Kruger National Park, Skukuza Camp

28 MAY – 3 JUNE 2017

Kruger National Park, Skukuza Camp

28 MAY – 3 JUNE 2017

Kruger National Park, Skukuza Camp

28 MAY – 3 JUNE 2017

Kruger National Park, Skukuza Camp

28 MAY – 3 JUNE 2017


Dr. Wisniewski, Michigan State University , United States of America
Dr. Wisniewski has achieved major scientific accomplishments in two divergent topics of research on fruit trees: environmental stress and postharvest biological control. He is a leading authority on deep supercooling in woody plants and is recognized for developing high-resolution infrared thermography to study ice nucleation. He co-patented a method of frost protection that utilizes a hydrophobic barrier and provided the first evidence of the association of dehydrin protein and its cryoprotective properties with levels of cold hardiness in peach trees, grapes, and other woody plants.

He partnered with the University of Illinois to produce the first 40,000 long-oligo, unigene apple microarray for conducting functional genomic studies and has collaborated on a genetic mapping project to identify QTLs for economically-important traits in the apple progenitor species, Malus sieversii. In his biocontrol research, he played a major role in developing the first, yeast-based biocontrol agent (Aspire™), was the first to demonstrate the ability of yeast to parasitize fungi, and demonstrated the ability of various salts to enhance biocontrol activity. He has been issued several patents in this field, and was awarded both the Federal Lab Consortium and USDA-ARS Technology Transfer Award in 1996. He was elected as an ASHS Fellow in 1998, and chosen as the USDA-ARS Early Career Scientist in 1992 and USDA-ARS-NAA Senior Scientist in 2009. He has served as an Associate Editor for the J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci., Frontiers in Plant Science, and other journals. He has also served as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development (BARD) Fund. He has published over 240 peer-reviewed journal articles and 32 book chapters and has had numerous speaking invitations.

He co-edited “Plant Cold Hardiness: From the Laboratory to the Field,” and received the ASHS Cross Commodity Publication of the Year Award in 2000. He was also awarded the Outstanding Researcher Award by ASHS. His ice nucleation research is included in a leading college textbook on Plant Physiology and his scientific photographs have won an award from the Polaroid Corp. and were part of an exhibit at the Andy Warhol Museum. He has reviewed programs on biological control in New Zealand, Colombia, and Uruguay and participated in advanced courses on plant cold hardiness in Finland and Canada. He has also assisted in teaching courses on biological control in Uruguay several times.

Along with his colleague, Samir Droby (ARO, Israel), he established the ISHS working group on Alternative Methods for Managing Postharvest Diseases and this working group has sponsored four international conferences in the past eight years and has become a principle outlet for sharing the latest advances in this critical field of research. In 2016, he was awarded Lifetime Honorary Membership in the Canadian Phytopathological Society in recognition for his accomplishments and leadership in postharvest disease research. In 2017, he was awarded the Martin Bukovac Lectureship at Michigan State University in recognition for his contribution to fruit science. He has served on the scientific and organizational committees of international conferences has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral scientists, from around the world.

Prof. Samir Droby, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Israel
Prof. Samir Droby is a senior research scientist at the ARO, the Volcani Center and Professor of Plant Pathology and postharvest Sciences at the Division of Biochemistry and Food Science at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since 2013, he has been serving as the chair of the Postharvest Pathology Subject Matter Committee of the International Society of Plant Pathology.

His research expertise include developing biological and natural based control strategies for postharvest diseases, mode of action of yeast biocontrol agents, Pathogenicity mechanisms of Penicillium species on citrus and apple fruit and resistance mechanisms of fruits against postharvest pathogens. Prof. Droby published more than 100 articles in peer reviewed journal and 20 review articles and 25 book chapters on various topics on postharvest pathology. In recent years he has been actively involved in several international research projects and activities related to various postharvest pathology fields.

Among the research projects: Developing new approaches and strategies the biocontrol of postharvest diseases; The discovery and elucidation of the role of effector proteins in the pathogenicity of postharvest pathogens; characterization of fruit microbiome and its modulation for the control of postharvest diseases.

