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Overview

The department of Microbiology at the University of Venda began as a degree option in the combined Biochemistry and Microbiology Department in 1996. In 1999 a professor in Microbiology was appointed and Department of Microbiology was established as a full fledged department with 2 academic staff, 45 undergraduate students and 5 honours students. Such a development was natural as number of students enrolled for microbiology increased, demanding special focus in this decipline. Currently the department offers combined degree with Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry and Zoology.

Departmental Mission and Vision

The department seeks to produce scientific and technical manpower necessary for achieving national goal of South Africa. The vision of the department is to be an effective provider of knowledge and skills in Microbiology that will empower the students through awareness of the significance of microorganisms in health, environment, industry and general human welfare; through a problem -based project oriented curriculum that will enable them to contribute to socio-economic development of its community, region and nation as competent microbiologists.

The department of Microbiology offers modules on different aspects relating the role of micro-organisms in health, environment and industrial processes.

The following qualifications are offered:

  • B.Sc.: Bachelor of Science with Microbiology as major
  • B.Sc. (Hons): Bachelor of Science Honours degree (Microbiology)
  • M.Sc.: Master of Science in Microbiology 4. PhD: Doctor of Phylosophy Microbiology

Course Modules Offered

Undergraduate Modules:

In addition to school requirements for admission candidates wishing to study Microbiology must have offered and passed specified modules at first year level in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Candidates for direct admission must have met the matriculation exemption requirements plus two advanced level passes in Biology and Chemistry. Further information can be obtained from the Head of Department.

Dr. Eunice Obiajulu Igumbor
Tel: 015 962 8264
Email: eoigumbor@univen.ac.za

First Year:

  • BIO 1541 - Diversity of Life
  • MBY 1620 - Introduction to Microbiology, Chemistry, Physics, Biological Sciences

Second Year:

  • MBY 2521 - Bacteriology
  • MBY 2522 - Immunology
  • MBY 2623 - Environmental Microbiology
  • MBY 2624 - Virology

Third Year:

  • MBY 3526 - Food Microbiology
  • MBY 3527 - Industrial Microbiology
  • MBY 3628 - Parasitology
  • MBY 3629 - Mycology

Postgraduate Modules:

Honours Programmme

The following is a list of modules offered for the honours programme:

  • MBY 5501 - Advanced research methodology
  • MBY 5502 - Application of immunological concepts and advanced isolation, identification techniques in Microbiology
  • MBY 5503 - The role of microorganisms in desease
  • MBY 5604 - The role of microorganisms in industry
  • MBY 5605 - The role of microorganisms in environment
  • MBY 5606 - Research project and report

Masters Programme

A Masters degree is by research only.
MBY 6000 - Research project and Seminars.

Doctoral Programme

A Doctoral degree is by research only.
MBY 7000 - Research Project and Seminars.

Publications and Research

The Department of Microbiology has the following niche areas:

1. Antimicrobial/Active components potentials of traditional Medicinal plants
2. Water Quality Assessment
3. HIV/AIDS Click for Abstract
4. Tuberculosis

The following is a list of research/ publications done by the staff members:

Prof. N. Potgieter (Publications/Research Interest): Total publications = 11

Publications in the last five years

  • Potgieter N, Holtzhausen CS, Grundlingh A and Grabow WOK. Evaluation of two methods for the recovery of viruses from water. SA Med J 1990;79:338.

  • Potgieter N, Prinsloo N, Swanevelder C and Grabow WOK. Comparison of six cell cultures for the detection of enteric viruses. SA Med J 1990;79:339.

  • Potgieter N, Van Wyngaardt S, Grabow WOK and Verschoor JA. An anti-coxsackie B1 monoclonal antibody suitable for affinity chromatography. SA J Sci 1997;93:75–80.

  • Obi CL, Potgieter N, Randima LP, Mavhungu NJ, Musie E, Bessong PO, Mabogo DEN and Mashimbye J. Antibacterial activitites of five plants against some medically significant human bacteria. SA J Sci 2001;98:25-8.

  • Obi CL, Potgieter N, Bessong PO and Matsuang G. Assessment of the microbiological quality of river water sources in rural Venda communities in South Africa. Water SA 2002;28:287 - 291.

  • Obi CL, Potgieter N, Bessong PO and Matsuang G. Scope of potential bacterial agents of diarrhoea and microbial assessment of quality of river water sources in rural Venda communities in South Africa. Wat Sci Tech 2002;47:59 - 64.

  • AD Steele, I Peenze, MC De Beer, CT Pager, J Yeats, N Potgieter, U Ramsaroop, NA Page, JO Mitchell, A Geyer, P Bos and JJ Alexander. Anticipating rotavirus vaccines: epidemiology and surveillance of rotavirus in South Africa. Vaccine2003;21:354–60.

  • Obi CL, Potgieter N, Bessong PO, Masebe T and Molobela P. In-vitro antibacterial activity of Venda medicinal plants. SA J Bot 2003;69:1–5.

  • Obi CL, Green E, Bessong PO, De Villiers B, Hoosen AA, Igumbor EO and Potgieter N. Gene encoding virulence markers among E. coli isolates from diarrhoic stool samples and river water sources in rural Venda communities of South Africa. Water SA 2004;30(1):37-42.

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DR P.O. Bessong

Peer reviewed publications

  • HIV genetic diversity, HIV drug resistance; anti-HIV replication properties of plant-derived substances; enteropathogens in HIV/AIDS.

  • Pascal Obong Bessong (2008). Review: Polymorphisms in HIV-1 subtype C proteases and their potential impact on protease inhibitors. Tropical Medicine and International Health. (In press).

  • Pascal Obong Bessong (2008). Issues surrounding herbal therapies for AIDS in endemic regions. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 102: 209-210.

  • Pascal Obong Bessong. Ethnopharmacology of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. In: Recent Progress in Medicinal plants Vol 15: Natural Products I. JN Gohil, VK Singh (Eds). Stadium Press LCC, Houston, USA. 2007. ISBN 0-9761847-7-4.

  • Pascal Obong Bessong, Jeffrey Mphahlele, Isaac Choge, Larry Obi, Lynn Morris, Marie-Louise Hammarskjöld, David Rekosh (2006). Resistance mutational analysis of HIV-1 subtype C among rural South African drug naïve patients prior to large scale availability of antiretrovirals. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 22(12): 1306-1312.

  • Steven J. Reynolds, Pascal O. Bessong, Thomas C. Quinn (2006). Human Retroviral Infections in the Tropics. In: Tropical Infectious Diseases: Principles, Pathogens, and Practice. RL Guerrant, DH Walker, PF Weller (Eds). 2nd Edition. Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier Publishers, Ireland. ISBN 0-443-06668-X. Pp 852-883.

  • Pascal Obong Bessong, Chikwelu Larry Obi (2006). Ethnopharmacology of HIV in South Africa – a minireview. African Journal of Biotechnology 5(19): 1693-1699.

  • Pascal Obong Bessong, Larry Chikwelu Obi, Tonie Cilliers, Isaac Choge, Mary Phoswa, Candice Pillay, Maria Papathanasopoulos and Lynn Morris (2005). Characterization of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 from a previously unexplored region of South Africa with a high HIV prevalence. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 21(1): 103-109.

  • Pascal Obong Bessong, Chikwelu Larry Obi, Marie- Line Andréola, Luis Rojas, Laurent Pouségu, Eunice Igumbor, Marion Meyer, Stéphane Quideau, Simon Litvak (2005). Evaluation of selected South African medicinal plants for inhibitory properties against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase and integrase. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 99(1): 83-91.

