Dr Maria Cawood
Research Fellow
Plant Sciences
Plant Sciences
IB 64
051 4019213
Biology Building 50

Short CV

QUALIFICATIONS: B.Sc. 1983 University of the Free State

Higher Education Diploma -Post Graduate (Biology, Mathematics) 1983 UFS

B.Sc. Hons (Plant Physiology and Biochemistry) 1984 University of the Free State

M.Sc. (Cum Laude) 1986 University of the Free State

Ph.D 2008 (Induction of defence responses and resistance to wheat leaf rust by plant extracts)

University of the Free State

CAREER PARTICULARS: 1983 – 1985 Research assistant, Dept of Plant Sciences, UFS
1986-1987 Researcher at Marion Island, Department of Environmental Affairs
1988-1989 Researcher, Agricultural Research Council, Pretoria
1990-1994 Researcher, Medical Research Council - Cape Town
1995-2008 Researcher, Dept of Microbiology and Biochemistry, Dept of Soil, Crop and Climate
Sciences, UFS
2009-2010 Post Doctoral Associate, Dept of Chemistry, UFS
2011-current Lecturer, Dept of Plant Sciences, UFS 



Publications (Short List)

Cawood ME, Pretorius JC, van der Westhuizen JH, van Heerden FR (2015). A saponin isolated from Agapanthus africanus differentially induces apoplastic peroxidase activity in wheat and displays fungicidal properties. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 37:246.

Cawood ME, Pretorius JC, Visser B, van der Westhuizen AJ (2013). Induced gene expression in wheat seedlings treated with a crude extract of Agapanthus africanus L. prior to leaf rust infection. African Journal of Biotechnology 12(20) : 2876-2883.

Cawood ME, Pretorius JC, van der Westhuizen AJ, Pretorius ZA (2010). Disease development and PR-protein activity in wheat (Triticum aestivum) seedlings treated with plant extracts prior to leaf rust (Puccinia triticinia) infection. Crop Protection 29 : 1311-1319.

Cawood ME, Gelderblom WCA, Alberts JF, Snyman SD (1994). Interactions of 14C labelled fumonsin B mycotoxins with primary rat hepatocyte cultures. Food and Chemical Toxicology 32: 627- 632.

Cawood ME, Gelderblom WCA, Vleggaar R, Behrend Y, Thiel PG, Marasas WFO (1991). Isolation of the fumonisin mycotoxins: a quantitative approach. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 39, 1958-1962.


RESEARCH: The following aspects are covered by my research

1. Plant defence mechanisms - Oxylipins are likely signals in the early resistance response of
plants. The main objective is to identify oxygenated lipids (novel compounds) during the
early defence responses of wheat against the Russian wheat aphid.

2. Plant activators / extracts – The role of a) chitosan oligomers b) “Gliogrow” and
suspensions of the fungus, Trichoderma and c) other plant extracts to act as elicitors in
the defence and resistance mechanism of wheat against the Russian Wheat Aphid and
leaf rusts.

3. Repellent and insecticidal activity of plant extracts towards the Russian Wheat Aphid.

3. Influence of abiotic stress on chemical compounds and allelopathic properties of Amaranthus cruentus.

Area(s) of Interest

Plant Physiology

Plant Biochemistry

Natural compounds from plants

Courses Presented

PLK 224 (Plant Physiology)
PLK 344 (Plant Stress Physiology)
PWS 684 (Plant Analytical Biochemistry)

Community Service

Service Learning


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

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