Dr. Jarishma K. Gokul

Lecturer in Plant Pathology

Section: Plant Pathology - Environmental and Agricultural Microbiomes

Group Leader: AgriMicrobiome Research

Office: Plant Sciences Complex 4-10

Tel: +27 (0)12 420 4913

Email: [email protected]




Dr Jarishma K. Gokul is a lecturer in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Her research is focused on Planetary Health, encompassing environmental, plant, and animal microbiomes which involves aligning new and existing genomic-based soil, water, and fresh produce microbial research to understand microbiomes as they relate to food production, and health and wellbeing. She has expertise in microbiology, molecular biology, and systems biology of polar and temperate terrestrial and marine landscapes using ‘omics techniques and has been integral in establishing the seed-soil-plant-food-human microbiome nexus at UP.  Dr Gokul currently co-ordinates research activities in the AgriMicrobiome Research Group and contributes to previous and ongoing research towards understanding the impacts of climate change on Arctic glaciers, Antarctic soils and permafrost, Namib soils, and Southern Ocean deep sea microbiomes as a member of the Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics (CMEG). Industry partners include the Agricultural Research Council, South African Pork Producers Organisation, Syngenta and the South African Sugarcane Research Institute. She also leads the recently developed indigenous fruit microbiome research area as part of funding garnered from the UP Research Development Program and the Austrian-African Research Network (Africa-UniNet), was a fellow in the 2021 - 2022 cohort of the ARUA-UKRI GCRF Food Systems Research Network for Africa (FSNet-Africa), has been awarded in the 2021 #InspiringFiftySA women in STEM and received a Y2 rating as a promising researcher from the SA National Research Foundation in 2023.

Recent Publications (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0050-4781)

