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My work on parasitic weeds of rice and sorghum (i.e. Striga spp. and Rhamphicarpa fistulosa) focusses on finding effective management strategies for smallholders in Africa.
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Title Excerpt Date Posted
New paper: Essential plant nutrients impair post-germination development of Striga in sorghum

Infestation by the parasitic weed Striga is a major cause of cereal crop production losses on smallholder farms in Africa. Essential plant nutrients play an important indirect role in parasite seed germination, the first prerequisite for successful parasitism. Here, we demonstrate that increasing the nutrient availability for the host plant can also impede Striga development […]

August 17, 2023
Weed Research – Special Issue Biology, ecology and management of parasitic weeds: current status and new insights

Edited by Maurizio Vurro, David Chikoye and Jonne Rodenburg. At the occasion of this year’s 16th World Congress on Parasitic Plants (WCPP) in Nairobi (from 3-8 July, 2022), Weed Research is launching a Special Issue dedicated to the fascinating world of parasitic weeds. Submissions focusing on all aspects -from biology, physiology and ecology to management- […]

June 16, 2022
Impact of the facultative parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa (Hochst.) Benth. on photosynthesis of its host Oryza sativa L.

In a new paper, published in Journal of Plant Physiology ( we show that leaf photosynthesis and a range of associated parameters is heavily impacted in rice plants when they are infected by the facultative parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa. Previously we found that this parasite starts benefiting from its host at around 6 weeks after […]

May 24, 2021
Combining host plant defence with targeted nutrition: key to durable control of hemi-parasitic Striga in cereals in sub-Saharan Africa?

Open Access, Research Review, New Phytologist, Authors: Immaculate M. Mwangangi, Lucie Büchi, Stephan M. Haefele, Lammert Bastiaans, Steven Runo & Jonne Rodenburg In this review paper we explore the potential of improved plant nutrition to fortify the expression of plant inherent resistance and tolerance against Striga in cereals. Beyond reviewing advances in parasitic plant research, we assess relevant […]

March 23, 2021
Fertilisers differentially affect facultative and obligate parasitic weeds of rice and only occasionally improve yields in infested fields

Published in Field Crop Research, in the September 2020 issue: In a 4-year field experiment in southern Tanzania, different fertilisers were tested to investigate whether they (1) suppress the obligate parasitic weed Striga asiatica and the facultative parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa, and (2) favour rainfed rice yields under parasitic weed infestation. We observed that: (1) fertilisers […]

August 26, 2020
Mixed outcomes from conservation practices on soils and Striga-affected yields of a low-input, rice–maize system in Madagascar

Upland rice farmers in Africa may reduce soil erosion and drudgery of soil tillage following Conservation Agriculture, combining no-till with legume cover crops. It mitigates Striga asiatica infestation and damage, but complementary technologies are required to raise crop yields. Read the Open Access publications: Mixed outcomes from conservation practices on soils and Striga-affected yields of […]

February 22, 2020
New project focussing in Striga resistance enhancing plant nutrition of sorghum

A new project entitled “Striga Smart Sorghum Solutions for Smallholders in East Africa” funded through a GCRF – Royal Society Society, International Collaboration award, started in December 2019. This is a collaboration between Dr Jonne Rodenburg of NRI, University of Greenwich (UK) and Dr Steven Runo of Kenyatta University (Kenya). The project aims to combine […]

February 14, 2020