexes, Prof van der Waals will introduce the pathogen, give a description of symptoms, discuss the disease cycle and touch on basic management principles.

Prof Jacquie van der Waals is an associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP). She began her research career on potatoes in 1998, with a PhD on the epidemiology of early blight on potatoes and since then established the Potato Pathology Programme at the University of Pretoria (PPP @ UP), which is one of the flagship research programmes funded by Potatoes South Africa (PSA). Jacquie’s main research focus is the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of soil- and seed-borne diseases of potatoes. Diseases currently being investigated in her research programme include powdery scab (Spongospora subterranea f. sp. subterranea), black scurf and stem canker (Rhizoctonia solani), and blackleg and soft rot (Pectobacterium and Dickeya spp.). She is also exploring the role of crop rotation on soil and crop health.

Over the course of Jacquie’s career, she has been involved in many national and international research projects. One of these investigated the effect of climate change on trends in relative development rate on selected potato pests and pathogens over a 90-year period. Recommendations were made to growers in terms of shifting of planting dates and alteration of management practices. She has published 48 scientific articles, several chapters in books and more than 40 popular articles as author or co-author. She has also received many awards for the quality of her research and her contribution to the field of plant pathology.

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