Molecular Plant Pathology

Dr Lindy Esterhuyzen - Molecular Plant Pathology


Profile photo of Dr Lindy Esterhuyzen 

Field of interest:

Over the last four decades, insect-transmitted geminiviruses has become recognized as emergent plant pathogens in various agro-ecosystems on a global scale. In South Africa whitefly-transmitted geminiviruses (WTG) threaten production of various economically important crops, including cassava, tomato, sweet potato and bean. Specifically tomato-infecting WTGs are currently associated with severe yield and quality losses throughout the country. The development of adequate disease management strategies and resistant cultivars require detailed information about the complex vector/virus/host pathosystem interactions that contribute to disease emergence. The general aim of this research group is to investigate the South African whitefly vector/geminivirus/host pathosystems with emphasis on (i) viral identity, distribution, host range and (ii) the diversity and geographic distribution of whitefly vector populations responsible for viral transmission.

The group works in close partnership with members of the South African seed industry, such as Sakata Vegenetics and Stark Ayeres, as well as ZZ2, one of the countries major tomato producers.


Current group members:


Profile photo of Sherrie-Ann New PhD Student
Sherrie-Ann New PhD Student

Research area: Determining the diversity of WTG infecting crops and indigenous plants species in selected South African provinces and biological characterization of viral species.


Profile photo of Leandri Rossouw - MSc student
Leandri Rossouw - MSc student

Research area: Metabolite profiling of defence-related secondary metabolites in Solanum lycopersicum, in response to whitefly mediated begomovirus infection.