  • Obi CL, Ramalivhana J, Momba MNB, Onabolu B, Igumbor JO, Lukoto M, Mulaudzi TB, Bessong PO, Jansen van Rensburg EL, Green E, Ndou S (2007). Antibiotic resistance profiles and relatedness of enteric bacterial pathogens isolated from HIV/AIDS patients with and without diarrhea and their household drinking water in rural communities in Limpopo Province, South Africa. African Journal of Biotechnology 6: 1035-1047.

  • Samie A, Obi CL, Franaziak J, Archbald-Pannone L, Bessong PO, Alcantarra-Warren C, Guerrant RL. Community acquired Clostridium difficile in Vhembe district, South Africa: Preliminary studies using molecular biology methods for the detection of triose phosphate isomerase (tpi), toxin A (tcdA), toxin B (tcdB), binary toxin (cdtA, cdtB) and tedC genes. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (In press).

  • EO Igumbor, CL Obi, PO Bessong, N Potgieter, T. Mkasi. Bacteriological evaluation of bank notes in circulation in Thohoyandou (2007). South African Journal of Science 103: 365-366.

  • Samie A, Obi CL, Bessong PO, Houpt E, Stroup S, Njayou M, Sabeta C, Mduluza T, Guerrant RL (2007). Entamoeba histolytica: Genetic diversity of African strains based on the polymorphism of the serine-rich protein gene. Experimental Parasitology 118: 354-361.

  • Pascal O. Bessong, Luis B. Rojas, Larry C. Obi, Peter M. Tshisikhawe, Eunice O. Igumbor (2006). Further screening of Venda medicinal plants for activity against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and integrase. African Journal of Biotechnology 5(6): 526-528.

  • Amidou Samie, Pascal O Bessong, Larry C Obi, Jesus E Sevilleja, Suzanne Stroup, Eric Houpt, Richard L Guerrant (2006). Cryptosporidium species: Preliminary descriptions of the prevalence and genotypic distribution among school children and hospital patients in the Venda region, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Experimental Parasitology 114: 314-322.

  • Amidou Samie, Larry C. Obi, Pascal O. Bessong, Suzanne Stroup, Eric Houpt, Richard Guerrant (2006). Prevalence and species distribution of E. histolytica and E. dispar in the Venda Region, Limpopo, South Africa. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 75(3): 565-571.

  • Samie A, Njayou M, Bessong PO, Obi CL, Mouchili F, Tuikue NNG, Sabeta CT, Mduluza T (2006). Use of an immuno-peroxidase staining method for the detection of Entamoeba histolytica in stool samples in endemic areas. Journal of Tropical Microbiology and Biotechnology 2: 10-18.

  • Natasha Potgieter, Chikwelu Larry Obi, Pascal Obong Bessong, Eunice Obiajulu Igumbor, Amidou Samie, Rose Nengobela (2005). Bacterial contamination of Vhuswa - a local weaning food, and stored drinking water in impoverished households in the Venda Region of South Africa. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition 23(2): 150-155.

  • CL Obi, N Potgieter, PO Bessong. Enteric pathogens in water sources and stools of residents in the Venda Region of the Limpopo Province. ISBN 1-77005-192-9. Water Research Commission, South Africa. June 2005.

  • CL Obi, B. Onabulu, MNB Momba, JO Igumbor, J Ramalivhana, PO Bessong, EJ van Rensburg, M Lukoto, E Green, TB Mulaudzi (2006). The interesting cross-paths of HIV/AIDS and water in Southern Africa with special reference to South Africa. Water SA 32(3): 323-343.

  • Samie A, Obi CL, Bessong PO, Namrita L (2005). Activity profiles of fourteen selected medicinal plants from rural Venda communities in South Africa against fifteen clinical bacterial species. African Journal of Biotechnology 4 (12): 1443-1451.

  • Pascal Obong Bessong, Chikwelu Larry Obi, Marie-Line Andreola, Simon Litvak (2004). In-vitro activity of three selected South African medicinal plants against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase. African Journal of Biotechnology 3(10): 555-559.

