The Microbiology and Environmental Biotechnology
Research Group at ARC-SCW utilizes both fundamental as well as applied
microbiological and biotechnological approaches to address water, soil and
climate problems. The research interests of the group range from biological
removal of potential chemical stressors from the environment to bioenergy
generation from organic waste. Specific interests include:
Soil healthSymbiosisMicrobial/molecular ecology and evolutionFungi/mycorrhizaeBiodiversity of soil and water microbesBioremediation
Microbial/molecular ecology and evolution
Biodiversity of soil and water microbes
Environmental biotechnology and restorationPlant-microbe interactionBiohydrometallurgyRenewable energyBiofertilizer production
Environmental biotechnology and restoration
Assessment of coal mine stockpiled soil quality and its impact on vegetation using laboratory based techniques and reflectance spectroscopy.
Development of soil microbial indicators for monitoring impact of climate change on maize production.
Quality assessment of commercial biofertilizers and the awareness of smallholder farmers in South Africa.
Investigation into the efficiency of biofertilizers and vermicompost used by smallholder farmers in South Africa.
Influence of dietary mycotoxins on gut microbiota development in children.
Investigation into the diversity and important functional attributes of endophytes associated with selected medicinal plants from South Africa and Egypt.
Study of the carbon flow from the plant into the soil using heavy carbon isotope and metagenomics to determine the sequestration potential of conservation agriculture soils.
Soil health indicators as affected by stripping, stockpiling and the depth of the stockpile.
The effects of microbial composition in the production of biogas from multiple feedstock.
Mineralization of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in petroleum products contaminated soils using a tripartite association of ectomycorrhizal fungi, pine plant and their rhizosphere bacteria.
The potential use of bacteria from the Crocodile River as early warning bio-indicators of mine drainage pollution.
Stockpiled soils from coal mines in Mpumalanga region: Impacts of biological characteristics of the soil.
The utilization of water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) from Hartbeespoort Dam in biogas and biofertilizer production, as a solution to water weed challenges.
Evaluation of PAH-degrading bacteria for their potential role in soil fertility.
Click HERE to download the list of recent publications
Prof. Rasheed Adeleke (AdelekeR@arc.agric.za) is a Senior Researcher and Research Group leader. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Pretoria, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology. He is an alumnus of the Borlaug fellowship programme at Cornell University, a TWAS fellow at the Technical University of Munich as well as a Canadian government commonwealth scholarship beneficiary at Université Laval. He collaborates with researchers both nationally and internationally and his current research interests include microbial ecology, bioremediation, soil biotechnology and plant-microbe interactions. He is a member of the Royal Society of Biology, the Society for Applied Microbiology and the South African Society for Microbiology, and serves as reviewer for several journals. He is also an Extraordinary Professor in the Environmental Sciences and Management research unit of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at North-West University. His responsibilities as Research Group leader include initiation, coordination and management of projects as well as supervision of postgraduate students.
Dr. Ashira Roopnarain (RoopnarainA@arc.agric.za) was appointed as a Researcher in 2018 after spending 3 years as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Microbiology and Environmental Biotechnology Research Group. She obtained her PhD degree in Microbiology and Biotechnology from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her research interests include entomology, phycology, bioenergy research and bioreactor design and optimization. She is presently involved in biogas and biofertilizer projects.
Mr. Michael Kidson (Michael@arc.agric.za) is a Chief Research Technician who provides technical support to various soil science research projects, especially field trials. His responsibilities include the use, maintenance and building of specialized instruments where required, as well as data recording and reporting. He also trains small-scale farmers in conservation agriculture (CA) practices. He obtained his Masters degree from the University of Pretoria and is currently registered for a PhD at UNISA. He is studying carbon flow from the plant into the soil, using a heavy carbon isotope and metagenomics to determine the sequestration potential of CA soils compared to ploughed soils.
Dr. Emomotimi Bamuza-Pemu (BamuzaPemuE@arc.agric.za) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She obtained her PhD degree in Chemical Technology from the University of Pretoria, Department of Chemical Engineering. Her research interests include emerging pollutants in environmental compartments, photocalysis and chromatographic techniques. She is presently involved in projects on emerging pollutants in water and endophytes.