Dr. Paul Fourie, Citrus Research International (CRI), SOUTH AFRICA
After obtaining a B.Sc.Agric. (Plant Pathology and Genetics) at University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, Paul Fourie obtained BSc.Hons., MSc.Agric and PhD(Agric) degrees in Plant Pathology from Stellenbosch University.

He started his professional career as a grapevine pathologist, and from 2007 as a citrus pathologist.  He is currently the manager of the Southern African Citrus Improvement Scheme at Citrus Research International (CRI), the research and technology service provider to the southern African citrus industry.  As plant pathology researcher he is associated with Stellenbosch University’s Plant Pathology department as extraordinary professor.  His research focuses on fungicide application technology in citrus orchards and packhouses, as well as Citrus Black Spot (CBS) epidemiology.  He has been directly involved in the student training of 7 PhD students and 22 Masters students, his scientific outputs include 63 scientific articles, 88 international and 134 national congress presentations. 

Paul resides on the Citrus Foundation Block farm outside Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa with his wife Sonja and two daughters, Emma and Kara.  Between work and school, the Fourie’s enjoy the great outdoors and the ocean as much as possible.

Prof. Dov Prusky, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Israel
Research in the laboratory focuses on understanding the basic processes underlying the interactions between fruits and pathogenic fungi. These interactions are known to involve the production and recognition by both plant and pathogen of a variety of signals, but it is frequently difficult to distinguish between the indispensable and the superfluous components of the complex process of infection.

In my laboratory, we use chemical, biochemical, genetic, and molecular biological techniques to identify and critically evaluate putative disease factors. Our emphasis is on the biochemical and molecular mechanisms that are controlled by fungal virulence and fruit resistance factors.

Dr. Gianfranco Romanazzi, Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy
Gianfranco Romanazzi completed his degree in Agricultural Sciences (with ‘cum laude’) in 1995 at the University of Bari, where he also completed his PhD in Crop Protection, in 1999. He joined Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona in 2001, he became Assistant Professor in Plant Pathology in 2004 and he is Associate Professor since 2014. His teaching courses include Plant Pathology (since 2001/02) and Plant Disease Management (since 2010/11).

His scientific activities have involved different aspects of plant pathology, from diagnosis and molecular characterisation of plant pathogens, to the control of pre and postharvest diseases. Together with his research team, he has applied disease-control measures both in the field and after the harvest, through environmentally friendly means (i.e., natural compounds, UV-C irradiation, ozone, hypobaric and hyperbaric treatments, low risk fungicides, resistance inducers). He has acquired good experience in the control of postharvest diseases of fruit, with his studies including the in vitro and in vivo activities of a series of natural fungicides, among which chitosan has been the most investigated. In June 2004-January 2005, part of his research was carried at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Parlier, California, USA, while in June-August 2015, he spent a period at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Station of Vineland, Ontario, Canada.

He has been a member of the COST actions on berries (863), phytoplasma (FA0807), and endophytes (FA1103), and is currently involved in the Management Committee of COST actions on “Sustainable control of grapevine trunk diseases” (FA1303) and “Using three-way interactions between plants, microbes and arthropods to enhance crop protection and production” (FA1405). He is part of the Management Committee of the Phytoplasma Working Group of the Italian Phytopathological Society, and he is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Platform for Organic Agriculture and of the “” international network. He is part of Editorial Board for Postharvest Biology and Technology, and Journal of Integrated -OMICS, and he is Senior Editor for Australasian Plant Pathology.

He was recently invited by Postharvest Biology and Technology to edit a special issue entitled “Alternative approaches to synthetic fungicides to manage postharvest decay of fruit and vegetables: existing and emerging technologies”. He is an author of more than 280 papers published in national and international journals, book chapters and proceedings of congresses.

Dr. Luis González-Candelas, Spanish National Research Council, Spain
Dr. Luis González-Candelas got his PhD in Microbiology in 1990. He is now a research scientist at the Spanish National Research Council working at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology. He belongs to the Postharvest Physiology, Pathology and Biotechnology group.

