To date, MYTOX-SOUTH is investigating the mycotoxin exposure in Limpopo (South-Africa) in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg, represented by Prof. Patrick Njobeh. As part of this collaboration, Orphélie Lootens, who is a master student at Ghent University, carried out food & biosampling in South-Africa. In the following weeks, she will analyze these samples in the Laboratory of Food Analysis at Ghent University. Orphélie is co-working with a master student from the University of Johannesburg, Shandry Tebele. This approach, in which two master students from different locations work together, is unique and is an example of good practice for future projects in MYTOX-SOUTH.
The results of this study will permit to assess the mycotoxin exposure for the Limpopo population, and evaluate the best strategies to reduce mycotoxin intake in this region of South-Africa.
During the winter, a large amount of young researchers from Southern partners visited our facilities present in Ghent University. The main aim of their stay was to start their PhD-study, to improve the quality of their studies and to get a valuable training on several aspects in relation to mycotoxin research.
Our motivated visitors and students were:
- Dayana Sosa Pacheco & Brizeidi Peña Suarez from Cuba
- Addisalem Mesfin, Kokeb Tesfamariam & Masresha Tessema from Ethiopia
- Victor Kagot from Kenya
- Al Ibrahim Traore from Burkina Faso
- Salma Ouhibi from Tunisia
MYTOX-SOUTH was present at the 10th World Mycotoxin Forum held in Amsterdam (12-14 March 2018). The conference offered excellent opportunities to network, share ideas, and formulate recommendations and conclusions on how to close knowledge gaps on taking mycotoxin control to the next level.
Several members of MYTOX-SOUTH attended the conference, and it was a good occasion to strengthen our professional relationships. Moreover, a poster entitled “MYTOX-SOUTH: an intercontinental partnership to improve food security and food safety in developing countries” was presented at the conference. The poster aimed to share the partnership future goals as well as to detail all our members.
On Thursday 22 February 2018, MYTOX-SOUTH organized a food-safety workshop in Harare (The Rainbow Towers, Zimbabwe). The theme of the workshop was “Mycotoxins: the hidden threat to human health in Zimbabwe”. This workshop was funded by RANDOX Laboratories and the Ghent University Global Minds Fund.
MYTOX-SOUTH had an active participation in this one-day workshop by lectures of Dr. Sarah De Saeger, Dr. Loveness Nyanga & Dr. Marthe De Boevre. Furthermore, Dr. Melody Ndemera disseminated the results of her PhD in Ghent University entitled: “Human dietary exposure to mycotoxins in Zimbabwe and related risk assessment and management”. Invited speakers included Prof. Mashiri, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe; Mr. Dewah, Principal Director Academic Affairs of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary education, science and technology development; and Dr. Gadzikwa, Director General of the Standards Association of Zimbabwe. The Honorary Consul of Belgium in Zimbabwe, Mr. Jean Gonçalves supported the event through his presence. UGent representatives and speakers were Prof. Sarah De Saeger and Dr. Marthe De Boevre. In addition, the conference was highly mediatized through the presence of the Zimbabwean press. All Zimbabwean stakeholders (academia, industry, government) involved in agriculture and public health issues gathered at this unique event in Zimbabwe. The major objective was to advocate for a modification of the current legislation on mycotoxins in Zimbabwe, and to develop an appropriate risk management policy anchored on scientific evidence.
We are pleased to announce that the following candidates have been competitively selected for a MYTOX-SOUTH traineeship: Mr. Gbashi Sefater & Mrs. Maria Agustina Pavicich.
The selected candidates are from South-Africa and Argentina.
Both selected and non-selected candidates will be contacted by the MYTOX-SOUTH coordinators in the next days via e-mail with feedback and instructions about the next steps in the process. A considerable number of proposals were received, and the selection process was based on the stated qualification criteria. MYTOX-SOUTH appreciates all the candidates for their interest in the traineeship call. All proposals have been reviewed in a transparent manner, and all of them were reviewed by MYTOX-SOUTH members.
It is with great pleasure to announce the 2nd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology entitled “Mitigating mycotoxin contamination in the African food and feed chain”, hosted by Dr. Bradley Flett and Dr. Sheila Okoth. This event will be organized in Mombasa (Kenya) from 24th to 27th June 2018, and will be held under the auspices of the International Society on Mycotoxicology (ISM, Dr. Rudi Krska & Dr. Antonio Moretti (president & vice-president ISM)).
The 1st African Symposium on Mycotoxicology held in 2015 in Zambia caused the willing to organize this 2nd symposium with the effort to address the threat of mycotoxins to food production systems, health care and trade on the African continent. MYTOX-SOUTH will take actively part in this symposium by organizing a special MYTOX-SOUTH session (evening 25/06/2018). Short-talks on “EU perspective on collaboration with Africa”, “African perspective on collaboration with EU” and “Funding opportunities” will be executed by MYTOX-SOUTH. Moreover, three excellent cases of results dissemination through collaboration between North and South partners will be presented: Zimbabwe, Malawi and Nigeria. MYTOX-SOUTH encourages all mycotoxin researchers to attend the 2nd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology.
