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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

Successful Physical Science Convention presented at Kovsies
2010-08-27

 
The recent Physical Science Convention was attended by 109 Free State learners. Here they participate in one of many Physics and Chemistry activities.
Photo: Supplied

 

The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) presented the Physical Sciences Convention. This convention, which is presented by another university every year, was attended by 109 Grade 11 and Grade 12 learners and 29 teachers from across the Free State.

Learners were invited to attend the convention on the grounds of their achievements in the annual Science Olympiad or projects entered by them.

Amongst others, the learners were treated to a Chemagic show. They also participated in Physics and Chemistry activities.

A dinner was held during which the prizes for the best project proposals and the best achievements in the Science Olympiad were handed over. Two Deans’ bursaries were awarded to the top learners in Grade 11 and Grade 12 respectively.

The recent Physical Science Convention was attended by 109 Free State learners. Here they participate in one of many Physics and Chemistry activities.

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