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  • Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 25 March–9 April

Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 25 March–9 April 2008.

Kenya legislation aims to cut industrial gas emissions
Kenya's National Environment Management Authority will publish an updated version of its environment management act, compelling industrialists to set emissions limits. The publication will bring the 1999 legislation into force and aims to reduce airborne pollution, a major cause of respiratory illness. More>>

Low antimalarial resistance found in Madagascan children
Researchers from the Pasteur Institute in Antananarivo, Madagascar, have found that the island nation has lower levels of antimalarial drug resistance than its Indian Ocean neighbours such as Comoros. Their study, published in Malaria Journal, monitored children at eight sites, finding drug resistance only to older-generation drug chloroquine. More>>

Kalahari desert's 'forgotten' influence on carbon levels
Drought-resistant cyanobacteria in Botswana's Kalahari desert influence atmospheric carbon dioxide more than previously realised. Researchers say that, even after light rainfall, the gains and losses of carbon dioxide are similar to those from more organic rich grassland soils. Despite being short lived, these pulses of activity are a "significant and previously unreported contributor to atmospheric carbon dioxide". More>>

Edible stinkbug a 'good source of nutrition'
The first study of the nutritional value of the edible stinkbug, Encosternum delegorguei Spinola, found the insects a good source of protein, fat, amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Researchers, writing in the South African Journal of Science, say conservation and efficient harvesting of the insects should be investigated. More>> [235kB]

Early selection 'inefficient' for cowpea breeding
Research finds that selecting early generations of cowpea crops to increase yield is not an effective strategy. Francis Padi from the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute in Tamale, Ghana, writing in Crop Science, suggests other methods such as bulk breeding are more efficientin developing high-yield varieties. More>>

Fermentation 'improves nutritional value of beans'
Inexpensive fermentation improves the nutritional impact of flour from dry beans and improves digestibility, according to research co-authored by Emire Shimelis, from theFood Engineering Program at Addis Ababa University. The study is published in the International Journal of Food Science & Technology. Beans are a major source of dietary protein in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. More>>

Castor biofuel farming starts in Ethiopia
Families in the Waletia and Goma Gofa regions of Ethiopia will begin seeding castor beans for use in biodiesel. The initiative is run by energy company Global Energy Ethiopia, who are also conducting a research and development programme to create new varieties of castor with better yields. More>>

Indigenous Zimbabwean pigs show 'moderate' parasite tolerance
Zimbabwe's indigenous Mukota pigs are known to be less prone than imported varieties to internal parasites within commercial agriculture. A study evaluating parasite prevalence, by veterinarians from South Africa's Fort Hare University and the University of Zimbabwe, found moderate parasite infection in pigs from ten communal regions in Zimbabwe's Chirumhanzu district. More>> [78kB]

Nigerian herbal treatment performs well in animal tests
Gawo, a herb used in traditional treatments, has been tested in rats by researchers from Nigeria's University of Jos and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development. According to research in the African Journal of Biotechnology, Gawo passed tests for toxicity and reduced induced fevers, diarrhoea and inflammation. More>>

Fungus detected in food from smallscale producers
Researchers from the Morogo Research Programme at South Africa's North-West University found nine types of toxic Fusarium fungi in food produced by smallscale producers. The fungi, found in maize and green vegetables in home gardens, can cause organ failure in HIV and immune-suppressed patients. More>> [417kB]

Compiled by Christina Scott.

If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the Africa News Editor Christina Scott (christina.scott@scidev.net).