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14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

dti announces nominees for 2008 Science and Technology Awards
2008-10-03

 

At the announcement of the nominees for the 2008 dti Technology Awards were, from the left: Prof. Schalk Louw, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Mr Sipho Zikode, Deputy Director General at the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), Dr Romilla Maharaj, Executive Director: Human and Institutional Capacity Development at the National Research Foundation (NRF), and Mr Ephraim Baloyi, Director: Innovation and Technology at the dti.

Mr Michael Chung, master’s student in Plant Pathology, explaining some of the research conducted in the Centre for Plant Health Management (Cephma).

Prof. Schalk Louw, Department of Zoology and Entomology, and Mr Ephraim Baloyi, Director: Innovation and Technology at the dti in the Cephma laboratory.

   
dti announces nominees for 2008 Science and Technology Awards

The Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) Deputy Director-General, Mr Sipho Zikode, yesterday announced the nominees for the 2008 dti Technology Awards which will take place on 30 and 31 October in Bloemfontein.

The purpose of these annual awards is to recognise those researchers, private institutions and students who performed well in terms of innovation and technology development, says Mr Ephraim Baloyi, Director: Innovation and Technology at the dti.

The awards are a combination of the Annual Awards of the different dti programmes supporting technology in industry. They are the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP), administered by the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII), administered by the Industrial Development Corporation, and seda Technology Programme (stp), administered by the Small Enterprise Development Agency.

The dti delegation also visited the laboratory of Prof. Schalk Louw of the UFS to view the work of this former dti Technology Awards recipient. Prof. Louw is a member of the UFS Centre for Plant Health Management (Cephma) team that won a 2007 Technology Award for groundbreaking research work on kenaf (a South African commercial fibre crop used, amongst others, in the automotive industry). The research of the Cephma team is supported by the NRF’s THRIP programme.

The awards are hosted in a different province each year to increase awareness around the dti’s technology support for researchers, small enterprises, large industries and business incubators.

Media Release
Issued by: Leonie Bolleurs
Tel: 051 401 2707
Cell: 083 645 5853
3 October 2008

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