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HIT Participates in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology International Symposium

The department of Pharmaceutical Technology participated at a two-day Biochemistry and Molecular Biology International Symposium held from 14-15 November 2017 at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Harare, under the theme “Applications of Biochemistry in Everyday Life.”

Ms. Winnet Chipato from the department of Pharmaceutical Technology and two recent graduates, Mr Lewis Mutevera and Ms Rumbidzai Mberi presented papers on the potential applications of ethnobotany in health and disease; while another presentation explored the potential use of mushroom (Pleuorotus ostreatus), peanuts (Arachis hypogaea )and sorghum (Sorghum vulgare) in a neutraceutical formulation for the treatment and prevention of pellagra.  Pellagra arises from the lack of Vitamin B3 (niacin) and is one of the most prevalent malnutrition diseases affecting children in developing countries.

The second presentation was a preliminary study investigating the use of the fig, Ficus capensis in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease. Most current anti-ulcer drugs have numerous adverse effects including thrombocytopenia, nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity; hence the need for alternative medicines. The ethanolic leaf extract of Ficus capensis exhibited significant ulcer healing activity in a rat model. The preliminary phytochemical screening indicated the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, tannins and flavonoids. This could be the future for a safer and more effective regimen of peptic ulcer disease.

The symposium was organised by the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society of Zimbabwe (BMBSZ), to which HIT is an affiliate, and was hosted in conjunction with the Federation of African Societies of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (FASBMB).

Other participants were drawn from Morocco, Nigeria, Botswana, South Africa, the United Kingdom,- the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences (ZAS), the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST), Allergy and Immunology Clinic, Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), Midlands State University (MSU), Harare Polytechnic, the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC) and the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).

Professor Iqbal Parker, from the University of Cape Town gave an insight into his current work in the molecular biology and genetics of oesophageal cancer, while Professor Khalid Fares from Cadi Ayyad University-Marrakech, Morocco, spoke on the need to recycle organic waste for sustainable agriculture.