Dr Samson Chimphango

Lecturer: Department of Botany
Plant adaptation, biological nitrogen fixation, plant nutrition, soil fertility, ultraviolet-B radiation
Dr Samson Chimphango


I am interested in understanding the physiological mechanisms of plant (especially legumes) adaptation to extreme edaphic conditions and climate change. Legumes are known to be high resource (nutrient) demanding for plant growth and biological nitrogen fixation. And yet, legumes are found in most of the ecosystems of the world including those with infertile and acid soils. The ability of legume species and their micro-symbiont to function under extreme conditions is quite amazing to me. Additionally, I also enjoy studying the influence of edaphic factors on the biogeography of legumes in an area.

Key Research Categories

  • Legume adaptation to extreme edaphic factors and climate change
  • Ecophysiology of legumes
  • Legume biogeography –role of edaphic factors
  • Phosphorus nutrition of indigenous legumes
  • Economic use of legumes from natural systems
  • Estimation of N2 derived from atmospheric fixation by symbiotic legumes in natural and agricultural ecosystems
  • Enhancing biological N2 fixation in agricultural systems by exploiting legume genotypes and their microbial symbionts
  • Minimisation of use of inorganic fertiliser in Agriculture by promoting soil microbial activity in:
    • Biological nitrogen fixation
    • Mycorrhizal effect
    • Organic matter decomposition

Current Research Projects

  • The role and tolerance mechanisms of indigenous N2 fixing legumes in the acidic and low P environment of the Western Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. (Funded by the NRF, South Africa).
  • The role of edaphic factors in the biogeography of legumes in the Cape Floristic Region
  • Rhizobia diversity in the Cape Floristic Region
  • Improving soil fertility and water retention by using low C:N organic residues in rooibos tea cultivation at Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Dr Chimphango's full biography can be found here.

Tel: +27 (0)21 650 2964
Email: samson.chimphango@uct.ac.za
Research Project: 

Thermotolerance genotypes for sustainable legume production in South Africa

With global warming predicted to negatively affect plant growth and agricultural production, one obvious solution is crop species with improved tolerance to heat stress.The "Thermotolerance genotypes for sustainable legume production in South Africa" project (2016-2018), plans to identify thermotolerant genotypes in three legume species in South Africa.

Associated Centre: