Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Botes Group

GROUP LEA​DER: Dr Annelise Botes

P​osition: Lecturer

Office:     A117 JC Smuts Building

Phone:    +27-(0)21-808-5883

Fax:         +27-(0)21-808-5863

Email:      a​​


PhD, University of Stellenbosch, Biochemistry, 2004

Research focus​​

Ostrich pathogens and vaccine development

Research techniques and Research fields​​

Immunology, ELISA, diagnostic PCR, establishing immunization schedules, DNA-vaccines, molecular biology, new generation sequencing techniques, prokaryote genome sequencing and annotation, DNA- and protein sequence bioinformatics.

Description of Research​​

Our research focuses on disease causing organisms in ostriches and specifically organisms that have an impact on ostrich production that are therefore important to the South African ostrich industry.  As a result of this we have in the past been involved in establishing an ELISA and immunization schedules for Newcastle Disease Virus, development of ELISA's for Clostridium perfringens toxins and currently, the development of DNA-vaccines against mycoplasmas.

Mycoplasma cause respiratory tract infections in ostriches and is specifically a problem amongst feedlot ostriches where chronic infections can lead to a decrease in production as well as down grading of carcasses. We have shown mycoplasma infections in ostriches to be as a result of three unique Mycoplasma species (1) and have since focussed on the development of DNA-vaccine against two of the species (2). To this end we have determined the genome sequence of the two mycoplasma in order to identify suitable vaccine candidate genes for use in a DNA-vaccines (3). These genes have been inserted into different vaccine vectors for subsequent evaluation in vaccination trials.  Recurrent problems with avian influenza has interrupted vaccination trials, but trials could recently be resumed (December 2014). The vectors have also been electro-porated into mutant Salmonella carriers for the future development of mucosal vaccines.

The initial genome sequences generated was not complete and we are therefore also in the process of completing and annotating these genomes using a combination of bioinformatic software and addisional DNA sequencing.


Prof Dirk Bellstedt, University of Stellenbosch

Dr Adriaan Olivier, Klein Karoo International (Pty) Ltd., Oudtshoorn, South Africa

​Current students

MSc: Ms Hestie Jonker (supervisor A Botes, co-supervisor D Bellstedt)

MSc: Mr Bertie de Wet (supervisor A Botes, co-supervisor D Bellstedt)

Ph D: Ms Mariet Wium (supervisor A Botes, co-supervisor D Bellstedt)

​​​​Past students

Ms Lisa van der Merwe (MSc graduated 2006), Ms Benita Pretorius (MSc graduated 2009), Ms Shandré Steenmans (MSc graduated 2010), Ms Sonja Brandt (MSc graduated 2012), Ms Amanda van Tonder (MSc graduated 2013), Ms Marliz Strydom (MSc graduated 2013).

​​​Selected Publications

Botes, A., B. M. Peyrot, A. J. Olivier, W. P. Burger, and D. U. Bellstedt, D.U. (2005)  The identification of three novel ostrich mycoplasmas in South Africa. Veterinary Microbiology 111:159-169.

Botes, A., Pretorius, B., Olivier, A. J., Burger, W.P. and Bellstedt, D.U. (2008)  Vaccine strategies against ostrich mycoplasmas.  Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture (Animal Production Science), Special Issue: Ratite Science for Industry and Conservation 48(10):ix.

Wium, M., A. Botes and D.U. Bellstedt (2015)  The identification of oppA gene homologues as part of the oligopeptide transport system in mycoplasmas. Gene 558:31-40.