Dr Rouxlene van der Merwe
Senior Lecturer
Plant Sciences
LG 4.108A
Plant Sciences
IB 63
051 4019672
Agriculture Building: Block 4 4.109A

Short CV

Rouxléne van der Merwe (maiden name Coetzee) was born in Bloemfontein. She matriculated at JBM Secondary School and started her tertiary career at the University of the Free State in 1999. She obtained the degrees: B.Sc. Agric. (Plant Breeding and Genetics), M.Sc. Agric. (Plant Breeding) with distinction and PhD (Plant Breeding). During her Ph.D. studies the influence of different environments on the seed oil quality of high-oleic acid sunflower hybrids in South Africa was investigated. Environmentally stable high-oleic genotypes were identified for specific seed yield and oil quality components. Her studies included investigation of oil oxidative stability in the different hybrids as well as molecular approaches to identify genetic markers linked to the high-oleic acid trait. She was appointed as a research assistant at Plant Breeding from 2003 to 2009. In 2009 she started her career as Professional Officer and was appointed in the position of Lecturer in 2011. She is a member of the Southern African Plant Breeders Association. She attended at presented oral and poster contributions at two international and five national conferences. She authored three scientific papers in accredited journals and has one book chapter that is accepted for publication. She lectures two undergraduate Plant Breeding modules and is involved in postgraduate supervision.


  • Van der Merwe, R., Labuschagne, M.T., Herselman, L. and Hugo, A. 2013. Stability of seed oil quality traits in high and mid-oleic acid sunflower hybrids. Eyphytica (in press)
  • Van der Merwe, R. and Hugo, A. Sources of oleic acid and their technological and health implications. Chapter 6 In: Silva, L.P. (Ed). Oleic acid dietary sources, functions and health benefits. Submitted to Nova Science Publishers Inc. (in press).
  • Van der Merwe, R., Hugo, A., Herselman, L. and Labuschagne, M. 2012. Physicochemical and oxidative stability characteristics of high- and mid-oleic sunflower seed oil (poster presentation). In: Proceedings of the 18th International Sunflower Conference, Mar del Plata and Balcarce, Argentina. 08-VC-12, pp. 955-960. 27 February – 1 March 2012.
  • Coetzee, R., Herselman, L. and Labuschagne, M.T. 2009. Genetic diversity analysis of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) using AFLP markers. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization 7, 122-126.
  • Coetzee, R., Labuschagne, M.T. and Hugo, A. 2008. Fatty acid and oil variation in seed from kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L). Industrial crops and products 27, 104-109.


Rouxléne is involved in two research projects on soybean variety evaluation.

  • The one project includes the selection for drought tolerance in soybean. In this project the role of proline and root traits as biochemical and physiological markers in selection for drought tolerance are being investigated. The project is funded by the UFS Cluster.
  • The second project involves variety evaluation of Chinese Edamame (vegetable soybean) under South African conditions.

Her main research interest lies in the genetic improvement of vegetable oil crops such as sunflower and soybean with the aim to improve food end-use quality.

Area(s) of Interest

Conventional plant breeding, plant physiology and food biochemistry.

Courses Presented

PLT 224 – Principles of Plant Breeding

PLT 314 – Selection Methods and Quantitative Genetics 



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

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