See you in Kenya!
On Thursday 22 February 2018, MYTOX-SOUTH organizes a food-safety workshop in Harare (The Rainbow Towers, Zimbabwe). The theme of the workshop is “Mycotoxins: the hidden threat to human health in Zimbabwe”. The event will be organized in three key sessions, namely:
- Occurrence of mycotoxins in food commodities in Zimbabwe.
- Human dietary exposure to mycotoxins in Zimbabwe.
- Mycotoxin mitigation strategies for Zimbabwe.
The program can be consulted here: Programme_Zimbabwe_final. This workshop is funded by RANDOX Laboratories & the Ghent University Global Minds Fund. There is FREE registration!
MYTOX-SOUTH will have an active participation in this one-day workshop by lectures of Dr. Sarah De Saeger, Dr. Loveness Nyanga & Dr. Marthe De Boevre. Most importantly, Dr. Melody Ndemera will disseminate the results of her PhD entitled: “Human dietary exposure to mycotoxins in Zimbabwe and related risk assessment and management”. Her PhD determined a large aflatoxin and fumonisin exposure of Zimbabweans through maize consumption, and identified agronomical practices and measures to mitigate future exposure. The scientific findings of this research are a starting point in advocating for the implementation of relevant legislation with the aim of reducing dietary exposure of Zimbabweans to mycotoxins via locally grown maize and other commodities. Furthermore, different African research groups who are conducting mycotoxin research will also present their findings at the workshop. Furthermore, the organizers expect to stimulate the awareness and action to tackle mycotoxin occurrence and exposure in Zimbabwe. This is intended to realize mycotoxin exposure reduction at national level, through the initiation of national measures for mycotoxin control and informing policy makers. For more information, you can contact Dr. Melody Ndemera.
See you in Zimbabwe!
Since the start of MYTOX-SOUTH, two research projects were granted to perform research in the South. The funding was granted through VLIR-UOS.
The TEAM-project in Uganda, entitled ‘Holistic approach to combat mycotoxin contamination in Northern Uganda’ is coordinated by Prof. dr. Geert Haesaert (Ghent University) & Prof. dr. Dr. Richard Echodu (Gulu University, Uganda), and is granted for 4 years.
Gulu University is one of the eight public universities in Uganda established in 2002 with five faculties. The university is located at the heart of northern region that was devastated by war for 2 decades. The war forced 2 million people into internally displaced people’s (IDP) camps devoid of social service delivery systems. The war had serious impact on human life and activities e.g. education, health, agriculture and the economy. Due to the war, the region did not meet several Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and already lags behind in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, there is a high demand for the application of science and technology to facilitate the rapid economic recovery of Northern Uganda. Gulu University has been challenged with the task of playing a leading role in post-war reconstruction and rehabil-itation through provision of human resources in the areas of education, health, agriculture, technology, research and other services. However, the University still lacks high-qualified staff that can be employed in education and research. Moreover, there is limited research capacity and – infrastructure to manage research tasks. As consequence capacity building as well as upgrading infrastructure and laboratorial equip-ment will be one of the main academic objectives of this project. In this way Gulu University may act as a catalyst for other institutes of higher education in the region of Northern Uganda. If the university will continue to play a role in post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation the valorization of research results and exten-sion activities, will be an important task of academic staff as well as extending the international networks. This project will activate these kind of activities.
The South Initiative in Cuba, entitled ‘Characterization of fungi and mycotoxins in the bean chain in the province of Mayabeque, Cuba’, is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Sarah De Saeger, Dr. Marthe De Boevre & Dr. Arturo Escobar (National Center for Animal and Plant Health (CENSA) – Essay Center for the Quality Control of Foods of CENSA, Cuba), and is granted for 2 years. More info can be provided via the following link.
This project aims to initiate collaboration between Ghent University (MYTOX and MYTOX-SOUTH, Belgium) and the Analytical Chemistry Unit of CENSA (UQA, Cuba) in the monitoring and investigation of fungi and mycotoxins in beans in Cuba. Strengthening the human capacity of young scientists is essential to mentor a new breed of innovators and young researchers whose expertise is intimately tied to health outcomes, and who have access to high-quality equipment and training. This collaboration will start by training staff who can contribute to an increased capacity of mycotoxin experts in Cuba. Further, fungi and mycotoxin monitoring of stored beans in wholesale companies will be investigated aiming to sensitize decision makers and stakeholders to establish a management strategy to minimize the mycotoxin contamination risk in beans. This collaboration is the first step towards a sustainable establishment tackling the mycotoxin problemacy in the bean production sector in Cuba
MYTOX-SOUTH is very enthusiastic to announce that Ghent University is now part of the World Food Preservation Centre.
On 9 December 2016 the Symposium of the Ghent Africa Platform – GAPSYM10 took place. A specific session was dedicated to mycotoxins as an important food safety issue in Africa. More detailed information can be found via the following link.