Assoc. Prof. Marla Trindade
DST/NRF SARChI, Research Chair in Microbial Genomics
Director of IMBM: Institute for Microbial Biotechnology & Metagenomics
My research interests lie in the microbial ecology of various environments, including thermophilic, psychrophilic, acidophilic, haloalkalophilic, marine and freshwater lakes. I am also investigating the microbial communities associated with important South African plants, including sorghum and fynbos. The understanding of microorganisms in their environment creates a natural link with biotechnology. Processes, mechanisms and products associated with microbial survival in an environment can be exploited for white, green and blue biotechnology. I therefore have several diverse interests in the application of microorganisms in biotechnology.
- D. A. Cowan. I. M. Tuffin. F. T. Robb (2010) ‘‘Sequence First, Ask Questions Later’’: The Impact of Next Generation-Omics on the Discovery of Novel Microbial and Lipid Hydrocarbon Metabolism. In: Timmis, Kenneth N. (Ed.) Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology, Springer Heidelberg, Vol 4, pp. 3367-3374.
- Meiring, T. L., Mulako, I., Tuffin, M., Meyer, Q., Cowan, DA. 2010. Retrieval of Full Length Functional Genes using Subtractive Hybridization Magnetic Bead Capture. Ch. 20 In: Metagenomics: Mthods and Protocols, Vol. 668 of Methods in Molecular Biology. W. Streit and R. Daniel (Ed.): Humana Press Inc. Totowa NJ, USA. pp. 287-298.
- Meiring, T., Bauer, R., Scheepers, I., Ohlhoff, C., Tuffin, M., Cowan, D. 2011. Metagenomics and beyond: current approaches and integration with complementary technologies. Ch. In Metagenomics: Current approaches and integration with complementary technologies. Marco, D., ed. Caister Acad. Press, Publ. pp. 1-26.
- Taylor, MP, Van Zyl, L, Tuffin, M, Cowan, DA. Extremophiles and biotechnology: How far have we come? Ch. In Extremophiles: Microbiology and Biotechnology. Antinori, R., ed. Horizon Press. Accepted.
- Mutondo, M., Huddy, R., Bauer, R., Tuffin, M., Cowan, D. 2011. Metagenomic gene discovery. Ch. 15 In Metagenomics and its applications in agriculture, biomedicine and Environmental studies. RW Li, Ed. In Press.
- Kirby, B., Le Roess-Hill, M., Cary, S., Burton, S., Tuffin, M., Cowan, D. 2011. Actinobacterial diversity associated with Antarctic Dry Valley mineral soils. Ch. 13 In Handbook of Molecular Microbial Ecology II: Metagenomics in different habitats. Fras de Bruijn, Ed., John Wiley & ons, New Jersey. In Press.
- Taylor, M., Ramond, J-B., Tuffin, S., Burton, S., Eley, K., Cowan, D. 2011. Mechanisms and Applications of Microbial Stress Tolerance. Ch. 6 In: Microbial stress tolerance: from genomics to biofuels. CABI Publ. In Press.
- Kirby, BM, Easton, S, Tuffin, IM, Cowan, DA. (2011) Bacterial Diversity in Polar Habitats. Miller, RV, Whyte, LG., Eds. ASM Press. Accepted for Publication.
- Kirby, BM, Barnard, D, Tuffin, IM, Cowan, DA. Ecological distribution of microorganisms in terrestrial, psychrophilic habitats. In: Extremophiles Handbook. In Press
- Cowan, D., Tuffin, M., Mulako, I., Cass, J. Life in Terrestrial Hydrothermal Environments. Ch. in Life in Extremes, Bell, E., Ed., CABI Press. Accepted for publication.
- Trindade, M., V. Abratt, S. Reid. 2003. Induction of sucrose-utilising genes from Bifidobacterium lactis by sucrose and raffinose. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 69: 24-32.
- Tuffin, M., P. de Groot, S. Deane & D. Rawlings. 2004. Multiple sets of arsenic resistance genes are present within highly arsenic resistant industrial strains of the biomining bacterium, Acidithiobacillus caldus. International Congress Series. 1275: 165-172.
- Tuffin, M., P. de Groot, S. Deane & D. Rawlings. 2005. An unusual Tn21-like transposon containing an ars operon is present in highly arsenic resistant strains of the biomining bacterium Acidithiobacillus caldus. Microbiology. 151: 3027-3039.
- Tuffin, M., S. Hector, S. Deane & D. Rawlings. 2006. The resistance determinants of a highly arsenic resistant strain of Leptospirillum ferriphilum isolated from a commercial biooxidation tank. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 72: 2247-2253.
