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Prof. Jacquie van der Waals


Associate Professor Plant and Soil Sciences

Section: Plant Pathology



Office: Agriculture Building 2-11

Tel:  +27 (0)12 420 4065

Email: Jacquie.vdwaals [AT]

Twitter: @jacquievdw


My main research focus is the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of soil- and seed-borne diseases of potatoes. Diseases currently being investigated in my 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.). Soil-borne diseases are one of the most limiting factors in the production of potatoes and thus the main focus of the Potato Pathology Programme @ UP is understanding these pathogens and epidemiology of the diseases in order to improve management in the field. In order to do this, various techniques are combined to better understand disease spread and development in the field, interaction of host and pathogen, and ultimately use this information to provide growers with a risk assessment for the disease under consideration. I am also currently supervising students investigating the role of crop rotation on soil health and the effect thereof on pathogen inoculum in the soil, using a metagenomics approach. Two other soilborne diseases which are an integral part of my research focus are charcoal rot (Macrophomina phaseolina) and soybean stem rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum).

I have strong collaborations with researchers in Scotland, The Netherlands, Israel, Poland and Zimbabwe and also work closely with numerous South African colleagues at UP, UOFS and the Agricultural Research Council.


Selected publications:

Kandolo, S.D., Aveling, T.A.S., van der Waals, J.E., Truter, M., Laurie, S.M. 2018. Effects of wetness duration, inoculum concentration and temperature on the development of Alternaria blight on transplants of sweet potato. Acta Horticulturae 27: 211–217.

Zimudzi, J., van der Waals, J.E., Coutinho, T.A., Cowan, D.A. & Valverde, A. 2018. Temporal shifts of fungal communities in the rhizosphere and on tubers in potato fields. Fungal Biology 122: 928-934.

Muzhinji, M., Woodhall, J.W., Truter, M. & van der Waals, J.E. 2018. Variation in fungicide sensitivity among Rhizoctonia isolates recovered from potatoes in South Africa. Plant Disease  102: 1520-1526.

Shutt, V.M., Shin, G., van der Waals, J.E., Goszczynska, T. & Coutinho, T.A. 2018. Characterization of Ralstonia strains infecting tomato plants in South Africa. Crop Protection 112: 56-62.

Muzhinji, M., Woodhall, J.W., Truter, M. & van der Waals, J.E. 2018. Relative contribution of seed tuber- and soilborne inoculum to potato disease development and changes in the population genetic structure of Rhizoctonia solani AG 3-PT under field conditions in South Africa. Plant Disease 102: 60-66.

Zimudzi, J. Coutinho, T.A. & van der Waals, J.E. 2017. Pathogenicity of fungi isolated from atypical skin blemishes on potatoes in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Potato Research 60: 119-144.

Simango, K. & van der Waals, J.E. 2017. Effects of different soil treatments on the development of Spongospora subterranea f. sp. subterranea in potato roots and tubers in the greenhouse. Potato Research 60:47-60

Muzhinji, M., Woodhall, J.W., Truter, M. & van der Waals, J.E. 2016. Population genetic structure of Rhizoctonia solani AG 3-PT from potatoes in South Africa. Fungal Biology 120: 701-710.

Van der Waals, J.E., Steyn, J.M., Franke, A.C., Haverkort, A.J. 2016. Grower perceptions of biotic and abiotic risks of potato production in South Africa. Crop Protection 84: 44-55

Jordaan, E. & van der Waals, J.E. 2016. Streptomyces species associated with common scab lesions of potatoes in South Africa. European Journal of Plant Pathology 144: 631 - 643.

Du Raan, S., Coutinho, T.A. & van der Waals, J.E. 2016. Cardinal temperature differences, determined in vitro, between closely related species and subspecies of pectinolytic bacteria responsible for blackleg and soft rot on potatoes. European Journal of Plant Pathology 144: 361 - 369.

Muzhinji, M., Woodhall, J.W., Truter, M. & van der Waals, J.E. 2015. Anastomosis groups and pathogenicity of Rhizoctonia solani and binucleate Rhizoctonia from potatoes in South Africa. Plant Disease 99: 1790 - 1802.

Van der Waals, J.E., Franke, A.C., Haverkort, A.J., Krüger, K. & Steyn, J.M. 2013. Climate change and potato production in South Africa. 3. Effects on relative development rates of selected pests and pathogens. Potato Research 56: 67-84

Wright, J., Lees, A.K., van der Waals, J.E. 2012. Detection and eradication of Spongospora subterranea f. sp. subterraneain mini-tuber production tunnels. South African Journal of Science, 108 (5/6) Art #614

Van der Merwe, J.J., Coutinho, T.A., Korsten, L. & van der Waals, J.E. 2010. Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliensis causing blackleg on potatoes in South Africa. European Journal of Plant Pathology 126 (2): 175-185.





Topic / Title

Erika Botha

BSc (Agric) IV

Biocontrol of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on soybeans, using BRus biocontrol agent

Carmen Rensburg

MSc (Agric) I

Evaluation of soil treatments for management of Spongospora subterranea f.sp. subterranea on potatoes in

Sasha-Lee Gush


Elucidating the role of biotic and abiotic factors in causing corky crack blemishes on potato tubers in South Africa

Natalie Laughton

MSc (Agric) III

Writing up

Detection of soft rotting Enterobacteriaceae from irrigation water sources in South Africa

Liezl van den Hoven


Will graduate in Sept

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on soybeans in South Africa: Aspects of disease control and resistance

Chris Slabbert

MSc (Agric)

Will graduate in Sept

Control strategies and climatic factors affecting the incidence and severity of powdery scab on potatoes in South Africa

Knowledge Mushonga


The role of crop rotation in soil and plant health in a dry land production system in South African

Moleboheng Lekota


Genetics of resistance to powdery scab in potatoes

Joel Dube


Writing up

Root associated micro-organisms and their role in crop production in a region-specific crop rotation program for the Eastern Free State

Estiene Jordaan


Writing up

Integrated management of charcoal rot (Macrophomina phaseolina) of sunflower and soybean in South Africa

Dr Norman Muzhinji

Post-doctoral fellow


Lindie Erasmus

012 420 3261

Administrative assistant




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Last edited by Jacqueline van Der WaalsEdit