Research in this area has a two-pronged approach viz. studying the fundamental aspects associated with the production of fungal enzymes and characterisation of these enzymes as well as modification of these natural enzymes to enhance their characteristics aspects and make them better suited to their industrial applications.
The project intends to employ contemporary protein engineering technology to create an environmentally-friendly industrial process (biobleaching) using an enzyme that is “tweaked” for improved stability and activity. It has potential benefit not only to the paper and pulp industry locally, but also worldwide. It is envisaged that the modified enzymes would out-compete the currently used commercial enzymes, providing a viable alternative.
Food Science and Technology
The Food Science and Technology Research (FSTR) group was founded in 2013 and is directed to the innovation of nutritious and health promoting products for household nutrition and the food industry. Main research areas within the FSTR group include: food processing, biomolecules characterisation and application in food and non-food systems as well as food safety regulator, with emphasis on mechanisms of adaptation, resistance and persistence of food-borne pathogens.
The Plant Biotechnology group is investigating plants for:
(a) nutritional value which can improve the nutritional status of our people
(b) bioactive compounds that can be used as pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals;
(c) phytochemicals for therapeutic uses; and
(d) value addition by producing novel food commodities.
The wastewater group is currently investigating:
(a) Biodiesel Production Using Algal Biomass
(b) Bioremediation of hexavalent contaminated groundwater
(c) Microbial carotenoid production from cooling tower brine effluent
(d) Monitoring Of Specific Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals In The Environment
(e) Analysis of problematic filamentous bacteria in activated sludge wastewater treatment