- Kotze, A., M. Tuffin, S. Deane & D. Rawlings. 2006. Isolation of the chromosomal arsenic resistance genes from Acidithiobacillus caldus and enhanced arsenic resistance on conjugal transfer of ars genes located on transposon TnAtcArs. Microbiology. 152: 3551–3560.
- Taylor, M., Tuffin, M., Burton, S., Eley, K., Cowan, D. 2008. Microbial responses to solvent and alcohol stress. Biotechnol. J. Nov;3(11):1388-97.
- Taylor MP, Eley KL, Martin S, Tuffin MI, Burton SG, Cowan DA. 2009. Thermophilic ethanologenesis: future prospects for second-generation bioethanol production. Trends Biotechnol. 27:398-405.
- Tuffin, M., Anderson, A., Heath, C., Cowan, D. 2009. Metagenomic gene discovery: How far have we moved into novel sequence space? Biotechnology Journal. 4(12): 1671-1683.
- Cowan, D., Tuffin, M. 2009. Capturing global metabolism. Nature biotechnology. 27(12): 1132-1133.
- Staniland, S., Coppock, M., Tuffin, M., van Zyl, L., Roychoudhury, A. N., Cowan, D. 2010. Cobalt uptake and resistance to trace metals in Comamonas testosteroni isolated from a heavy-metal contaminated site in the Zambian Copperbelt. Geomicrobiology Journal. 27(8): 656 – 668.
- Musingarimi, W., Tuffin, M., Cowan, D. 2010. Characterisation of the Arsenic Resistance Genes in Bacillus sp. UWC Isolated from Maturing Fly Ash-Acid Mine Drainage Neutralized Solids. South African Journal of Science. 106: 59-63.
- Casanueva, A., Tuffin, M., Cary, C., Cowan, C. 2010. Molecular adaptations to psychrophily: the impact of “omic” technologies. Trends in Microbiology. 18: 374-381.
- Barnard, D. Casanueva, A., Tuffin, M., Cowan, D. 2010. Extremophiles in biofuel synthesis. Environmental Technology. 31(8): 871-888.
- Cowan, A., Pointing, S., Stevens, M., Cary, C., Stomeo, F., Tuffin, M. 2011. Distribution and abiotic influences on hypolithic microbial communities in an Antarctic Dry Valley. Polar Microbiology. 34:307–311.
- Taylor, MP, Van Zyl, L, Tuffin, M, Leak, D., Cowan, DA. 2011. Genetic tool development underpins recent advances in thermophilic whole cell biocatalysts. Microbial Biotechnology. Feb 10. [Epub ahead of print].
- Nel, A., Tuffin, M., Sewell, T., Cowan, D. A unique aliphatic amidase from a psychrophiic and haloalkaliphilic Nesterenkonia isolate. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Accepted.
- Rohr, LM, Mashaphu, N, Sheridan, C, Burton, SG, Tuffin, M., and Cowan, DA. Seasonal shifts of the microbial community structure in a winery waste-impacted wetland soil. Trans. Roy. Soc. SA. Accepted.
- Khan, N, Tuffin, IM, Carey, SC, Cowan, DA. 2011. Hypolithic microbial communities of quartz rocks from Miers Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Polar Biology, 34(11), 1657-1668.
- Cowan, DA, Sohm, JA, Makhalanyane, TP, Capone, DG, Green, TGA and Cary, SC. Tuffin, M. Hypolithic communities: an important nitrogen source in Antarctic desert soils, Envir Microbiol. Accepted.
- Hu XP, Heath C, Taylor MP, Tuffin M, Cowan DA. 2012. Isolation and characterisation of a novel, cold-active alkaliphilic esterase from Antarctic desert soil. Extremophiles 16(1):79-86.
Who Am I?
I obtained my PhD in Microbiology in 2003 from the University of Cape Town (UCT), where I studied “Carbohydrate metabolism in Bifidobacterium”. For the following 3 years, I took up a post-doc position in Doug Rawlings’s Biomining Laboratory at the University of Stellenbosch, where I studied the molecular biology of heavy metal resistance in biomining organisms. I joined IMBM in 2006 as a post-doc, and was appointed Deputy Director in 2008 and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biotechnology.
I co-ordinate the BTN 213 Food and Environmental Microbiology; BTN 312 Industrial Biotechnology; and BTN 706 Extremophiles courses at the undergraduate and Honours levels. I additionally run a short course (Microbial Ecology and Bioremediation) in the Biotechnology Masters at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Moçambique..