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.

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Phytochemical study of two medicinal plants from Cameroon: Harungana madagascariensis and Bridelia micrantha; chemical transformations and biological activities of some isolated elements

Siméon KOUAM researcher laureate

°1971 Cameroon
Master in Organic Chemistry, 1995

Etude phytochimique de deux plantes médicinales du Cameroun: Harungana Madagascariensis et Bridelia Micrantha; transformations chimiques et activités biologiques de quelques composés isolés

Mr Kouam’s work is exemplary for the relativity of the concept of development relevance. Although a direct specific application in health care and in combating poverty are not immediately apparent, it does contribute significantly to the knowledge that can be utilized in development in the South.
The thesis describes the phytochemical study of the barks of Harungana madagascariensis and Bridelia micrantha, two plants belonging to the Hypericaceae and Euphorbiaceae families respectively. The use of these two plants in traditional medicine in Cameroon is critically assessed.
In scientific terms the work is of an undeniably high order. The lengthy table of contents alone reveals a multidisciplinary approach.
The following disciplines and/or techniques are dealt with: botany, extraction methods, chromatographic separation techniques, isolation and structural clarification using spectroscopic techniques, toxicology and experimental pharmacology. The molecular structure of over twenty organic materials belonging to extremely diverse chemical classes was defined. In the process six compounds were described and identified for the first time.
Tests on biological activity showed the antioxidative action of some products. Other components inhibited alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that plays a role in many biochemical processes.
This thesis, whose content is substantial, is the result of intense work and evinces a knowledge of the material that is both wide and deep. This postdoctoral research was accomplished thanks to a fruitful cooperation with foreign scientific institutes. With this work Mr Kouam certainly contributes to what we may call ‘sustainable development’.

Report: Prof. Emeritus J. Totté, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium