Title of project: Actinobacterial diversity associated with two medicinally important plants, Aloe ferox and Sutherlandia frutescens
Position: PhD Candidate
I completed my undergraduate degree at Stellenbosch University in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology after which I completed both my Honours and Master’s degrees in Plant Biotechnology at the Institute for Plant Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University. During this time I published two papers. During 2014 I worked for a short period at West Cape Biotech, where I was responsible for tissue culture of various agricultural plants including seedless grapes, peach trees, onions, cucumbers and peppers. I also started my own small homemade cosmetics company making plant-based beauty products inspired by my studies on medicinal plants. In 2015/2016 I completed a one year internship via the DST-NRF internship program at the Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics. During the internship I was involved in bioactivity screening of actinobacteria associated with the commercial herbal plant Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos). This inspired me to further my studies and follow my dream to do my doctoral studies. In my doctoral study I will be screening the diversity, bioactivity and plant growth promotion activity of actinobacteria associated with two commercially important medicinal plants, Aloe ferox (bitter aloe) and Sutherlandia frutescens (cancer bush). I believe that biotechnology holds the key to discovering solutions mankind is facing in this century including health issues and food and water scarcity. I love spending time outdoors and playing with my two Border Collies. In my free time I like to give my creative side free reign by drawing, painting, doing graphic designing or photography.
Publications and Posters:
- Albrecht CF, Stander MA, Grobbelaar MC, Colling J, Kossmann J, Hills PN, Makunga NP (2012) LC-MS-based metabolomics assists with quality assessment and traceability of wild and cultivated plants of Sutherlandia frutescens (Fabaceae), South African Journal of Botany 82: 33 – 45
- Grobbelaar MC, Makunga NP, Stander MA, Kossmann J, Hills PN (2014) Effect of strigolactones and auxins on growth and metabolite content of Sutherlandia frutescens (L.) R. Br. microplants in vitro, Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture 117: 401 – 409
- Grobbelaar MC, Ontong V, Kirby BM, Bioactive actinobacteria associated with Aspalathus linearis, Poster presentation at the SASM conference, Durban, 2016
- Grobbelaar MC, Kirby BM, Rooibos: A source of natural antibiotics, Poster presentation at the DST-NRF internship research day, Cape Town, 2016