His major research interests are to dissect the fruit-fungal pathogen interactions mostly in the apple-P. expansum and citrus –P. digitatum pathosystems using molecular and omics approaches. On the fruit side he has been involved in the study of the defense response triggered in the fruit by the pathogens as well as the mechanisms of induced resistance. More recently he is involved in unraveling the pathogenicity mechanisms of both fungal pathogens with the aim of developing new control alternatives directed towards virulence determinants. A major milestone in his career has been the sequencing of the genomes of the three most important postharvest fungal pathogens of citrus and pome fruits belonging to genus Penicillium.

Dr. Josep Usall, Research Institute Of Technology, Food and Agriculture (Irta), Catalonia
Dr. Josep Usall is a senior research scientist and a head of Postharvest Department at IRTA. He is also the director of the Postharvest Technical Service which advices packinghouses and the coordinator of Fruit.Net, the Plant Health National Program to optimize the use of pesticides and reduce the residues of fruits in Catalonia.

He received his B.Sc (1991) in Agronomist Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the PhD (1995) in Pathology and Food Technology from the University of Lleida. He spent a period of research time at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Kearneysville and Parlier, in the Plant and Food Research Institute in Hamilton, NZ and in UCDavis, USA.

His research activity include the control of postharvest diseases of fruits (mainly pome, citrus and stone fruits) using several physical, chemical and biological alternative techniques and in the development of biocontrol agents, the study the epidemiology, pathogenicity mechanisms and resistance mechanisms of fruits against postharvest pathogens, mainly in Monilinia and Penicillium species.

He has published more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles, more than 60 technical papers and 18 books and books chapters. He is the director of an International Postharvest Course and he has participated in courses in Colombia, Guatemala, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Prof. Frans Swanepoel, University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa
Prof Frans Swanepoel is a Research Fellow in Residence with focus on Future Africa at the Centre for Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa.

He is former Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, and Professor at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. He holds an appointment as Visiting Fellow at the Institute for African Development (IAD) at Cornell University, USA.

He currently chairs a consensus panel appointed by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) on the revitalisation of Agricultural Education, Training and Research in SA. He serves in various capacities, including as Board Member, and previously as Vice-Chairperson and Acting Chairperson, on the Board of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in SA – ministerial appointment. He also serves as board member of the Gates-funded African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) initiative based in Kenya; and the continental Science Granting Councils Initiative funded by DfID and IDRC.

Prof. Dharini Sivakumar, Tshwane University Of Technology, Pretoria West, South Africa
Prof Sivakumar has started her career at the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria as an Associate professor in 2010. She developed the research area in post-harvest technology and the curriculum at the Department of Crop Sciences.

In 2015 she was awarded the DST-NRF SARChI (South African Research Chairs Initiative) funding for the Phytochemical Food Network Programme to Improve Nutritional Quality for the consumer and she was appointed as a Full Professor. In 2017 she was appointed as an Honorary A/Professor at the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), University of Queensland, Australia. She closely works with the South African Avocado Fruit industry and has currently established research collaboration with Texas A & M USA, University of Reunion island, Reunion (France), Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie, Germany Marche Polytechnic University, Italy, and the University of Greenwich, UK.

Nationally she has a close research collaboration with the ARC (Vegetable and ornamental plant Institute, Subtropical fruits Institute), DST-CSIR Nano Center, and Plant and soil Sciences, University of Pretoria. Her postharvest pathology research activity is focused on improving the host defence using elicitors or signalling compounds that stimulate the accumulation of phytochemicals (secondary metabolites) and the PR proteins against the postharvest pathogens. She has published 82 research articles in ISI journals and 8 book chapters.

Dr. Rosario Torres, IRTA, Catalonia, Spain
Dr. Rosario Torres is BSc in Biological Sciences (1989) at the University of Valencia, and PhD in Biological Sciences (1995) at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. She is researcher of the Postharvest Programme of IRTA in the Fruitcentre of Lleida, and belongs to the Postharvest Pathology group.

