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Kovsie student receives prestigious award for sunflower rust research

Wilku Meyer, a student member of the SASPP and APS, is the co-recipient of the Junior Captain Scott Memorial Medal for Plant Sciences, awarded every second year by the South African Academy for Science and Arts for the best MSc dissertation awarded at a South African university.

Sunflower rust has recently increased in incidence in South Africa (SA). The focus of Wilku’s MSc study was to determine the number of Puccinia helianthi (Ph) races, their virulence profiles and genotypic variability in SA. Isolates of Ph included in his study were representative of historic collections and field isolates form the 2016 and 2017 growing seasons. Wilku identified six Ph races spread across four main genetic groups. Isolates of these races will be used to determine the responses of local sunflower hybrids as part of his PhD studies.  The findings from his MSc study were recently published in Plant Disease (