US FR 20-01
Prof. F. Roets
Department of Conservation Ecology, Stellenbosch University
This project will do preliminary investigations into the host status of grapevine to the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle (PSHB). Researchers also aim to characterise the pathogenicity of Fusarium euwallaceae to grapevines and assess the effect of infection by F. euwallaceae on plant health parameters such as leaf and fruit development and chlorosis. Importantly, this will inform future studies on mitigation measures where needed.
The invasive (PSHB) is a devastating insect pest that, together with its symbiotic fungus F. euwallaceae, can kill a wide range of hosts and cause significant economic damage. Its presence has recently been confirmed in the Western Cape. The effect of beetle infestation and infection with the Fusarium dieback fungus on grapevine is currently unknown. A list of known host tree species for the beetle in South Africa includes grapevine. The report on grapevine is from single plants in garden settings and extrapolating effects on agricultural systems is therefore not possible, hence the need for this research.