Her research in postharvest pathology has been mainly focused in searching alternative treatments, as biological control, and chemical and physical alternatives to control postharvest diseases in pome fruit, citrus, stone fruit and grapes. Over the last years, her research activities has been focused on fruit-pathogen interactions in different pathosystems: pome and stone fruit, and Monilinia spp. and Penicillium spp. Together with these research lines, she is also working in the development of molecular tools to identify and quantify fungal pathogens and biocontrol agents. She has participated in several national and international projects, published 72 papers in ISI journals, 8 books and book chapters and 2 patents.

Prof. Antonio Ippolito, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy
Full professor in Plant Pathology, coordinator of the PhD course in “Biodiversity, Agriculture and Environment” and member of the Excellence Centre "Compared Genomics in Biomedical and Agricultural Issues".

His scientific activity is documented by almost 400 publications regarding various aspects of Plant Pathology in Mediterranean crops. In particular, aetiology, epidemiology, chemical, and biological control of fungal diseases of fruits, canopy, and roots were studied. For over 25 years he is carrying out research on the use of alternative control means against postharvest decay of fresh fruits and vegetables by means of physical, biological, natural substances and organic and inorganic salts. By using molecular techniques, he conducted studies on diagnosis and quantification of several phytopathogenic microorganisms.

More recently, he deals with the study on mechanisms of resistance in the host induced by various elicitors by means of gene silencing and the expression analysis of resistance genes.

In 2015 he has been convener of the "III International Symposium on Postharvest Pathology", Bari June 7-11. He is Chair of the international Workgroup “Biological Control of Postharvest Diseases”, member of the international Commissions “Quality and Postharvest Horticulture” and “Plant Protection” of the International Society for Horticultural Science.

Dr Mduduzi Ngcobo, Senior Manager, Agricultural Research Council, RSA
Dr Mduduzi Ngcobo graduated with BSc degree in Crop Science from the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN), MSc in Agriculture (Horticultural Science) and PhD(Agric) in postharvest technology from Stellenbosch University. He has extensive experience in the postharvest industry and research.

He has worked for Dole South Africa in SA where he held different technical positions and although based in South Africa, he worked in Namibia, Egypt as a Table Grapes Assistant Technical Manager. While working at Dole SA, he was seconded to Dole Europe where he was based in Rotterdam working with the quality team doing postharvest quality inspections of the different imported fruits from production countries around the globe. Dr Ngcobo also held the Research & Innovation Manager position at the South African Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB).

He is currently the Senior Manager: Research at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) responsible for the Tropical and Subtropical Research Campus. His expertise include packaging technology of fresh fruit, optimization of storage requirement, development of export and shipping protocols, quality management systems including inspection services and phytosanitary issues, as well as trade regulations and policy matters. He has firsthand experience about the South African postharvest innovation system and served on the Management Board of the South African Postharvest Innovation (PHI) programme. He has published peer-reviewed articles in international journals on various aspects of packaging and postharvest quality management of fresh produce.

Dr. Jose Luis Henriquez, Universidad De Chile, Santiago, Chile
Dr. Henríquez completed his degree in Agricultural Sciences at University of Chile, where he started a career as a Plant Pathologist He obtained a Master Degree in Plant Pathology, from Washington State University, and a PhD in Plant Pathology from Oregon State University.

He is actually an Associate Professor at University of Chile where he has been involved in the Graduate School, creating the program of Crop Protection for the Master of Science of Agricultural Sciences. His teaching courses include Field Crop Pathology and Fruit Postharvest Pathology, lecturing in other courses as invited speaker as well.

His research has an applied approach with emphasis on the etiology and epidemiology of plant diseases, encouraging the integration of different tools for management of plant diseases, emphasizing crop culture management. He has been working on pre and postharvest diseases, conducting first time research on diseases of olive trees and pomegranates in Chile, editing a book for each topic. His most renowned work on postharvest diseases was his study on the etiology and epidemiology of Neofabraea species causing bull´s eye rot of pears. He has published 119 papers in national and international journals, book chapters and proceedings of congresses.