Dr. Jarishma K. Gokul

Lecturer in Plant Pathology

Section: Plant Pathology - Environmental and Agricultural Microbiomes

Group Leader: Agrimicrobiome Research Group

Office: Agricultural Sciences Building 2-14

Tel: +27 (0)12 420 4913

Email: [email protected]




Dr Jarishma K. Gokul is a lecturer in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. She has had a steady research focus on microbiology, molecular biology and systems biology of polar and temperate terrestrial and marine landscapes using ‘omics techniques, and more recently, has been involved in establishing the seed-soil-plant-food-human microbiome nexus with Prof. Lise Korsten in the Centre of Excellence in Food Security.

Dr Gokul currently co-ordinates the microbiome-based research activities in the AgriMicrobiome Research Group, within Plant Pathology, and has recently been named in the top #InspiringFiftySA women in STEM. Her research is focussed on agricultural soil and plant microbiomes which involves aligning existing genomic-based soil, water and fresh produce microbiome projects to understand agricultural microbiomes as it relates to food production and health. She also leads the recently developed indigenous fruit microbiome research area as part of funding garnered from the UP Research Development Program (RDP) and was a fellow in the 2021 - 2022 cohort of the ARUA-UKRI GCRF Food Systems Research Network for Africa (FSNet-Africa)Dr Gokul additionally contributes to previous and ongoing research towards understanding the impacts of climate change on Arctic glaciers, Antarctic permafrost, soils and Southern Ocean deep sea microbiomes as a member of the Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics (CMEG).

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

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. 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).
  7. 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).
  8. 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).
  9. 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 M. Dlangalala PhD Biotechnology Prevalence of Listeria in the water-plant-food public health nexus with a focus on One Health
Ms D. Kgoale PhD Biotechnology Bacterial profiles and foodborne pathogens in leafy greens from informal supply chains
Mrs T Molelekoa PhD Plant Pathology Monitoring the South African tomato supply chain for wastes and losses and their downstream effects on food security
Ms M. Ratshilingano PhD Biotechnology A sanitary and phytosanitary assessment of citrus greening in South Africa
Mr J. Bubb MSc Plant Pathology The microbiome of indigenous fruit with a focus on the Marula
Ms. N. Cebekhulu MSc Plant Pathology Microbial quality of indigenous produce sold in the informal markets of South Africa
Ms H. Gauché MSc Plant Pathology Fruit, leaf and soil microbiomes of citrus greening
Ms M. van der Merwe MSc Biotechnology Microbiomes in plant-based animal feed used in commercial pork production – comparative assessment of organic and non-organic farming systems
Mr F. Viljoen MSc Microbiology Microbial phytobiomes of avocado (Persea americana Mill,) in the context of fruit health
Mr S. Viviers MSc Biotechnology The build up of antimicrobial resitence in the plant-water-food nexus
Ms K. Mulaudzi MSc Microbiology Elucidating the gut microbiomes of healthy South African individuals from rural and urban localities
Mr I.T. Stevens (UK) MSc Glaciology The hydrology of the weathering crust and its influences on the micro-organisms within it
Ms. M.C. Fletcher (UK) MSc Microbiology Impacts of nutrient amendment on Polaromonas and Janthinobacterium isolates from Arctic cryoconite
Ms A. van Wyk BSc (Hons) Genetics Characterisation of the gut microbiomes of Carcharhiniformes shark species
Mr A. Nel BSc Agric Defining the leaf associated microbiome of citrus 
Ms M. van der Merwe BSc Microbiology Student Internship (Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics)
Ms S.C. Cook (UK) BSc Environmental Science Harry Smith Vacation Studentship
Ms P.J. Westall (UK) BSc Microbiology Investigating nutrient dynamics of melting seasons and looking at how different environmental factors affect cryoconite communities


-- Updated May 2022 --

Published by Jarishma Gokul

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