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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 Sasol Library will reopen tomorrow
2007-10-17

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) UFS Sasol Library will reopen again tomorrow (Thursday, 18 October 2007) after a limited fire broke out earlier this morning.

The fire broke out at 05:00 on a work site of a contractor that is carrying out maintenance on the library’s air conditioning system in the machinery room underneath the library.

Employees of the subcontractor were busy replacing the isolation of the air-conditioning when the fire broke out. An employee of the contractor died and one was seriously injured.

The contractor is working on the system at night in order to minimise disruption to library users. The building and books were not damaged.

“The UFS and the contractor exercised strict safety measures before the maintenance project commenced and regular safety training sessions are still presented to employees of the contractor working on the site. The latest training session was done on Monday, 15 October 2007,” said Ms Edma Pelzer, Director of Physical Resources at the UFS.

As a precautionary measure, the library will be closed for the rest of today because of the possible presence of fumes in the building as a result of the fire. A decision was taken to be cautious and to make sure that the air is clean before people are allowed in the library.

The Reitz Dining Hall of the Centenary Complex is available as a temporary study facility for students until 18:00 today. The library will be open again tomorrow (Thursday, 18 October 2007) during normal hours.

Ms Pelzer conveyed her sympathy to the next of kin of the person who died during the fire.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
17 October 2007
 

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