Dr Gerhard Potgieter
Senior Lecturer
Plant Sciences
BL 129
Plant Sciences
IB 62
051 4012928

Short CV

Gerhard Potgieter matriculated at the Lichtenburg Secondary School in 1975. He obtained his B.Sc. in Botany and Zoology at the PU for CHE in 1978. He started his career as a Junior Researcher in the Plant Protection Unit of the former Department of Agriculture in 1979. In 1983 he obtained a B.Sc Honors (Plant Physiology) at the University of Pretoria. He was appointed as a Junior Lecturer-Researcher in 1984 at the University of the Free State where he completed both his M.Sc and Ph.D in plant physiology in 1987 and 2001 respectively. He is a member of the South African Assosiation of Botanists (SAAB). The SAAB Bronze medal was awarded to him for the best Ph.D thesis in Botany in South Africa for the year 2001. Gerhard teaches plant physiology and biochemistry at pre- and post-graduate levels. He has supervised and co-supervised 8 M.Sc. students and 1 PhD student. He has 10 articles in accredited journals and has presented 28 papers on his work both locally and internationally.

Publications (Short List)

Small, J.G.C., Potgieter, G.P. & Botha, F.C. 1986. Anoxic seed germination of Erythrina caffra. (Abstract). Plant Physiol. 80 S: 23
Small, J.G.C., Potgieter, G.P. & Botha, F.C. 1989. Anoxic seed germination of Erythrina caffra: Ethanol fermentation and response to metabolic inhibitors. J. Exp. Bot. 40:375-381.
Potgieter, G.P. & Botha, F.C. 1989. Beheer van alkoholdehidrogenase-aktiwiteit in kiemende Citrullus lanatus sade. Die Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie. 9:1 60-61.
Potgieter, G.P. & Botha, F.C. 1990. Apparent control of the negatively otoblastic germination response of Citrullus lanatus seeds by oxygen. Plant Physiol. 93:1 154.
Botha, F.C., Potgieter, G.P. & Botha, A.M. 1992. Respiratory metabolism and gene expression during seed germination. Plant Growth Regulation 11: 211-224.Schotz, N, Scholtz, O.F. & Potgieter, G.P. 2005. Potential environmental impact resulting from inadequate remediation of uranium mining in the Karoo Uranium Province, South Africa. Uranium Mining and Hydrogeology. 789-799.

Scholtz O.F., Scholtz N. & Potgieter G.P. 2007. Citric acid induced phytoextraction of uranium using high biomass crop plants. Die Suid Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie, 26:1 74. Abstracts: Symposium for Biological Sciences (Free State University, 2006).

Potgieter, G.P. & Pretorius, J.C. 2008. The regulation of reserve mobilization in cotyledons of lipid-rich Cucumis sativus L. seeds. South African Journal of Botany 74: 251-259.

Scholtz, O.F. & Potgieter, G.P. 2008. An Overview: Phytoextraction as a Rehabilitation Strategy for Metal Polluted Soils. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum Bloemfontein 24: 49-60.

Potgieter, G.P. & Pretorius, J.C. 2008. Control of reserve mobilization in seed cotyledons. Review of research done on Cucumis sativus L. at UFS. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum Bloemfontein 24: 37-48.


  • Oxygen sensing mechanisms in plants
  • Plant growth manipulation

Area(s) of Interest

My expertise comprise two areas, namely, seed physiology and the hydroponic cultivation of plants. My interest in seed physiology entails the control of reserve mobilisation during germination and seedling establishment, especially in seeds that store lipids as reserve material. I have contributed to the understanding of the importance of oxygen in controlling the lipid degradation process. The “oxygen sensing” mechanism/s involved, and the control thereof, in lipid rich seeds germinated under conditions deprived of oxygen is currently under investigation. Recently I also became involved in both theoretical and practical aspects of the hydroponic cultivation of plants. This technique is a tool for investigating different aspects important to plant growth and development, i.e. the effect of natural “bio-catalists” on plant growth and yield, “oxygen sensing” in plant roots under flooded conditions, increased disease resistance through controlled nutrient media and so forth.

Courses Presented

PLK 262 (Introductory Plant Biotechnology)
PLK 324 (Plant Respiration and Photosynthesis)
PWS 614 (Research Techniques) 
PLK 624 (Plant Physiology 1 (Metabolism & Growth))



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

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