Ronel obtained a 4-year B.Sc. Agriculture degree in Microbiology, Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Stellenbosch in 1997. In 2002, she obtained a M.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Stellenbosch and graduated cum laude. After graduation, she received a STINT scholarship to do 2 years of doctorate training at the University of Lund, Sweden. Her research focused on optimization of growth conditions for several yeast and fungi for production in bio-reactors. In 2007, Ronel obtained a Ph.D. at University of Stellenbosch, entitled “Genetic engineering of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to ferment cellobiose.”
Ronel started working at Mycophiles (latin for “fungi lovers”), a commercial mushroom spawn production facility that supplies gourmet and medicinal mushroom spawn to farmers. In 2008, she attended a bio-fertilizer and bio-pesticide conference in Taiwan, where she met Dr. Gary Harman. She then started evaluating biological products for use in crop production in South Africa. The testing of biological products became a central part of Mycophiles’ business and included local and international products in a search for quality products that gave consistent results.
In 2011, Cerealis Precision (a local agricultural company) acquired a 50% share in Mycophiles and the name was changed to BioSolutions. Ronel served as Technical Manager for BioSolutions and collaborated with several international biological companies to test their products in South Africa. The strict scrutiny to which BioSolutions subject products led to the identification of quality products that add value for South African agriculture. Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) was one of the international companies with whom BioSolutions closely collaborated.
In 2013, ABM International acquired Cerealis’s 50% stake in BioSolutions, then changed the name to ABM Africa.
Ronel was named Chief Scientific Officer of ABM Africa. She is responsible for field testing and registration of products.