Dr Makoena Moloi
Senior Lecturer
Plant Sciences
Department Plant Sciences
IB 63
Biology Building 129

Short CV

Makoena Joyce Moloi originates from the Eastern Free State, Qwaqwa. She obtained matric from Lekgulo Senior Secondary School in Qwaqwa. She obtained BSc degree majoring in Botany and Genetics (2000), BSc Honours in Botany (2000), MSc in Botany (2002), and PhD in Botany (2010) at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein campus. Her postgraduate training research centered on investigating the defence responses of wheat following infestation by the Russian wheat aphid.

In 2003, she assumed the role of lecturer in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State Qwaqwa campus. Later, she served as a senior lecturer in Biology at Sol Plaatje University. Dr. Moloi re-joined the Department of Plant Sciences at the UFS main campus in 2018 as a senior lecturer in the Botany division. Her research delves into the impacts of climate change factors, such as drought and heat, on the physiological, biochemical, and morphological aspects of agriculturally significant crops. Additionally, she explores strategies for mitigating drought and heat stress through the application of biostimulants and biofertilizers.

With considerable relevance to the agricultural and scientific communities, particularly in the face of changing climates, her research holds promise for practical solutions. Dr. Moloi actively mentors postgraduate students and is an active academic citizen. She is a full member of the South African Association of Botanists.


Publications arising from various research projects and collaborative efforts address a range of subjects, primarily centered around the overarching issue of climate change. These manuscripts delve into the repercussions of stressors like drought, heat, and metal stress on the physiological, biochemical, growth, and yield aspects of diverse agricultural crops, including edamame, grain soybean, spinach, cowpea, and more. Additionally, other manuscripts concentrate on proposing practical solutions to mitigate stress in these crops, aiming to ensure sustainable food production.

Publications (Short List)

Moloi, M.J., Mwenye, O., van der Merwe, R. 2016. Differential involvement of ascorbate and guaiacol peroxidases in soybean drought resistance. South African Journal of Science 112 (9/10). Art. #2016-0028, 4 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/ sajs.2016/20160028.

Tóth, B., Moloi, M.J. 2019. The use of industrial waste materials for alleviation of iron deficiency in sunflower and maize. International Journal of Recycling of Organic Waste in Agriculture 8: 145–151. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40093-019-0284-4

Tóth, B., Juhász, C., Labuschagne, M., Moloi, M.J. 2020. The Influence of Soil Acidity on the Physiological Responses of Two Bread Wheat Cultivars. Plants 2020, 9, 1472.

Tóth, B., Bóka, K., Rothmann, L., Moloi, M.J. 2021. The effect of four industrial by-products on the photosynthetic pigments, dry weight and ultrastructure of Zea mays L. Biology Bulletin 48 (3): 296-305 

Moloi, M.J., van der Merwe, R. 2021. Drought tolerance responses in vegetable-type soybean involve a network of biochemical mechanisms at flowering and pod filling stages. Plants 10 (8): 1502; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081502. Paper has been selected Academic Editor as being of special interest and is featured in a special edition of Plants entitled “Editor’s Choice Articles”. 

Szoke, L., Moloi, M.J., Kovács, G., Biró, G., Radócz, L., Hájos, M.T., Kovács, B., Rácz, D., Danter, M., Tóth, B. 2021. The Application of Phytohormones as Biostimulants in Corn Smut Infected Hungarian Sweet and Fodder Corn Hybrids.Plants 10 (9): 1822;https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091822 

Kovács, G.E., Szoke, L., Tóth, B., Kovács, B., Bojtor, C., Illés, Á., Radócz, L., Jr., Moloi, M.J., Radócz, L. 2021. The Physiological and Biochemical Responses of European Chestnut (Castanea sativaL.) to Blight Fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica(Murill) Barr). Plants10: 2136. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102136

Tóth, B.; Moloi, M.J.; Szoke, L.; Danter, M.; Grusak, M.A. 2021. Cultivar Differences in the Biochemical and Physiological Responses of Common Beans to Aluminum Stress.Plants10: 2097. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102097

Hlahla, J.M., Mafa, M.S., van der Merwe, R., Alexander, O., Duvenhage, M-M., Kemp, G., Moloi, M.J. 2022. The Photosynthetic Efficiency and Carbohydrates Responses of Six Edamame (Glycine max. L. Merrill) Cultivars under Drought Stress. Plants 11: 394. Paper has been selected Academic Editor as being of special interest and is featured in a special edition of Plants entitled “Editor’s Choice Articles”.

Tóth, B.; Moloi, M.J.; Mousavi, S.M.N.; Illés, Á.; Bojtor, C.; Szoke, L.; Nagy, J. 2022. The Evaluation of the Effects of Zn, and Amino Acid-Containing Foliar Fertilizers on the Physiological and Biochemical Responses of a Hungarian Fodder Corn Hybrid. Agronomy 12: 1523. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071523

Moloi, M.J., Khoza, B.M. 2022. The Effect of Selenium Foliar Application on the Physiological Responses of Edamame under Different Water Treatments. Agronomy 12: 2400. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12102400

Liatile, P.C.; Potgieter, G.; Moloi, M.J. 2022. A Natural Bio-Stimulant Consisting of a Mixture of Fish Protein Hydrolysates and Kelp Extract Enhances the Physiological, Biochemical and Growth Responses of Spinach under Different Water Levels. Plants 2022, 11, 3374. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11233374

Szoke, L., Moloi, M.J., Kaczur, D., Radócz, L., Tóth, B. 2023. Examination of Different Sporidium Numbers of Ustilago maydis Infection on Two Hungarian Sweet Corn Hybrids’ Characteristics at Vegetative and Generative Stages. Life 13, 433. https://doi.org/10.3390/life13020433

Kaczur, D., Moloi, M.J., Takácsné, M.H., Tóth, B. 2023. Investigation of the impacts of the by-product of sewage treatment on some characteristics of maize in the early growth. Acta Agraria Debreceniensis 2023-2, 77-82. https://doi.org/10.34101/actaagrar/2/12565


South Africa recently faced one of its most severe droughts and heat waves, resulting in detrimental effects on crop production, including job losses and elevated food prices. Dr. Moloi`s research is dedicated to understanding the impacts of drought, high temperatures, and the combined stresses of both on the physiological, biochemical, and morphological responses of crops such as vegetable-type soybean (also known as Edamame or large-seeded soybean), wheat, cowpea, and spinach. Through this research, she identifies crucial physiological and biochemical responses that can guide the selection of cultivars for breeding purposes.

In another facet of her research, Dr. Moloi focuses on developing strategies to mitigate the stress of drought and high temperatures. This involves utilizing biostimulants and biofertilizers to enhance crop production under severe drought and heat conditions. This aspect of her work is crucial as it provides practical solutions for farmers struggling with challenging circumstances, such as drought, contributing to more sustainable food production and a safer environment.

She collaborates with colleagues specializing in plant breeding (University of the Free State), carbohydrate metabolism (University of the Free State), organic chemistry (University of Iowa, USA), and nutrition and biostimulants (University of Debrecen, Hungary).

In addition to her research endeavors, Dr. Moloi supervises Ph.D., MSc, and BSc Hons students in their research pursuits.


Area(s) of Interest

Plant physiology

Plant ecophysiology

Plant biochemistry



Courses Presented











Community Service

Guest editor for a special issue in the journal, PLANTS

Reviewer for a number of journals in the field of Plant physiology

External examiner for various academic institutions




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

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

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