Dr Chrizelle Krynauw (née Beukes)

Research Scientist: Beneficial Plant-Microbe Interactions
Ecological Sciences
I completed my PhD in Microbiology at the University of Pretoria (UP, South Africa); my research focus is the legume-rhizobium symbiosis. An interaction between a group of soil bacteria (referred to as "rhizobia") and plants in the Leguminosae (e.g., beans and peas) that results in the bacteria fixing atmospheric nitrogen in exchange for photosynthates. I routinely catalogue rhizobial diversity, delineate these isolates and determine their evolutionary relationships. I have focused on the symbiosis in various settings, from indigenous South African legumes, to woody encroachers (native legume trees invading grasslands) and finally to invasive species such as Australian Acacia species.  

I am currently involved in several projects, including NUE-Leg (Nitrogen Utilisation Efficiency-Legumes) which is funded by the UK Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The aim of this project is to minimise the dependence of grassland farmers on inorganic nitrogen fertiliser by employing novel legume varieties, the most efficient rhizobial symbionts and optimised plant nutritional formulations. The other projects investigate the rhizobia associated with indigenous UK legumes in the genera Astragalus and Oxytropis as well the symbionts of broom (Cytisus scoparius) and gorse (Ulex europaeus).

I still actively supervise PhD students based at UP (in conjunction with colleagues at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute [FABI]). The five students I currently supervise predominantl focus on rhizobia in the genera Paraburkholderia, Bradyrhizobium, Mesorhizobium and Rhizobium. The legume hosts span soybean to various indigenous South African legumes.


Prior to appointment