Professor Gerhard Pietersen


Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology

[email protected]


Viral Diseases of Crop Plants 

Gerhard joined the Agricultural Research Council- Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI), Pretoria in December, 1980 after obtaining his BSc. in Botany and Microbiology from the University of the Witwatersrand. He obtained an MSc-Microbiology at the University of Pretoria in 1984, and completed his PhD. at WITS in 1989. He spent eighteen months at Oregon State University, USA. 

Between 2004 and 2009 he was employed by Citrus Research International (CRI) as Virologist and Program Manager, while seconded to the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology at UP. In 2009 he returned to the employ of PPRI, while remaining seconded to UP.

Gerhard has published 50 research papers in international scientific journals and has an NRF rating of C1.







IRT-related research

Professor Pietersen’s research has covered wide ranging aspects of plant virology from viral diagnosis to epidemiology and control of agriculturally important crops. The main focus in recent years has been on grapevine leafroll disease of wine grapes, citrus tristeza virus, and citrus greening disease, associated with “Candidatus Liberibacter africanus”. 


Key Publications

Jooste, AEC., Maree, HJ, Goszczynski, DE, Bellstedt, DU, Pietersen, G, Burger, JT (2010) Three genetic grapevine leafroll-associated virus-3 variants identified from South African vineyards show high variability in their 5'UTR'. Arch Virol. DOI 10.1007/s00705-010-0793-y

Scott, KA, Hlela, Q, Zablocki, O, Read, DA, Van Vuuren, SP, Pietersen, G (2012) Genotype composition of populations of Citrus tristeza virus grapefruit cross-protecting GFMS12 in different host plants and aphid-transmitted sub-isolates. Arch Virol. DOI 10.1007/s00705-012-1450-4.



Published by Alacia Armstrong

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