Molecular Food Microbiology Research Group

"Food probably has a very great influence on the condition of men. Wine exercises a more visible influence, food does it more slowly but perhaps just as surely. Who knows if a well-prepared soup was not responsible for the pneumatic pump, or a poor one for a war?"
G.C. Lichtenberg, late 1700s.


Our Goals and Vision...

Our goal in the Molecular Food Microbiology Research Group is to better understand the biological and microbiological phenomena that are essential for the improvement of food safety and food quality. The projects undertaken by this research group cover a diverse range of research interests including: biochemistry, molecular biology, microbial genomics, food safety and security, and improvement of food quality.
The tradition of co-operation which exists among the different faculties throughout the university allows the graduate student access to equipment, techniques and expertise that are necessary for the planning and execution of successful research. This research group attempts to foster creative and future-oriented students who want to play a role in improving the health and safety of individuals, while developing the South African food industry.

Who we are...

The arrival of 2009 brings with it some exciting changes and research opportunities for the Stellenbosch University Molecular Food Microbiology Research group. Not only is our laboratory abuzz with new Masters students, but it is also now home to a record number of post grads working on a diverse range of project topics under the guidance of project leader, Prof. Corli Witthuhn.

What we do...

The main focus of our group is on the utilisation of molecular techniques to explore relevant fields of research. Molecular techniques commonly utilised include the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).

Research is largely focused on the detection, identification and quantification of a variety of micro-organisms in foods, ranging from spoilage and pathogenic micro-organisms to probiotics. Ultimately, the results of this research will potentially play a role in the improvement of food safety and quality.

Cato loading an agarose gel Enette preparing a dilution series


  Masters Projects

Amy Strydom

TYPIFICATION AND PHYLOGENETIC RELATEDNESS OF CRONOBACTER SAKAZAKII STRAINS ISOLATED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES


 

Cató Steyn

EVALUATION AND CONTROL OF ALICYCLOBACILLUS IN THE FRUIT PROCESSING ENVIRONMENT.

Enette van der Merwe

EVALUATION OF THE COMPONENTS IN FRUIT JUICE THAT CAUSE AND SUSTAIN THE GROWTH OF ALICYCLOBACILLUS AND THE SUBSEQUENT PRODUCTION OF GUAIACOL

Ingrid Bester

IDENTIFICATION AND SUBTYPING OF LISTERIA MONOCYTOGENES IN A SOUTH AFRICAN FRUIT PROCESSING FACILITY

  PhD Projects
Donna Cawthorn

DETECTION OF COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE FISH IN SOUTH AFRICAN FOODS AND CHARACTERISATION OF THEIR POTENTIAL ALLERGENS USING MOLECULAR AND PROTEOMIC APPROACHES

  Post Doctoral

Michelle Cameron (Dr.)
PROJETC TITLE: DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN VIABLE AND DEAD PROBIOTIC CELLS IN SOUTH AFRICAN DAIRY PRODUCTS

Other research of interest:
* Evaluation of the anti-microbial properties of Kefir against Mycobacterium bovis
* Phylogenetic analysis of 42 strains of Cronobacter sakazakii

Co-study leader on two Masters Projects

  Study Leader/Promoter
Prof. Corli Witthuhn

VICE DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF AGRISCIENCES

 

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