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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

UFS signs memorandum of understanding with the University of Ghent
2007-10-02

 

A video conference during which a memorandum of understanding was signed between the University of the Free State (UFS) and the University of Ghent in Belgium was recently held on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein. The signing of the agreement formed part of a week long programme, Accenta, of which Bloemfontein and the Free State were guests of honour. Academics from the UFS delivered papers during one of the forums that formed part of the Accenta programme in Ghent. Not all the papers were delivered in Ghent. Papers on bridging the digital divide were presented during the video conference by academics from Bloemfontein and Ghent and broadcast on the internet. At the video conference broadcast from the UFS Main Campus were, from the left: Prof. Janse Tolmie (Departmental Chairperson of the UFS Department of Computer Science and Informatics), Prof. Hendri Kroukamp (Programme Director of Public Management at the UFS) , Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk (Dean of the UFS Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences) and Prof. Pieter Blignaut (Professor at the UFS Department of Computer Science and Informatics and co-ordinator of the video conference).
Photo: Lacea Loader

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