Dr. Maryam Bello-Akinosho (BelloAkinoshoM@arc.agric.za) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She was awarded her PhD degree in Microbiology by the University of Pretoria, Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology in 2018. Her PhD study sought to bioremediate PAH-polluted soil using a tripartite of pine plant, ectomycorrhizal fungi and associated bacteria. She is also interested in soil fertility enhancement by rhizospheric bacteria.
Dr. Deidré van Wyk (VanWykD3@arc.agric.za) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow based at ARC-Grain Crops. She was awarded her PhD degree in Environmental Sciences by North-West University in 2018. Her PhD study involved the investigation of the effects of Bt and non-Bt maize on diversity and population of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi as well as other rhizospheric soil microbes.
Ms. Leani Bothma (BothmaL@arc.agric.za) is registered for a PhD at North-West University. She is investigating the effects of antiretroviral (ARV) medication on bacteriophage survival and their bacterial hosts. This research is imperative to gain a better understanding of the secondary effects of these ARVs and how they impact the effectiveness of waste water treatment plants.
Mr. Obinna Ezeokoli (EzeokoliO@arc.agric.za) is registered for a PhD at North-West University. He is investigating the development of biomarkers for the assessment of post-coal mining rehabilitation. Biological indicators are sensitive surrogates for measuring alterations in the soil environment. The study explores the use of microbes and microbial genes as indicators for assessing the progress and success of rehabilitated coal mine sites.
Mr. Johannes Fourie (RohanFourie@yahoo.com) is registered for a PhD at North-West University. His research focus is on anaerobic pathogens, specifically Clostrium spp., in aquatic and agricultural environments. The study aims to extend the understanding of these micro-organisms in the environment by investigating their pathogenicity at genomic level.
Ms. Thendo Mashau (MashauT@arc.agric.za) is registered for a PhD at UNISA. She is investigating the diversity and important functional attributes of endophytes associated with selected medicinal plants from South Africa and Egypt. The study is expected to discover the beneficial endophytes associated with selected medicinal plants that can produce bioactive compounds for use as potential active ingredients with pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications.
Mr. Rendani Mbedzi (MbedziR@arc.agric.za) is registered for a PhD at UNISA. He is investigating the efficiency of biofertilizers and vermicompost used by smallholder farmers in South Africa.
Mr. Ofhani Mukhoro (MukhoroO@arc.agric.za) is registered for a PhD at North-West University. He is investigating the effects of climate change on soil health and maize production.
Ms. Mashudu Mukhuba (MukhubaM@arc.agric.za) will register for a PhD at UNISA. Her research seeks to determine the effects of various feedstocks on improving biogas production.
Ms. Linda Obi (ObiL@arc.agric.za) is registered for a PhD at UNISA. She is investigating the use of water hyacinth as a feed for biogas production.
Mr. Adekunle Raimi (RaimiA@arc.agric.za) is registered for a PhD at UNISA. He is assessing the quality of biofertilizers used by smallholder farmers in South Africa. This research is imperative in order to evaluate the full potential benefit and economic value of biofertilizers to smallholder farmers.
Ms. Letlhogonolo Moeng (MoengL@arc.agric.za) is registered for a MSc at North-West University. She is investigating the antagonism of fungal strains obtained from tomato fruits and evaluating the efficacy of those fungal antagonists during storage trial for post-harvest loss management.
Ms. Rosina Nkuna (MakofaneR@arc.agric.za) is registered for a MSc at UNISA. She is investigating the use of water hyacinth as a substrate for anaerobic digestion.
Ms. Sinawo Tsipinana (TsipinanaS@arc.agric.za) is registered for a MSc at UNISA. She is investigating the potential impact of climate variation on soil health in maize-producing provinces in South Africa under conservation and conventional tillage systems.
Postdoctoral and postgraduate students who would like to gain and share experience in different aspects of microbiology and biotechnology are welcome to join the Research Group. As a research institution the ARC is able to assist postgraduate students to register at various South African universities. Students have the option of conducting their experiments either at ARC-SCW or at the university at which they are registered, where they will also usually have academic supervisors.
Please contact Prof. Rasheed Adeleke for more information or to discuss possible research projects and funding opportunities:
Tel: +27 (0)12 310 2519