Prof Lise Korsten

University of Pretoria
Department of Plant Pathology

Co-Director of the Department of Science and Innovation
Programme Leader: Plant Health and Safety


Prof Korsten is the Co-Director of the Department of Science and Innovation, Centre of Excellence in Food Security. She is also responsible for the food safety and regulatory control programmes within the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security and actively interacts with other researchers in various institutes. She holds the position of chair in the Global Task Force of Food Security for the International Society for Plant Pathology. Prof Korsten has addressed the South African Parliament on Food Safety Control and has developed a national framework for government to develop a Food Control Authority.

She has been able to attract extensive national and international long term funding such as the Water Research Commission solicited research projects “Measurement of water pollution determining the sources and changes of microbial contamination and impact on food safety from farming to retail level for fresh vegetables”, “An investigation into the link between water quality and microbiological safety of fruit and vegetables from the farming to the processing stages of production and marketing” and “Evaluation of the risks associated with the use of rain water harvested from roof-tops for domestic use and homestead food gardens, and groundwater for domestic use and livestock watering”, as well as the 7th EU Framework project “Impact of climate change and globalisation on safety of fresh produce - governing a supply chain of uncompromised food sovereignty.

Prof Korsten developed South Africa's first biocontrol agent for fruit and established a biocontrol research group at the University of Pretoria (1992). She has also established a fresh produce health group that focusses on food safety of fresh produce and on Sanitary and Phytosanitary aspects related to international trade.

Prof Korsten has focussed her research mainly on the complementary fields of postharvest technology and food safety as related to international trade in fresh produce. As a team the Plant Health and Safety research group has been able to develop several innovative technologies to reduce disease and prevent product contamination. The value of her research programmes (Produce Quality and Safety (PQS) and Postharvest Innovation Research) is best illustrated by sustained industry financial support, intensive student training and publications. Prof Korsten has established a core of researchers and support staff that has been with her for the past 20 years totally funded by the Industry. She has supervised 51 MSc students, 20 PhD students and 11 Postdocs.