Dr Charlene Marais
Senior Lecturer
IB 48
051 401 7292
Chemistry Building 202

Short CV


BSc (UFS), BSc (Hon) (UFS), MSc (UFS), PhD (Chemistry) (UFS)


Charlene Marais (née Rabe) completed both her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of the Free State. These projects entailed the isolation, identification and synthesis of metabolites from rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) and also a biomimetic investigation of the fermentation of rooibos.  Charlene has worked on a SASOL project as post-doctoral fellow, as a Senior Medical Scientist at the Department of Pharmacology (UFS), was a facilitator and coordinator in the Access Programmes and, since 2008, co-supervisor and supervisor of various M.Sc. and Ph.D. projects in Industrial Process Chemistry, homogeneous catalysis and organic synthesis in general.


Her current research focuses on the modification of industrial and other catalytic methodology (e.g. hydroformylation, olefin metathesis, transfer hydrogenation) for the preparation of flavonoids, stilbenoids and other compounds with potential anti-cancer, anti-HIV and antimalarial activities. The reaction mechanisms are investigated and the reaction conditions optimized by analysis of the reaction mixtures and products by different NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) techniques, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS), gas chromatography (GC), GC-MS, infrared spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. 







Phenolic metabolites from rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis).

            C. Rabe, J.A. Steenkamp, E. Joubert, J.F.W. Burger and D. Ferreira.

            Phytochemistry 1994, 35 (6), 1559 - 1565.  DOI:  10.1016/S0031-9422(00)86894-6

The Occurrence of Phenylpyruvic Acid in Woody Plants:  Biosynthetic Significance.

            C. Marais, J.A. Steenkamp and D. Ferreira.

            Tetrahedron Letters 1996, 37 (32), 5763 – 5764.

            DOI:  10.1016/0040-4039(96)01178-1

The Occurrence of Phenylpyruvic Acid in Woody Plants:  Biosynthetic Significance and Synthesis of an Enolic Glucoside Derivative.

            C. Marais, J.A. Steenkamp, D. Ferreira.

            J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans. I 1996, 2915 – 2918.  DOI: 10.1039/P19960002915

(S)- and (R)-Eriodictyol-6-C-b-D-glucopyranoside, novel keys to the fermentation of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis).

            C. Marais, W. Janse van Rensburg, D. Ferreira and J.A. Steenkamp.

            Phytochemistry 2000, 55, 43 –49.  DOI:  10.1016/S0031-9422(00)00182-5

Two new promelacacinidin dimers including a novel flavanone-flavanol dimer characterised by a unique C(3)-C(4) linkage, from the heartwood of Acacia nigrescens.

            H. Howell, E. Malan, D.J. Brand, B.I. Kamara, B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt, C. Marais and J.A. Steenkamp.

            Chemistry of Natural Compounds 2007, 43 (5), 533 – 538.

DOI:  10.1007/s10600-007-0184-0

Enantio-enriched dihydroflavonols via stereoselective a-hydroxylation of flavanones.  Biosynthetic significance.

            Z.M. Border, W. Janse van Rensburg, C. Marais and J.A. Steenkamp.

            Aust. J. Chem. 2008, 61, 122 – 130.  DOI:  10.1071/CH07325

Regioselective hydrogenation of a,ß-unsaturated ketones with Wilkinson’s catalyst.

            J.H. van Tonder, C. Marais, D. J. Cole-Hamilton and B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt.

            Synthesis 2010, 3, 421 – 424.  DOI:  10.1016/j.tetlet.2011.12.060

Catalytic epoxidation of stilbenes with non-peripherally alkyl substituted carbonyl ruthenium phthalocyanine complexes.

            C.A. Enow, C. Marais and B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt

            Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines 2012, 16, 403 – 412.

            DOI: 10.1142/S1088424612500459

Al(OTf)3:  An Efficient Recyclable Catalyst for Direct Nucleophilic Substitution of the Hydroxyl group of Propargylic Alcohols with Carbon and Heteroatom Centered Nucleophiles to Construct C-C, C-O, C-N and C-S bonds.

            M. Gohain, C. Marais and B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt.

            Tetrahedron Letters 2012, 53, 1048 -1050.  DOI:  10.1016/j.tetlet.2011.12.060

Ring closing metathesis as new methodology for the synthesis of monomeric flavonoids.

