PhD in biltong making started by testing the effect of Rooibos on droëwors

For her PhD studies at Stellenbosch University's Faculty of AgriSciences, 27-year-old Dr Maxine Jones developed a scientifically proven recipe for making consistently delicious biltong. Her industry-based research project focused on aspects of biltong processing, such as the use of standardised drying procedures to dry the meat at best. She took note of factors such as temperature, humidity and air movement. She also investigated the presence of different yeasts, moulds and even bacteria that often occur on biltong, and that play a role in its shelf life. She says there are currently no processing guidelines for biltong production in South Africa, which leads to vast differences in the end product.

Her research path crossed with biltong during her MSc studies. Her research involved testing the addition of Rooibos extract to droƫwors as a natural antioxidant in an effort to increase the shelf-life of the product. She says the Rooibos also adds a traditional South African spin to this well-known product.

"Biltong isn't such a simple matter as we may think; there's a science behind it," says Maxine. "With the increased popularity of biltong the research opportunities are vast, and this research is just the beginning of things to come."

Dr Maxine Jones' biltong study was widely published in the media:

 • Stellenbosch University website: A PhD just about biltong for Maxine
 • Supermarket & Retailer website: Meet the first student to get a doctorate in biltong making
 • Huisgenoot magazine: Oor biltong, droëwors en Rooibos - SA se 'doktor Biltong' weet waarvan sy praat!
 • 702 Talk Radio: A PhD in South Africa's much loved treat: Biltong - includes radio interview
 •  The Good Things Guy's website: Meet South Africa's most unique doctor, a specialist with a PhD in biltong!
 • All4Wowen website: Woman earns doctorate for "distinctly South African" biltong study