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Prof James C du Preez
James du Preez is a professor of microbiology and head of the Department of Microbial, Biochemical & Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He obtained his Ph.D. in microbiology from the above university in 1980 after completing a major part of his Ph.D. research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich.
James’s research interests are in the field of fermentation biotechnology with a special interest in continuous (chemostat) cultures, yeast physiology and the application of microbial cells for the production of metabolites in submerged culture. His focus has been on the effects of cultivation conditions on growth, product formation and microbial physiology, especially the production of heterologous proteins by recombinant yeasts and aspects pertaining to bioethanol production from starchy and lignocellulosic feedstocks, including xylose fermentation by yeasts. Other research topics have included microbial biomass (single cell protein) production, amylase production by natural and recombinant yeasts, gibberellin production in solid state culture, astaxanthin production, the production of high value essential lipid derivatives by filamentous fungi, the production of a bacterial exotoxin for the animal vaccine industry, xylanase production by yeasts and filamentous fungi, and the continuous culture kinetics and physiology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, recently focusing on the role of alcohol dehydrogenase isozymes in multiple deletion mutants.
James has authored or co-authored a total of 97 peer-reviewed articles as well as several other papers and book chapters. Extensively involved in the scientific community, he serves in the council of the South African Society for Microbiology, is a member of the International Commission for Yeasts, a member of the editorial board of FEMS Yeast Research and an associate editor for World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. Recently he was appointed the American Society for Microbiology’s ambassador to South Africa and elected a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).