Monday, 20 January 2014 10:20



Application of enzymes in Organic Chemistry

Biocatalysis researchers at WITS (Prof Dean Brady, Prof Charles de Koning, Dr Amanda Rousseau, Dr Karl Rumbold and Dr Moira Bode) are seeking students interested in pursuing MSc or PhD degrees or a Post-Doctoral study.  Successful applicants will work in multi-disciplinary projects towards the synthesis of biologically active or commercially useful compounds.

Post-Doc bursary of R180 – R200k p.a.

PhD bursaries of R60 - R100k p.a.

MSc bursaries of R40 – R70 p.a.

South African nationals or permanent residents will receive priority.

This research is supported by the DST Biocatalysis initiative. Interested applicants please send a covering letter and a short CV, together with the names of two academic referees to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . All enquiries can also be directed to the above address or to 011 717 6745.

Thursday, 28 November 2013 22:40

TitterfeedHere is a link to the post-conference twitter feed, for those who want to explore, follow-up or just reminisce about #SASM2013.

Friday, 22 November 2013 18:50


During the #SASM2013 Conference, all participants are invited to post opinions, reports, and feedback on the meeting’s Twitter Wall.

Simply tweet using your laptop or smartphone using the official conference hashtag: #SASM2013

How do people use Twitter at conferences? Here is a list:

  1. Share highlights of a interesting topic that was presented.
  2. Share resources about a topic presented, i.e. an interesting web link, pdf article etc.
  3. Ask a question about a topic or conference event.
  4. Share your conference experience.

Lastly, keep the content of the tweets as relevant as possible. The Twitterwall is extremely useful for people who cannot physically attend the conference to follow whats happening at #SASM2013.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 12:46

PUBThe Public Understanding of Biotechnology (PUB) programme is celebrating 10 years of informing the South African public on issues of biotechnology.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 19:26

IUMS2014XIVth International Congress of Bacteriology and Applied Microbiology
XIVth International Congress of Mycology
XVIth International Congress of Virology

Monday, 18 November 2013 20:21

Do you have colleagues or new students that are not receiving SASM's newsletter? Kindly forward the following link ( in an email to them to sign up!

SASM Banner

Sunday, 17 November 2013 11:54

TwitterDuring the SASM2013 Conference, all participants are invited to post opinions, reports, and feedback on the meeting’s Twitter Wall. The Twitter Wall can be viewed at the Convention Center’s Main Lobby. All you need is a mobile device with an installed Twitter app, or a web browser.

Setting Up A Twitter Account

Go to, and sign up. You will need to enter identifying information and agree to the terms of service. You will need to verify your email address before continuing.  Twitter will walk you through a setup wizard of sorts, and ask you to follow five or more people. This is optional, though the website doesn’t give you an option to skip it. Search for “#SASM2013” if you wish to follow the messages at the conference. Otherwise, at this point, if you don’t want to go any further in the setup wizard, go back to and independently update your profile page and if desired, add a photo.  Other Twitter users like to see photos of tweeters.

Install a Twitter Application on your Mobile Device

One option for using Twitter is to install a Twitter app on your mobile device. Go to and select your device.  If you do not wish to install an app for Twitter, you can still use Twitter within your web browser.

Sending a Tweet to the SASM2013 Twitter Wall

You can do this within the Twitter app on your mobile device, or on the Twitter website. On the website, you can post a tweet by clicking on Home and then type inside the left-hand box that says “Compose new Tweet”. You are limited to 140 characters in a single tweet. At the end of each message, in order for your message to appear on the Twitter wall, you must put #SASM2013 at the end, such as:
Plenary Speaker Dr. Jones starting now – hall packed, exciting, standing rm only! #SASM2103

Twitter Etiquette

All incoming tweets are monitored by ASRM staff, and those tweets that show up with the hashtag #SASM2013 and that pass moderation will be posted to the Twitter Wall.  In order for a tweet to pass moderation, the following guidelines should be kept in mind:
  • Messages must be about Meeting content or activities.
  • Messages cannot contain personal information.
  • Messages cannot personally attack another person.
  • Messages that SASM considers unprofessional will not be displayed on the Twitter Wall.

We hope you’ll join us in tweeting the #SASM2013 Meeting in November!

Friday, 15 November 2013 17:58

Maneshree-Jugmohan-NaiduDr Maneshree Jugmohan-Naidu (Deputy Director: Biotechnology at the Department of Science and Technology)

Title: The National Bioeconomy Strategy

Friday, 15 November 2013 17:46

Doug RawlingsProf Doug Rawlings (acting Dean of the Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University)

Title: Three decades of developments in our understanding of the microbiology of biomining

Friday, 15 November 2013 17:39


Prof Anthony I Okoh (Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Fort Hare)

Title: Emerging challenges of microbial water quality in South Africa: a clarion call for the review of current guidelines and problem of shortage of skilled manpower in the water sector.

