Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
The people of Cameroon are faced with the problem that their maize and peanut harvests are contaminated by pathogenic Aspergillus niger fungi, also called black rot. This contamination causes loss of harvest and the production of mycotoxins, which are harmful to health.
The toxicity of the synthetic fungicides used to combat the scourge and its costs, which are exorbitant for small producers, has led to this study. It puts forward an alternative that is adapted to the local conditions, including a sustainable development aspect, making use of available resources at minimal cost, which would also lead to a return to the traditional cultivation of essential oil plants.
The study of Mr Thierry Elvis Djonkack firstly provides an in-depth understanding of the pathogenic agent through the characterization of the morphological variability of different Aspergillus niger strains on the basis of the substratum (maize, peanuts, ...) and the agro-ecological area. Secondly, the essential oils of Ocimum gratissimum, Thymus vulgaris and Cymbopogon citratus have been isolated and their effects measured with the sensitivity of the strains, based on growth inhibition.
The results lead to two initial conclusions. The characterization of the pathogenic agent is vital and the use of essential oils is a promising avenue for research into an alternative to synthetic fungicides. This post-graduate dissertation is a very good example of transdisciplinary study including both the need for chemical research into essential oils and microbiological research into the identification of pathogenic agents in order to enhance the status of natural vegetable resources within the framework of sustainable development.
report: Prof. emeritus P. Van Brandt, School of Pharmacy, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium