Description: Microbial  Biochemical and Food Biotechnology Keywords: EXBOC


What is Extreme Biochemistry?

Extreme Biochemistry is part of the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology.

The current department arose from the merger in 1988 of the departments of Microbiology and Biochemistry (both founded in the early 1960s), and the more recent merger with the department of Food Science. The department was awarded the status of a MIRCEN (Microbiological Resources Centre) by UNESCO in 1996.

The department comprises of 21 academic staff with approximately 80 post-graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. We offer training in the broad disciplines of Biochemistry, Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Science at an undergraduate level as well as at B.Sc. Hons., M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels.

There are also post doctoral fellow positions available in the Department. A particular strength of the department is the close association between the disciplines of biochemistry and microbiology, resulting in a dynamic interchange of ideas and expertise.

The focus of the different research groups in the department is on various facets of microbial, biochemical and food biotechnology, including yeast physiology and taxonomy, biocatalysts and biotransformation, protein biochemistry, molecular biology, deep subsurface life and extremophiles, chromatin structure and gene expression, food chemistry, bacteriology & biotechnology, lipid biotechnology, fermentation biotechnology, microbial phylogenetics, bioremediation and veterinary biotechnology.

Extreme Biochemistry is one discipline that concentrates on a multidisciplinary approach that includes geomicrobiology, geochemistry, microbial phylogenetic analysis, metagenomics, protein chemistry, molecular biology and applied microbiology. The Saense Platform is the research group specifically focusing on Extreme Biochemistry and is funded by TIA. For more information on the Saense Platform,

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Prof Esta van Heerden

T: +27 51 401 2472
F: +27 51 401 9376

Physical and mailing address:
Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology
Biotechnology Building, Swot Road
University of the Free State
205 Nelson Mandela Drive
Park West
South Africa


Faculty Manager: Mrs Velaphi Makgwahla
T: + 27 51 401 3199

Marketing Manager: Mrs Elfrieda Lötter
T: +27 51 401 2531

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