            Bradley J. Miller, Tanya Pieterse, Charlene Marais, Barend C.B. Bezuidenhoudt

            Tetrahedron Letters 2012, 53, 4708 – 4710.  DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2012.06.094

An Al(OTf)3-catalyzed environmental benign process for the propargylation of indoles.

            M. Gohain, C. Marais and B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt

            Tetrahedron Letters 2012, 53, 4704 – 4707.  DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2012.06.095

Al(OTf)3 catalysed Friedel-Crafts Michael type addition of indoles to a,ß-unsaturated ketones with PEG-200 as recyclable solvent.

            M. Gohain, Jc Jacobs, C. Marais and B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt

            Australian Journal of Chemistry 2013, 66, 1594-1599.

Thermo-analytical determination of intermediates in the copper catalysed rearrangement of o-toluic acid to meta-cresol.

            A.C. Sunil, E.H.G. Langner, C. Marais and B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt.

            Catal. Sci. Technol. 2013, 3, 2227 – 2233.  DOI:  10.1016/j.tetlet.2011.12.060

Non-peripherally substituted phthalocyanines as catalysts in the epoxidation of alkenes.

            C.A. Enow, C. Marais and B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt

            Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines 2015, 19, 582-594.

            DOI: 10.1142/S108842461450103X

Al(OTf)3:   An efficient Lewis Acid additive for domino addition-elimination of Grignard Reagents to activated ketones.

            Tanya Pieterse, Melanie Visser, Charlene Marais and Barend B.C. Bezuidenhoudt

            Synlett 2016, 27, 1541-1546.  DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1561401

Parameters Influencing Activity and Regioselectivity in the Methoxycarbonylation of Arylalkenes.

            Maretha du Plessis, Charlene Marais and B.C.B. Bezuidenhoudt

            Synthesis 2016, 4 (48), 557-565.  DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1560912

Performance in Chemistry of students who started in the University Preparation Programme: The ripple effect

Charlene Marais, Rina Meintjes, C. Robert Dennis, Jannie C. Swarts

            South African Journal of Science 2016, 112 (7/8), Art. #a0162, 3 pages.

DOI: 10.17159/sajs.2016/a0162

The Extended BSc Programme:  Performance of students in Chemistry

C. Robert Dennis, Rina Meintjes, Charlene Marais, Ricky Versteeg and Jannie C. Swarts

South African Journal of Science 2017, 113 (9/10), Art. #a0229, 4 pages.

DOI:  10.17159/sajs.2017/a0229 

A variable temperature NMR analysis and resonance assignment of the Grubbs second generation catalyst

Marthinus Rudi Swart, Linette Twigge, Charlene Marais, Barend Christiaan Buurman Bezuidenhoudt

Polyhedron 2018, 152, 31-36.  DOI:  10.1016/j.poly.2018.06.024

Crystal structure of 3-(4-methoxyphenyl)-1-phenylprop-2-yn-1-one, C16H12O2

Jireh B. M. Smit, Charlene Marais, Frederick P. Malan, Barend C. B. Bezuidenhoudt

Z. Kristallogr. NCS 2019; 234(2): 359–360.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ncrs-2018-0418

Crystal structure of 2,4-dimethoxybenzyl-triphenylphosphonium trifluoroacetate

            trifluoroacetic acid solvate, C31H27F6O6P

            Jireh B. M. Smit, Charlene Marais, Frederick P. Malan, Barend C. B. Bezuidenhoudt

            Z. Kristallogr. NCS 2019, 234(4): 621–623.

            DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ncrs-2018-0573

Palladium catalyzed hydroesterification of substituted alkenes under microwave conditions (ZA-11198BP)

            Maretha du Plessis, Charlene Marais and Barend C. B. Bezuidenhoudt

            ARKIVOC, 2020, 2020 (3), 40 – 48. DOI: 10.24820/ark.5550190.p011.198

Spectroscopic characterisation of Grubbs 2nd generation catalyst and its p-cresol derivatives

            M.R. Swart, Barend C.B. Bezuidenhoudt, C. Marais, E. Erasmus

Inorganica Chimica Acta 2021, 514, 120001.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ica.2020.120001

NMR data of a Grubbs 2 nd generation catalyst p -cresolate derivative

M.R. Swart, BarendC.B. Bezuidenhoudt, C. Marais, E. Erasmus

Data in Brief 2021, 34, 106634.  DOI: 10.1016/j.dib.2020.106634


Area(s) of Interest

Organic synthesis


Natural product chemistry

Courses Presented

CHEM1623 (Organic Chemistry)




CHEM6853 (Retrosynthesis)


Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531


Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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