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Aflatoxin-control challenge in Africa winners announced


The Business Platform for Nutrition Research recently announced the winners of the Aflatoxin-control challenge in Africa, which called for innovative research projects to help reduce or eliminate exposure to aflatoxin-contaminated food and feeds in Africa.

Sammy Kipkosgei Kiplagat from Egerton University and Kizito Nishimwe from Iowa State University were named as the winners of the competition at an awards ceremony during the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) platform meeting in Dakar, Senegal in early October 2018.

They were each presented with the prize of USD 15,000 in seed funds.

Researching the ability of black nightshade

Sammy Kipkosgei Kiplagat, a PhD student from the Department of Animal Sciences and a tutorial fellow for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Egerton University, was chosen for his original research proposal.He outlined a study to determine the capacity of solanum villosum (black nightshade) to eliminate or reduce the toxicity of aflatoxin in Kenyan indigenous chicken ecotypes fed with contaminated feed. Sammy is currently researching the alleviation of toxicities associated with aflatoxin contamination of feeds and foods.

 Emerging technology to reduce aflatoxins

Kizito Nishimwe, a PhD student from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University in the United States and a lecturer at the University of Rwanda, was also selected for his pioneering concept. His research proposal highlighted the capabilities of a new low-cost emerging technology called cold plasma, which is currently used in the food industry. Kizito emphasized its effectiveness and safety to help reduce aflatoxins in commodities. Kizito is currently researching the use of aflatoxin binders in feeds and assessing the efficacy of cold plasma in degrading aflatoxins.

Three-stage judging process

Sammy and Kizito were chosen following a rigorous three-step judging process of 120 applications from students and researchers from 20 different countries.

The challenge was funded by the Government of Canada and carried out by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, in partnership with Sight and Life Foundation, Mars Incorporated, and PACA.

        Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner For Rural Economy And Agriculture DREA (3rd from left) with the award winners Kizito Nishimwe, Sammy Kiplagat and other dignitaries.