  • Samie A, Mduluza T, Sabeta CT, Njayou M, Bessong PO. Obi CL (2005). Detection and differentiation of Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba dispar from clinical samples by PCR and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Journal of Tropical Microbiology and Biotechnology 5: 3-9.


  • CL Obi, PO Bessong, MNB Momba (2004). Profiles of antibiotic susceptibilities of bacterial isolates and physico-chemical quality of water supply in rural Venda communities, South Africa. Water SA 30(4): 515-519.

  • CL Obi, E. Green, PO Bessong, B de Villiers, EO Igumbor, N Potgieter (2004). Gene encoding virulence markers among Escherichia coli isolates from diarrhoiec stool samples and river sources in rural Venda communities of South Africa. Water SA 30(1): 37-42.

  • CL Obi, N Potgieter, PO Bessong, EO Igumbor, E. Green (2003). Prevalence of pathogenic bacteria and rotaviruses in stools of patients presenting with diarrhoea from rural communities in Venda, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 99: 589-592.

  • CL Obi, N Potgieter, PO Bessong, T Masebe, P Molobela (2003). In-vitro antibacterial activity of Venda medicinal plants. South African Journal of Botany 69(3): 119-203.

  • CL Obi, N Potgieter, PO Bessong, G Matsaung (2003). Scope of potential bacterial agents of diarrhoea and microbial assessment of quality of river water sources in rural Venda communities in South Africa. Water Science and Technology 47(3): 59-64.

  • Chikwelu Larry Obi, Pascal Obong Bessong (2002). Diarrhoeagenic bacterial pathogens in HIV-positive patients with diarrhoea in rural communities of Limpopo Province, South Africa Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition 20(3): 230-234.

  • Obi CL, Potgieter N, Bessong PO, Matsaung G (2002). Bacteriological Assessment of Quality of River Water Sources in Rural Venda Communities in South Africa. Water SA 28: 287-292.

  • Obi CL, Potgieter N, Randima L.P, Mavhungu NJ, Musie E, Bessong PO, Mabogo DEN, Mashimbye J (2002). Antibacterial activities of five selected medicinal plants against some human bacteria of medical importance. South African Journal of Science 98: 25-28.

  • Obi CL, Potgieter N, Randima LP, Mavhungu NJ, Musie E, Bessong PO, Mabogo DEN, Mashimbye J (2001). Antibacterial activities of Datura stramonium, Zanthoxylum davyi, Securidaca longependiculata against selected bacteria of medical importance. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 17(Suppl 1): S125.

Contributions to Genbank (111 sequences)

Pascal Obong Bessong et al.

Sequences from primary isolates of South African drug naïve HIV-1 infected individuals:

  • AY510031-AY510043 (13 HIV-1 subtype C complete protease nucleotide sequences, South Africa).

  • AY510044-AY510056 (13 HIV-1 subtype C partial reverse transcriptase nucleotide sequences, South Africa).

  • AY510057-AY510066 (10 HIV-1 subtype C complete envelope V-3 loop nucleotide sequences, South Africa).

  • DQ222243-222282 (40 HIV-1 subtype C complete protease nucleotide sequences, South Africa).

  • DQ222283-DQ222317 (35 HIV-1 subtype C partial reverse transcriptase nucleotide sequences, South Africa.

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The following is a list of staff members and their contact details in the Department of Public Health:

Designation Name Contacts
HOD

Prof. N. Potgieter

Tel: +27 15 962 8256
Email: natashap@univen.ac.za

Mr. T.S. Ndou


Tel: +27 15 962 8335
Email: sinky@univen.ac.za

Dr. P O Bessong

Tel: +27 15 962 8301
Fax: +27 15 962 4749
Email: bessong@univen.ac.za

Mr E. Musie


Tel: +27 15 962 8301
Fax: +27 15 962 4749
Email: edgar.musie@univen.ac.za