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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

Partnership between UFS and Farmovs-Parexel strengthened
2004-12-09

The synthesizing of drug molecules to be used as reference standards during the quantitative analysis of drugs and metabolites in biological fluids, will from now on be done by the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Chemistry.

This agreement was recently signed by the UFS’s Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and FARMOVS-PAREXEL.

To expand the collaboration between the two units further, FARMOVS-PAREXEL has donated instrumentation to the value of about R 2 million to the Department of Chemistry. These include a tandem liquid chromatograph/mass spectrometer and several other chromatographic systems.

The instruments will be used for research on both the synthesis of reference standards and bio-prospecting. They will play a major role in the training of students in the techniques of advanced mass spectrometry and chromatography at the UFS and will lead to publications in international scientific journals.

For a number of years FARMOVS-PAREXEL has presented Masters and PhD degrees in Bio-Analytical Chemistry. A new collaboration has now been reached where joint projects will be used for Masters and PhD degrees by the two institutions.

Two FARMOVS-PAREXEL staff members have enrolled for Ph D-degrees in the organic section of the UFS’s Department of Chemistry. Senior staff members of the two institutions will act as joint supervisors.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
9 December 2004

 

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