Sokoine University of Agriculture

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Morogoro, Tanzania

Sokoine University of Agriculture is a public university in Morogoro, Tanzania specializing in agriculture. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Michigan State University researchers have shown that sunflower seeds are frequently contaminated with a toxin produced by molds and pose an increased health risk in many low-income countries worldwide. In the current issue of PLoS ONE, the team of scientists documented frequent occurrence of aflatoxin – a toxin produced by Aspergillus molds that commonly infect corn, peanuts, pistachios and almonds – in sunflower seeds and their products. This is one of the first studies to associate aflatoxin contamination with sunflower seeds. The study was conducted in Tanzania, but the problem is by no means isolated there. Chronic exposure to aflatoxin causes an estimated 25,000 to 155,000 deaths worldwide each year, from corn and peanuts alone. Since it is one of the most potent liver carcinogens known, the research to detect and limit its presence in sunflower seeds and their products could help save lives and reduce liver disease in areas where sunflowers and their byproducts are consumed, said Gale Strasburg, MSU food science and human nutrition professor and one of the study’s co-authors. “These high aflatoxin levels, in a commodity frequently consumed by the Tanzanian population, indicate that local authorities must implement interventions to prevent and control aflatoxin contamination along the sunflower commodity value chain, to enhance food and feed safety in Tanzania,” he said. “Follow-up research is needed to determine intake rates of sunflower seed products in humans and animals, to inform exposure assessments and to better understand the role of sunflower seeds and cakes as a dietary aflatoxin source.” Smallholder farmers in Tanzania grow sunflowers for the seeds, which are sold to local millers who press the seeds for oil and sell it to local consumers for cooking. The remaining cakes are used as animal feed. The seeds become infected by Aspergillus flavus or Aspergillus parasiticus, molds that produce aflatoxin. This contamination has been well studied in other crops, but there is little research published on sunflower seed contamination. Juma Mmongoyo, a former MSU food science doctoral student and lead author of the study, analyzed aflatoxin levels of seeds and cakes in seven regions of Tanzania in 2014 and 2015. Nearly 60 percent of seed samples and 80 percent of cake samples were contaminated with aflatoxins. In addition, 14 percent of seeds and 17 percent of cakes were contaminated above 20 parts per billion, the level considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some samples had levels of several hundred parts per billion. “Billions of people worldwide are exposed to aflatoxin in their diets, particularly in places where food is not monitored regularly for contaminants,” said Felicia Wu, the Hannah Distinguished Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at MSU and study co-author. “Our previous work with the World Health Organization on the global burden of foodborne disease showed that aflatoxin is one of the chemical contaminants that causes the greatest disease burden worldwide.” To help solve that problem, Wu founded the Center for the Health Impacts of Agriculture. The center tackles global issues, such as antibiotics given to livestock and poultry that seep into soil and nearby bodies of water, and the association between malaria incidence and irrigation patterns in sub-Saharan Africa. MSU scientists John Linz,Muraleedharan Nair and Robert Tempelman contributed to this study. Jovin Mugula of the Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania) also contributed to this research.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Michigan State University researchers have shown that sunflower seeds are frequently contaminated with a toxin produced by molds and pose an increased health risk in many low-income countries worldwide. In the current issue of PLoS ONE, the team of scientists documented frequent occurrence of aflatoxin – a toxin produced by Aspergillus molds that commonly infect corn, peanuts, pistachios and almonds – in sunflower seeds and their products. This is one of the first studies to associate aflatoxin contamination with sunflower seeds. The study was conducted in Tanzania, but the problem is by no means isolated there. Chronic exposure to aflatoxin causes an estimated 25,000 to 155,000 deaths worldwide each year, from corn and peanuts alone. Since it is one of the most potent liver carcinogens known, the research to detect and limit its presence in sunflower seeds and their products could help save lives and reduce liver disease in areas where sunflowers and their byproducts are consumed, said Gale Strasburg, MSU food science and human nutrition professor and one of the study’s co-authors. “These high aflatoxin levels, in a commodity frequently consumed by the Tanzanian population, indicate that local authorities must implement interventions to prevent and control aflatoxin contamination along the sunflower commodity value chain, to enhance food and feed safety in Tanzania,” he said. “Follow-up research is needed to determine intake rates of sunflower seed products in humans and animals, to inform exposure assessments and to better understand the role of sunflower seeds and cakes as a dietary aflatoxin source.” Smallholder farmers in Tanzania grow sunflowers for the seeds, which are sold to local millers who press the seeds for oil and sell it to local consumers for cooking. The remaining cakes are used as animal feed. The seeds become infected by Aspergillus flavus or Aspergillus parasiticus, molds that produce aflatoxin. This contamination has been well studied in other crops, but there is little research published on sunflower seed contamination. Juma Mmongoyo, a former MSU food science doctoral student and lead author of the study, analyzed aflatoxin levels of seeds and cakes in seven regions of Tanzania in 2014 and 2015. Nearly 60 percent of seed samples and 80 percent of cake samples were contaminated with aflatoxins. In addition, 14 percent of seeds and 17 percent of cakes were contaminated above 20 parts per billion, the level considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some samples had levels of several hundred parts per billion. “Billions of people worldwide are exposed to aflatoxin in their diets, particularly in places where food is not monitored regularly for contaminants,” said Felicia Wu, the Hannah Distinguished Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at MSU and study co-author. “Our previous work with the World Health Organization on the global burden of foodborne disease showed that aflatoxin is one of the chemical contaminants that causes the greatest disease burden worldwide.” To help solve that problem, Wu founded the Center for the Health Impacts of Agriculture. The center tackles global issues, such as antibiotics given to livestock and poultry that seep into soil and nearby bodies of water, and the association between malaria incidence and irrigation patterns in sub-Saharan Africa. MSU scientists John Linz,Muraleedharan Nair and Robert Tempelman contributed to this study. Jovin Mugula of the Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania) also contributed to this research.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University researchers have shown that sunflower seeds are frequently contaminated with a toxin produced by molds and pose an increased health risk in many low-income countries worldwide. In the current issue of PLoS ONE, the team of scientists documented frequent occurrence of aflatoxin - a toxin produced by Aspergillus molds that commonly infect corn, peanuts, pistachios and almonds - in sunflower seeds and their products. This is one of the first studies to associate aflatoxin contamination with sunflower seeds. The study was conducted in Tanzania, but the problem is by no means isolated there. Chronic exposure to aflatoxin causes an estimated 25,000-155,000 deaths worldwide each year, from corn and peanuts alone. Since it is one of the most potent liver carcinogens known, the research to detect and limit its presence in sunflower seeds and their products could help save lives and reduce liver disease in areas where sunflowers and their byproducts are consumed, said Gale Strasburg, MSU food science and human nutrition professor and one of the study's co-authors. "These high aflatoxin levels, in a commodity frequently consumed by the Tanzanian population, indicate that local authorities must implement interventions to prevent and control aflatoxin contamination along the sunflower commodity value chain, to enhance food and feed safety in Tanzania," he said. "Follow-up research is needed to determine intake rates of sunflower seed products in humans and animals, to inform exposure assessments and to better understand the role of sunflower seeds and cakes as a dietary aflatoxin source." Smallholder farmers in Tanzania grow sunflowers for the seeds, which are sold to local millers who press the seeds for oil and sell it to local consumers for cooking. The remaining cakes are used as animal feed. The seeds become infected by Aspergillus flavus or Aspergillus parasiticus, molds that produce aflatoxin. This contamination has been well studied in other crops, but there is little research published on sunflower seed contamination. Juma Mmongoyo, a former MSU food science doctoral student and lead author of the study, analyzed aflatoxin levels of seeds and cakes in seven regions of Tanzania in 2014 and 2015. Nearly 60 percent of seed samples and 80 percent of cake samples were contaminated with aflatoxins. In addition, 14 percent of seeds and 17 percent of cakes were contaminated above 20 parts per billion, the level considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some samples had levels of several hundred parts per billion. "Billions of people worldwide are exposed to aflatoxin in their diets, particularly in places where food is not monitored regularly for contaminants," said Felicia Wu, the Hannah Distinguished Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at MSU and study co-author. "Our previous work with the World Health Organization on the global burden of foodborne disease showed that aflatoxin is one of the chemical contaminants that causes the greatest disease burden worldwide." To help solve that problem, Wu founded the Center for the Health Impacts of Agriculture. The center tackles global issues, such as antibiotics given to livestock and poultry that seep into soil and nearby bodies of water, and the association between malaria incidence and irrigation patterns in sub-Saharan Africa. MSU scientists John Linz, Muraleedharan Nair and Robert Tempelman contributed to this study. Jovin Mugula of the Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania) also contributed to this research. Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges. For MSU news on the Web, go to MSUToday. Follow MSU News on Twitter at twitter.com/MSUnews.