Saturday, 09 November 2013 23:31

Gansen PillayDr Dorsamy (Gansen) Pillay (Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Research and Innovation Support and Advancement), National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa)

Title:  Knowledge Production in Microbiology: How does South Africa compare?

Saturday, 09 November 2013 23:22

Emile van ZylProf. W.H. (Emile) van Zyl (Senior Chair of Energy Research (CoER) in Biofuels, South African National Energy Research Institute (Pty) Ltd (SANERI), Department of Microbiology, Stellenbosch University)

Keynote Title: Modern bioenergy and its potential role towards enabling a sustainable future for southern Africa

Saturday, 09 November 2013 22:56

Evodia SetatiDr. M. Evodia Setati (Senior Researcher, Institute for Wine Biotechnology, Stellenbosch University)

Keynote Title: The wine microbial consortium and its evolution during spontaneous fermentation

Sunday, 03 November 2013 18:45

The 18th Biennial Conference of the South African Society of Microbiology (SASM), SASM2013, promises to be another successful and exciting conference with a scientific programme covering a diverse spectrum of microbiological topics. Here are some current stats and highlights:

Thursday, 27 September 2012 19:13

Over the past 30 years, he has made internationally recognised contributions to the field of molecular biology about microorganisms that can be used in biomining practices. He has been evaluated as an A-rated scientist by the National Research Foundation since 1992. It is the highest ranking that a South African scientist can receive, and recognises the person as an international leader in his or her specific field. In 2011 he was also rewarded the SASM Gold Medal for exceptional service to Microbiology over an extended period of time.

We asked Prof Rawlings some key questions about his career as a microbiologist.

Thursday, 27 June 2013 22:12

The quality of the essential commodity water is being compromised by contaminants originating from anthropogenic sources, industrial activities, and agriculture amongst others.  Water scarcity and severe drought in many regions of the world also represents a significant challenge to the availability of this resource.  Domestic rainwater harvesting (DRWH), which involves the collection and storage of water from rooftops and diverse surfaces, is successfully implemented worldwide as a sustainable water supplement. In South Africa, a water-scarce country, the use of domestic rainwater harvesting is predominantly practised by communities situated in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. While the use of DRWH tank systems can definitely suffice and serve as an alternative water supply, there is a health risk associated with the use of this water source for drinking purposes, especially if the water is used untreated. Currently the information available on the microbial and chemical quality of harvested rainwater in South Africa is limited.

Sunday, 21 April 2013 18:16

Antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens is a major cause of concern for modern medicine, as this renders these “miracle drugs” ineffective. The accidental discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Fleming and the countless lives saved by this antibiotic in the 1940’s pioneered modern medicine. However, injudicious use of penicillin and various other antibiotics has caused a major problem in the treatment of “once easily treatable” bacterial infections. A marked increase in antibiotic-resistant pathogens has been reported over the last few decades, including the well-known methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria has amplified this problem. Antibiotic resistance is causing a regression back to a “pre-antibiotic era” where a minor scrape or cut can lead to a battle between life and death. Skin is our first line of defence against the onslaught of various pathogens causing infection; it plays a role in thermoregulation and maintaining of homeostasis in addition to having immunological, neurosensory and metabolic functions. Severe skin damage, however, exposes underlying tissue to microbial invasion which can easily progress into severe life threatening infections if not treated successfully.

Monday, 11 March 2013 17:06

Very few people know that the smell from wet soil on a rainy day is due to the presence of a compound called geosmin. This compound is produced by a variety of soil dwelling actinobacterial strains. Actinobacteria are amazing microorganisms and have been exploited over the past century for their ability to produce antibiotics, enzymes, antioxidants and pigments.

Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:44

The University of the Western Cape is partner of a large-scale, four-year project launched in October 2012 called PharmaSea funded by the EU. The UWC team is led by Prof Marla Tuffin, Acting Director of the Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics (IMBM), and in collaboration with Prof Michael Davies-Coleman.The collaborative project PharmaSea will bring European researchers to some of the deepest, coldest and hottest places on the planet. Scientists from the UK, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark will work together to collect and screen samples of mud and sediment from huge, previously untapped, oceanic trenches. The large-scale, four-year project is backed by more than €9.5 million of EU funding and brings together 24 partners from 14 countries from industry, academia and non-profit organisations.

Monday, 05 November 2012 12:25

A free-swimming southern right whale, St. Helena Bay (South Africa).  Economic growth and stability, standard of living, social inclusion, development of human capital, critical infrastructure, urbanization, industrialization, human rights and jobs for the nation are among the ideals and realities faced by most nations and governments in our current world. However, the benefits of economic welfare are frequently accompanied by increased pressure on the natural environment and resources. High levels and volumes of pollution and waste are released into marine ecosystems, especially near urban areas. Taking into account that 21 of the 33 mega cities of the world are located on coastlines, high volume discharges present a major threat to the health and well-being of marine life, including cetacean species.