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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 22 May–4 June


Below is a round-up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 22 May–4 June.

Zimbabwean biotechnology research hits a dead end
A review of 25 years of biotechnology research in Zimbabwe has found that although important enzymes from hot springs and indigenous plants with potential industrial and environmental application have been purified and characterised, scientists have failed to apply the findings in pilot projects or large-scale production. More>> [106kB]

Researchers start drought-resistant livestock breeding programme
A Zimbabwean research station on the edge of the Kalahari desert has started breeding Angora goats for mohair and milk, as well as drought-resistant indigenous Mashona and Nkone cattle for their meat and leather. The Matopos researchers' programme is helping smallholder farmers boost herds in the Matabeleland region near Botswana. More>>

Poor quality malaria drugs found in Burkina Faso
Researchers from the Nouna Health Research Centre say substandard antimalarial drugs found in northwest Burkina Faso are causing rising drug-resistance to relatively inexpensive medications. Pharmacies and community health workers contributed ten per cent of the poor quality drugs, while shops, markets and street vendors provided 90 per cent. More>> [585kB]

Zimbabwe research station looks into Southern African air corridors
The first long-term analysis of air masses in sub-equatorial Africa has been carried out in northern Zimbabwe. Lead author Daniel Nyanganyura, writing in the most recent edition of the South African Journal of Science, says the research will help monitor the spread of airborne pollution and its effect on the environment and climate. More>> [894kB]

South Africa steps into windpower arena
South Africa's first commercial foray into wind energy opened this month. The Darling Wind Farm will supply Cape Town with electricity. It currently has four wind turbines, and more will be added when the project enters its next phase. More>>

Indigenous mint 'has antimalarial properties'
Antimalarial compounds have been isolated from mint plants indigenous to southern Africa. Researchers from the universities of the Witwatersrand and KwaZulu-Natal found that compounds derived from the plant, known as plectranthus, work well with quinine and could offer a new route against drug resistance. They urge research into how antimalarial agents interact with traditional medications. More>> [256kB]

Kenyan homosexuals get better HIV advice
Kenya's AIDS Control Council has altered its policies, allowing for more targeted prevention messages for men who have sex with other men, says its head Miriam Were. The move follows research into HIV prevalence and risk behaviours from Kenya as well as Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The council now runs an e-forum for homosexual men. More>>

Southern African countries to increase coal exports
Despite concerns about climate change, rising oil and gas prices will see Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa increase their annual production of coal by three per cent every year up to 2011, according to Sierra Leone researcher Abdul Kamara from the African Development Bank. Zimbabwe also intends to mine more coal. More>>

High rates of blood infection found after tooth extraction
Blood infections are a frequent outcome of tooth extractions in Benin City, Nigeria, according to microbiologists from the University of Benin. Their research in the African Journal of Biotechnology suggests that preventative antibiotic treatment might be an option, particularly when dental patients have other undiagnosed medical problems, like diabetes. More>> [85kB]

Sun power measured in Nigeria
A study to measure daily solar radiation in Nigeria has been carried out at the Uturu weather observatory by physicist I.U. Chiemeka from Abia State University. The solar power — used in the area to dry crops, generate electricity and heat homes and water — was less than in other areas of Nigeria, likely due to surrounding hills. More>> [132kB]

Compiled by Christina Scott. Additional reporting by Sharon Davis.

If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the Africa News Editor Christina Scott ([email protected]).

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