Prof Lise Korsten

Professor in Plant Pathology

Section: Plant Pathology

Co-Director of the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security

Office: Agricultural Sciences Building 2-17

Tel: +27 (0)12 420 3295

Fax: +27 (0)12 420 4588

Email: lise.korsten[AT]



Prof Korsten is the Co-Director of the Department of Science and Innovation, Centre of Excellence in Food Security. She is also responsible for the food safety and regulatory control programmes within the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security and actively interacts with other researchers in various institutes. She holds the position of chair in the Global Task Force of Food Security for the International Society for Plant Pathology. Prof Korsten has addressed the South African Parliament on Food Safety Control and has developed a national framework for government to develop a Food Control Authority.

She has been able to attract extensive national and international long term funding such as the Water Research Commission solicited research projects “Measurement of water pollution determining the sources and changes of microbial contamination and impact on food safety from farming to retail level for fresh vegetables”, “An investigation into the link between water quality and microbiological safety of fruit and vegetables from the farming to the processing stages of production and marketing” and “Evaluation of the risks associated with the use of rain water harvested from roof-tops for domestic use and homestead food gardens, and groundwater for domestic use and livestock watering”, as well as the 7th EU Framework project “Impact of climate change and globalisation on safety of fresh produce - governing a supply chain of uncompromised food sovereignty.

Prof Korsten developed South Africa's first biocontrol agent for fruit and established a biocontrol research group at the University of Pretoria (1992). She has also established a fresh produce health group that focusses on food safety of fresh produce and on Sanitary and Phytosanitary aspects related to international trade.

Prof Korsten has focussed her research mainly on the complementary fields of postharvest technology and food safety as related to international trade in fresh produce. As a team the Plant Health and Safety research group has been able to develop several innovative technologies to reduce disease and prevent product contamination. The value of her research programmes (Produce Quality and Safety (PQS) and Postharvest Innovation Research) is best illustrated by sustained industry financial support, intensive student training and publications. Prof Korsten has established a core of researchers and support staff that has been with her for the past 20 years totally funded by the Industry. She has supervised 51 MSc students, 20 PhD students and 11 Postdocs.