  1. Kgoale, D.M., Duvenage, S., Du Plessis, E.M., Gokul, J.K., Korsten, L. 2024. Serotype distribution, antimicrobial resistence, virulence genes, and genetic diversity of Salmonella spp.  isolated from small-scale leafy green vegetable supply chains in South Africa, Journal of Food Protection, 87, 1, (Journal Impact Factor 2023 = 2.745).
  2. Kgoale, D.M., Gokul, J.K., Duvenage, S., Du Plessis, E.M., Korsten, L. 2023. Profiling bacterial communities  of irrigation water  and leafy green vegetables  produced by  small-scale farms and sold in informal settlements in South Africa, CABI Agriculture and Bioscience, 4(1), 36, (Journal Impact Factor 2023 = 3.9).
  3. Gokul, J.K., Mur, L.A.J., Hodson, A.J., Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L., Debbonaire, A.R., Takeuchi, N., Edwards, A. 2023. Ice-scape scale metabolomics reveals cyanobacterial and topographic control of the core metabolism  of the cryoconite  ecosystem  of an Arctic ice cap, Environmental Microbiology, 25, 11, (Journal Impact Factor 2023 = 5.476).
  4. Gokul, J.K., Matcher, G., Dames, J., Nkangala., K., Gordijn., P.J., Barker, N.P. 2023. Microbial community responses  to alterations  in histroical fire regimes in montane grasslands, Diversity, 15(7), 818, (Journal Impact Factor 2023 = 2.4).
  5. Bill. M., Viljoen, F., Chidamba. L., Gokul. J.K. and Korsten. L. 2023. Fungal microbiome shifts of avocado fruit from flowering to the ready-to-eat stage, Acta Horticulturae, 1363, 59-68, (Journal Impact factor 2023 = 0.163).
  6. 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, (Journal Impact factor 2021 = 4.061).
  7. Bill. M., Chidamba. L., Gokul. J.K. and Korsten. L. 2021. Mango Endophyte and Epiphyte Microbiome Composition during Fruit Development and Post-Harvest Stages, Horticulturae, 7 (11), (Journal Impact factor 2021 = 2.331).
  8. Bill. M., Chidamba, L., Gokul, J.K., Labuschagne, N. and Korsten, L. 2021. Bacterial community dynamics and functional profiling of soils from conventional and organic cropping systems, Applied Soil Ecology, 157, 103734. (Journal Impact factor 2019 = 3.600).
  9. Kusstatscher, P., Cernava, T., Abdelfattah, A., Gokul, J., Korsten, L. and Berg, G. 2020. Microbiome approaches provide the key to biologically control postharvest pathogens and storability of fruits and vegetables, FEMS Microbiology Ecology. (Journal Impact factor 2019 = 4.098).
  10. Gokul, J.K., Cameron, K.A., Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L., Cook, J.M., Hubbard, A., Stibal, M., Hegarty, M., Mur, L.A.J. and Edwards, A. 2019. Illuminating the dynamic rare biosphere of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s Dark Zone, FEMS Microbiology Ecology. (Journal Impact factor 2019 = 4.098).
  11. Gokul, J.K., Hodson, A.J., Saetnan, E.R., Irvine-Fynn, T.D., Westall, P.J., Detheridge, A.P., Takeuchi, N., Bussell, J., Mur, L.A. and Edwards, A. 2016. Taxon interactions control the distributions of cryoconite bacteria colonizing a High Arctic ice cap, Molecular Ecology. (Journal Impact factor 2019 = 5.580).
  12. Rassner, S.M., Anesio, A., Girdwood, S.E., Hell, K., Gokul, J., Whitworth D.E. and Edwards, A. 2016. Can the bacterial community of a High Arctic glacier surface escape viral control?, Frontiers in Microbiology. (Journal Impact factor 2019 = 4.235).
  13. Cook, J., Edwards, A., Bulling, M., Mur, L.A.J., Cook, S., Gokul, J.K., Cameron, K.A., Sweet, M. and Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L. 2016. Metabolome-mediated biocryomorphic evolution promotes carbon fixation in Greenland cryoconite holes. Environmental Microbiology. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13349. (Journal Impact factor = 6.3).
  14. Stibal, M., Godzeriler, E., Cameron, K.A., Box, J.E., Stevens, I.T., Gokul, J.K., Schostag, M., Zarsky, J.D., Edwards, A., Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L. and Jacobsen, C.S. 2015. Microbial abundance in surface ice on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Frontiers in Microbiology. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00225. (Journal Impact factor = 4.0).
  15. Gokul, J.K., Valverde, A., Tuffin, M., Cary, S.C., Cowan, D.A. 2013. Micro-eukaryotic diversity in hypolithons from Miers Valley, Antarctica. Biology: Special Issue: Polar Microbiology: Recent Advances and Future Perspectives. doi: doi:10.3390/biology2010331.


Name of student Degree Project Title 
Mr G. Breedt PhD Biotechnology Gene expression in plant growth promoting rhizobacteria Paenibacillus alvei and Lysinibacillus sphearicus
Ms D. Kgoale PhD Biotechnology Bacterial profiles and foodborne pathogens in leafy greens from informal supply chains
Mrs Y. Dlamini-Roets PhD Biotechnology Development of a multimode biological solution to improve crop protection and enhance plant growth
Ms M.L. Sebati PhD Plant Sciences Rhizosphere microbial diversity and function in bambara groundnut landraces across South Africa
Mr J.S. Bubb MSc (Agric) Plant Pathology Characterising the microbiome and pathobiome of marula fruit to reduce postharvest losses
Ms H. Gauché MSc (Agric) Plant Pathology Determining the microbial community structure of blueberry cultivars through microbiomics
Ms N. Hlatshwayo MSc (Agric) Plant Pathology Investigating the suitability of X-ray radiation as an alternative to gamma radiation for
bulk irradiation of Eldana saccharina with application to Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
Mrs M. Steyn MSc Biotechnology Animal-environment microbial associations in the South African commercial swine production industry
Ms R. Chiloane BSc (Hons) Plant Sciences Long-term effect of NPK fertilizers on bacterial communities associated with wheat agricultural soils
Ms L. Meyer BSc (Hons) Bioinformatics Exploring temporal rhizobacterial community changes in wheat under PGPR treatment



MLB 143 Molecular and Cell Biology

GKD 250 Introductory Soil Science

GKD 420 Soil fertility, Soil Microbiology and Plant Nutrition

PLG 462 Research Project in Plant Pathology


-- Updated February 2024 --

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