Meet Rupert van der Merwe – Pioneering with Probiotics

Rupert van der Merwe

Rupert developed a passion for probiotics during his studies as a soil science and horticulture student at Stellenbosch University, however the seed for this passion was planted after working on an organic farm as an apprentice. Rupert developed a debilitating autoimmune disease whilst doing his military service in 1990 and was discharged from the military. The diagnosis was Ankylosing spondolytis and the prognosis was inflammation and a slow calcification of the joints until permanent immobility. As a very active and sporty 19 year old this was devastating news. Strong anti-inflammatory medication was recommended with the consequent side-effects.

Whilst searching for answers to this twist of fate Rupert came upon a job to work as an apprentice on a biodynamic farm outside Cape Town. This proved to be the turning point as he thrived in the healthy farm environment working with the daily problems that beset a farmer. It was such a positive experience eating the fruits of his labour that Rupert managed to stop taking all his anti-inflammatory medication. After the apprenticeship was over Rupert went to university to learn the science behind agriculture and specifically organic agriculture.

Unfortunately there was no teaching of organic farming methods at University. So he spent many an hour in the university library scouring and collating through scientific journals and books for studies, which looked at organic farming methods. It was during this huge personal effort that Rupert came across the usage of probiotics in agriculture. And the rest, as they say, is history!  Please see THE BENEFITS OF PROBIOTICS IN YOUR SOIL for more info on how Rupert is bringing probiotics to your soil at home, with amazing results!

  •     What are you most passionate about?

Living a full life. Making each moment count.

  • What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Starting Probio

  • What makes you angry?


  • If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?

Acre of Sandton? Sell 🙂

Acre of Maui North Shore Beach Front? Build a surf shack 🙂

  • Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? 


  • How many pairs of shoes  do you own?


  • How would people communicate in a perfect world?

Definitely not through social media.

  • What do you work toward in your free time?

The perfect wave

  • Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful.

Sunsets, Sunrises, Pitch Dark

  • What would you say are some small steps that people can take to improve their relationship to the environment?

Get out there and fall in love with it. That way you will want to protect it.


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1 Comment
  1. Wish to life my life to the fullest. Eat healthier food.but find with modern day life and pool grown foods (mass production )have a small orginic garden in which I grow organic which is a passion for me.what a difference in flavour and texture.

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