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 Dr. Marshall Keyster

Position: Senior Lecturer
Department: Department of Biotechnology
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Science
Qualifications: BSc, BSc Hons, MSc (UWC), PhD (US)
Tel: 021 959 2214
Fax: 021 959 3505


 Marshall Keyster completed his undergraduate studies, as well as Honours and Masters at the University of the Western Cape where in both degrees he focused on using molecular biology tools to study microorganisms from soil at the Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics. He then left UWC to pursue a PhD in plant molecular research at the Institute for Plant Biotechnology, which he successfully completed in 2010. He returned to UWC in 2011 to pursue a Post-Doctorial position [on a Department of Science and Technology (DST) innovation scholarship] and officially became a member of the academic staff (UWC Biotechnology department) as Lecturer in June 2012. All of the experimental chapters in his PhD thesis are published to date which was on “Nitric oxide mediated signalling in legumes and its role in maize responses to salt stress” and which specifically focused on salinity stress and mechanisms which plants can use to overcome this stress. Currently, he has his own research group known as the Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory (EBL) (established, January 2013) which hosts registered students at honours level, Masters level and PhD level.  

Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory (



    1. Leach J, Keyster M, Du Plessis M, Ludidi N (2010) Nitric oxide synthase activity is required for development of functional nodules in soybean. J Plant Physiol, 167: 1584–1591.

    2. Keyster M, Klein A, Ludidi N (2010) Endogenous NO levels regulate nodule functioning: Potential role of cGMP in nodule functioning? Plant Signal Behav, 5: 1663–1665.

    3. Keyster M, Klein A, Egbich I, Jacobs A, Ludidi N (2011) Nitric oxide increases the enzymatic activity of three ascorbate peroxidase isoforms in soybean root nodules. Plant Signal Behav 6: 956–961.

    4. Keyster M, Klein A, Ludidi N (2012) Caspase-like enzymatic activity and the ascorbate-glutathione cycle participate in salt stress tolerance of maize conferred by exogenously applied nitric oxide. Plant Signal Behav 7: 349–360.

    5. Keyster M, Klein A, Du Plessis M, Jacobs A, Kappo A, Kocsy G, Galiba G, Ludidi N (2013) Capacity to Control Oxidative Stress-Induced Caspase-like Activity Determines the Level of Tolerance to Salt Stress in Two Contrasting Maize Genotypes. Acta Physiol Plant 35: 31–40.

    6. Boldizsár Á, Simon-Sarkadi L, Szirtes K, Soltész A, Szalai G, Keyster M, Ludidi N, Galiba G, Kocsy G (2013) Nitric oxide affects salt-induced changes in free amino acid levels in maize. J Plant Physiol 170:1020–1027.

    7. Keyster M, Adams R, Klein A, Ludidi N (2013) Nitric oxide (NO) regulates the expression of single-domain cystatins in Glycine max (soybean). Plant Omics 6: 183–192.

    8. Klein A, Keyster M, Ludidi N (2013) Caffeic acid decreases salinity-induced root nodule superoxide radical accumulation and limits salinity-induced biomass reduction in soybean. Acta Physiol Plant 35:3059–3066.

    9. Egbichi I, Keyster M, Jacobs A, Klein A, Ludidi N (2013) Modulation of antioxidant enzyme activities and metabolites ratios by nitric oxide in short-term salt stressed soybean root nodules. S Afr J Bot 88:326–333.


    10. Egbichi I, Keyster M, Ludidi N (2014) Effect of exogenous application of nitric oxide on salt stress responses of soybean. S Afr J Bot 90:131–136.

    11. Klein A, Keyster M, Ludidi N (2015) Response of soybean nodules to exogenously applied caffeic acid during NaCl-induced salinity. S Afr J Bot 96:13–18.

    12. Ullah S, Kolo Z, Egbichi I, Keyster M, Ludidi N (2016) Nitric oxide influences glycine betaine content and ascorbate peroxidase activity in maize. S Afr J Bot 105:218–225.

    13. Gokul A, Roode E, Klein A, Keyster M, (2016) 3,3'-diindolylmethane increases Brassica napus L. seedling shoot growth through modulation of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide content. J Plant Physiol 196:93–98.


    International conference proceedings: Morné Du Plessis, Paul Kappo, Ndiko Ludidi (2010) Nitric oxide synthase activity is required for soybean root nodule development and functioning and functions via regulating cysteine endopeptidase activity and antioxidant capacity. 4th International Symposium of the SFB 429, Potsdam, Germany. Marshall Keyster, Alex Jacobs, Ashwil Klein, Morné Du Plessis, Paul Kappo, Gábor Kocsy, Gábor Galiba, Ndiko Ludidi (2010) Two maize genotypes demonstrate the importance of antioxidant capacity and cysteine endopeptidase activity in regulating plant tolerance to salt stress. 4th International Symposium of the SFB 429, Potsdam, Germany.



 I collaborate with Prof. Antje Heese and Prof. David Mendoza-Cozatl from the University of Missouri-Columbia (USA) on “Improving plant tolerance to heavy metal stress”.
I am a member of four scientific societies which include: the Society of Plant Signaling and Behavior, South African Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the South African Association of Botanist and Tunisian Association of Genetic Resources.  

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