News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Sunflower seeds and products made from them are often contaminated with a toxin produced by molds, report researchers. This poses an increased health risk in many low-income countries worldwide. In a new study, a team of scientists documented frequent occurrence of aflatoxin—a toxin produced by Aspergillus molds that commonly infect corn, peanuts, pistachios, and almonds—in sunflower seeds and their products. The study, published in PLOS ONE, is one of the first to associate aflatoxin contamination with sunflower seeds. The study took place in Tanzania, but the problem is by no means isolated there. Chronic exposure to aflatoxin causes an estimated 25,000-155,000 deaths worldwide each year from corn and peanuts alone. Since it is one of the most potent liver carcinogens known, the research to detect and limit its presence in sunflower seeds and their products could help save lives and reduce liver disease in areas where people eat sunflowers and their byproducts, says coauthor Gale Strasburg, a food science and human nutrition professor at Michigan State University. “These high aflatoxin levels, in a commodity frequently consumed by the Tanzanian population, indicate that local authorities must implement interventions to prevent and control aflatoxin contamination along the sunflower commodity value chain, to enhance food and feed safety in Tanzania,” says Strasburg. “Follow-up research is needed to determine intake rates of sunflower seed products in humans and animals, to inform exposure assessments and to better understand the role of sunflower seeds and cakes as a dietary aflatoxin source,” he adds. Smallholder farmers in Tanzania grow sunflowers for the seeds, which they sell to local millers who press the seeds for oil to sell to local consumers for cooking. People use the remaining cakes as animal feed. The seeds become infected by Aspergillus flavus or Aspergillus parasiticus, molds that produce aflatoxin. This contamination has been well studied in other crops, but there is little research published on sunflower seed contamination. Juma Mmongoyo, a former food science doctoral student and lead author of the study, analyzed aflatoxin levels of seeds and cakes in seven regions of Tanzania in 2014 and 2015. Nearly 60 percent of seed samples and 80 percent of cake samples were contaminated with aflatoxins. In addition, 14 percent of seeds and 17 percent of cakes were contaminated above 20 parts per billion, the level considered safe by the US Food and Drug Administration. Some samples had levels of several hundred parts per billion. “Billions of people worldwide are exposed to aflatoxin in their diets, particularly in places where food is not monitored regularly for contaminants,” says Felicia Wu, study coauthor. “Our previous work with the World Health Organization on the global burden of foodborne disease showed that aflatoxin is one of the chemical contaminants that causes the greatest disease burden worldwide,” she adds. To help solve that problem, Wu founded the Center for the Health Impacts of Agriculture. The center tackles global issues, such as antibiotics given to livestock and poultry that seep into soil and nearby bodies of water, and the association between malaria incidence and irrigation patterns in sub-Saharan Africa. Additional researchers from Michigan State and the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania also contributed to this research.


