Sweet potato leaves showing symptoms of virus infection

​Infection by plant viruses reduce quality and production of most vegetable crops. Researchers in the Crop Protection Division of the Agricultural Research Council, Vegetable and Ornamental Plants are currently undertaking scientific research that is aimed at identifying and characterizing viruses that affect production of commercial vegetables (potato, sweet potato, cucurbits, spinach, beetroot etc.), indigenous vegetables and ornamental flower bulbs. The work facilitate the development of management strategies to minimize occurrences and production losses. The work ultimately contribute to increased production and quality of crops for smallholder, emerging and commercial vegetables. Some of the research activities conducted includes identification and genetic characterization of viruses of potato, sweet potato, Swiss chard, etc., and viruses of ornamental bulbs. Techniques such as the antibody-based enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), nucleic acid methods such as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and PCR, which include DNA sequencing of part of the virus genome and the complete genome using next generation sequencing are used.

Contact: Ms Julia Mulabisana


Cloete, M., Mabasa, K., Mulabisana, J., Visser, A., Rakuambo, J. & Netshifhehe, S. 2013.  Evaluation of commercial potato cultivars for resistance to the tuber necrotic strain of Potato Virus Y. Proceedings of the second All Africa Horticulture Conference. Acta Horticulturae 1007, 255-260.

Laurie, S.M., Myeza, P.N., Mulabisana, M.J., Mabasa, K.G., Thompson, A., Greyling, R., Cloete, M. & Adebola, P.O. 2016. In vitro propagation and disease testing as a means of producing healthy planting materials to support root and tuber crops production in South Africa. Acta Horticulturae 1113. DOI 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1113.34.

Mulabisana, J., Cloete, M., Mabasa, K., Laurie, S.M., Oelofse, D. & Rey, M.E.C. 2015. Genetic characterization of viruses infecting sweet potato in South Africa. Acta Horticulturae 1105, 155-161. DOI 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1105.22.

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