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Would you like to know more about plant disease epidemiology at the University of the Free State?

Some additional notes:
What is an epidemic: Dynamics of change(s) in plant disease, in a population, in time and space (readily accepted plant pathology definition).

We conduct field trials with industry partners in Mpumalanga (who are associated with Argentinian soybean breeders) and with a local producer in the Free State.
We design our experiments statistically and do the work until harvest.
We quantify the responses of the disease (as well as the pathogen in some cases), cultivar tolerance/resistance, fungicide treatments, alternate management practises, as well as the interactions between host x pathogen and the environment.
We are working in collaboration with the Plant Breeding division (at the UFS) on Sclerotina germplasm.

Laboratory work ranges from total fungal biomass to specific biomass quantification, as well as the detection and quantification of mycotoxins.

The focus of our work is the data science aspect, through using “new” technologies such as the R-programming language and environment for hypothesis testing as well as data modelling and visualisation. This is critical as quality data requires quality communication.

We communicate our work through different avenues: meetings, working groups, farmers days, extension articles and conferences. We participate and communicate our work through the international community, such as Open Plant Pathology and our collaboration with Professor Emerson Del Ponte at UFV in Brazil.

Core to our research group is generating science that is reproducible and accessible to all. I believe a lot of data is collected and “wasted”, as it is not explored effectively/efficiently and therefore through more thorough exploration resources can be better capitalised on, as well as better communicated to industry, producers and consumers.



July 17, 2019


  1. Soybean & Sunflower Sorghum Exserohilum turcicum Ramulispora sorghi Colletotrichum spp.

    Fusarium spp. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Lisa Rothmann EPIDEMIOLOGY “Study of plant disease epidemics, through patho- system quantification and data science technology, for operational in-field implementation.” (Rothmann, 2019) Sclerotinia stem rot & head rot Foliar diseases & grain mold Neal McLaren Marlese Bester Thabiso Masisi Principal Investigator Ph.D. to be completed 2019 @LandbouLisa Research Fellow Professor Ph.D. student Sclerotinia diseases M.Sc. Agric student Sorghum diseases LISA ANN ROTHMANN 17-07-2019
  2. IMPACT LABORATORY Partners • Industry (MP) • International (Arg.) •

    Producer (FS) Statistical design → Harvest Response Quantification → Cultivar → Fungicide  Disease  Alternate management  Interactions H x P x E Collaboration Plant Breeding (UFS) Canola (WC) Biochemical • Total fungal biomass • [Mycotoxin] Molecular • Identification (seq) • Quantification (qPCR) Data Science • Cleaning & exploring • Hypothesis testing • Modeling • Visualisation Local • Grain SA • Sorghum Trust • Sclerotinia Network International • Open Plant Pathology • Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil Reproducibility Accessibility FIELD TRIALS LISA ANN ROTHMANN 17-07-2019