Recent Publications
  1. Wassermann, B.,Abdelfattah, A., Müller, H., Korsten, L., and Berg, G. 2022. The microbiome and resistome of apple fruits alter in the post-harvest period. Environmental microbiome, 17 (1), 1-15.
  2. Baloyi, T., Duvenage, S., Du Plessis, E., Villamizar-Rodríguez, G., and Korsten, L. 2022. Multidrug resistant Escherichia coli from fresh produce sold by street vendors in South African informal settlements. International journal of environmental health research, 32 (7), 1513-1528.
  3. Bill, M., Gokul, J.K., Viljoen, F., and Korsten, L. 2022. Fungal microbiome shifts on avocado fruit associated with a combination of postharvest chemical and physical interventions. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 133(3), 1905-1918.
  4. Crous, P.W., Sandoval-Denis, M., Costa, M.M., Groenewald, J.Z., van Iperen, A.L., Starink-Willemse, M., Hernández-Restrepo, M., Kandemir, H., Ulaszewski, B., de Boer, W., et al., 2022. Fusarium and Allied Fusarioid Taxa (FUSA). 1. Fungal Systematics and Evolution, 9 (1), 161-200.
  5. Micallef, S.A., Du Plessis, E.M., Duvenage, S., and Korsten, L. 2022. ESKAPE (d) into the Food Chain? Harnessing the Power of Whole Genome Sequencing in Fresh Produce Production from Farm to Retail for the Surveillance of Antimicrobial-Resistant Foodborne Pathogens. European Symposium on Food Safety 2022.
  6. Richter, L., du Plessis, E.M., Duvenage, S. and Korsten, L. 2022. Microbiological safety of spinach throughout commercial supply chains in Gauteng Province, South Africa and characterization of isolated multidrug‐resistant Escherichia coli. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 132 (3), 2389-2409.
  7. Savary, S.,Waddington, S., Akter, S., Almekinders, C.J.M., Harris, J., Korsten, L., et al. 2022. Revisiting food security in 2021: an overview of the past year. Food Security, 1-7.
  8. Ratshilingano, M.T., du Plessis, E.M., Duvenage, S., and Korsten, L. 2021. Characterization of Multidrug-Resistant Escherichia coli Isolated from Two Commercial Lettuce and Spinach Supply Chains. Journal of Food Protection, 85 (1), 122-132.
  9. Duvenage, S., Rossouw, W., Villamizar-Rodríguez, G., du Plessis, E.M., & Korsten, L. 2021. Antibiotic resistance profiles of Staphylococcus spp. from white button mushrooms and handlers. South African Journal of Science. 117(11/12).
  10. Bill, M., Chidamba, L., Gokul, J.K. & Korsten, L. 2021. Mango Endophyte and Epiphyte Microbiome Composition during Fruit Development and Post-Harvest Stages. Horticulturae, 7(11), 495.
  11. Iwu, C.D., du Plessis, E., Korsten, L., and Okoh, A.I. 2021. Antibiogram imprints of E. coli O157: H7 recovered from irrigation water and agricultural soil samples collected from two district municipalities in South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 78 (6), 940-953.
  12. Caron, P., van Ittersum, M., Avermaete, T., Brunori, G., Fanzo, J., Giller, K., Hainzelin, E., Ingram, J., Korsten, L., Martin-Prével, Y., Osiru, M., Palm, C., Rivera Ferre, M., Rufino, M., Schneider, S., Thomas, A. & Walker, D. 2021. Statement based on the 4TH international conference on global food security - December 2020: Challenges for a disruptive research Agenda. Global Food Security, Volume 30, 100554, ISSN 2211- 9124.
  13. du Plessis, E.M., Duvenage, S., Korsten, L. and Sigge,G. 2021. Measurement of water pollution determining the sources and changes of microbial contamination and impact on food safety from farming to retail level for fresh vegetables. Water Research Commission Report 2021.
  14. Loots, M., Chidamba, L. & Korsten, L. 2021. Microbial load and prevalence of Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. in macadamia nut production systems. Journal of Food Protection 84 (6): 1088-1096. DOI 10.4315/JFP-20-23.
  15. Iwu, C.D., Du Plessis, E.M., Korsten, L. & Okoh, A.I. 2020. Prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 strains in irrigation water and agricultural soil in two district municipalities in South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 78(3), 474-483.
  16. Wassermann, B., Korsten, L. & Berg, G. 2021. Plant health and sound vibration: Analyzing implications of the microbiome in grape wine leaves. Pathogens 12;10(1):63. doi:10.3390/pathogens10010063.
  17. Richter, L., du Plessis, E.M., Duvenage, S., Allam, M., Ismail, A., and Korsten, L. 2021. Whole genome sequencing of extended-spectrum-and AmpC-β-lactamase-positive enterobacterales isolated from spinach production in Gauteng Province, South Africa, Frontiers in Microbiology, 12.
  18. Richter, L., Du Plessis, E.M., Duvenage, S. & Korsten, L. 2021. High prevalence of multidrug resistant Escherichia coli isolated from fresh vegetables sold by selected formal and informal traders in the most densely populated province of South Africa. Journal of Food Science 86 (1):161-168.
  19. Bill, M., Chidamba, L., Gokul, J.K., Labuschagne, N. and Korsten, L. 2020. Bacterial community dynamics and functional profiling of soils from conventional and organic cropping systems: a case study at Saasveld, Western Cape South Africa. Applied Soil Ecology, 157:
  20. Broekman, A. Steyn,  W.J.M., Steyn, J.L.P., Bill, M., and Korsten, L. 2020. smAvo and smaTo: A fruity odyssey of smart sensor platforms in Southern Africa. HardwareX 8, e00156.

Plant Health and Safety Research Group


-- Updated September 2022 --

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