The direct dependence of humans on ecosystem services is by far strongest in developing regions where poverty restricts access to resources. This dependency also makes people in developing countries more sensitive to climate change than their developed counterparts. Increasing human populations deteriorates natural habitat, biodiversity and ecosystems services which spiral into poverty and low human welfare. This calls for innovative solutions that encompass the entire socio-ecological-economic system, as recognized on a global scale in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. However, innovative and practical solutions require downscaling to regional levels for identifying concrete sets of drivers of change. For Africa specifically, the interplay of human population growth, land use change, climate change and human well-being is a major challenge. This project focuses on the Serengeti-Maasai Mara Ecosystem and associated agricultural areas, a region in East Africa that encompasses parts of Kenya and Tanzania. The ecosystem is world-famous for key aspects of its biodiversity, such as the migration of 1.3 million wildebeest. This flagship ecosystem role will enhance the international interest in the project. In this project, internationally leading researchers from Norway, the Netherlands, Scotland, Denmark and Germany are teaming up with strong local partners in Tanzania and Kenya. The research will be organised in seven interlinked work packages: 1) assemble and integrate the so far separate Kenyan and Tanzanian relevant data on the region; 2) quantify the connections between human population growth, land use change, climate change and biodiversity change; 3) test how biodiversity change leads to changes in key ecosystem services; 4) quantify the dependence of human livelihoods on these ecosystem services. We will implement innovative ways for communication and dissemination of the results of continuous engagement by local stakeholders.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP-SICA | Phase: KBBE.2010.1.3-01 | Award Amount: 12.38M | Year: 2011

Livestock production efficiency is impaired by helminth infection which is ubiquitous in cattle, sheep and goats world-wide. It causes severely debilitating gastro-intestinal, respiratory and hepatic disorders, dependent on the infecting species. The treatment and prevention of helminth parasitism in livestock continues to rely almost exclusively on the use of anthelmintic drugs, an approach threatened by the global emergence of anthelmintic resistance. An alternative approach is vaccination. Members of the present consortium (from the EU and Switzerland, North and South America, North and South Africa, Australia, 2 SMEs and 1 major animal health company) have developed prototype vaccines with the predicted required efficacy to control major gastro-intestinal nematode infections of livestock, notably Ostertagia ostertagi in cattle and Haemonchus contortus in sheep, the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica in sheep and cattle with leading positions in subunit vaccine development against Cooperia onchophora, Dictyocaulus viviparus in cattle and the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus in dogs. This proposal aims to deliver at least one prototype vaccine to the point of uptake by the commercial sector or through government/philanthropic agencies and this will be addressed by 1) Developing effective native or synthetic vaccines, the latter using novel, molecular expression systems. 2) Defining the protective immune responses induced by these vaccines to order to optimise the structure of the antigens and the method of their delivery. 3) Defining vaccine efficacy with trials in both housed and grazing livestock 4) Providing a platform for training and knowledge exchange which includes participation in training programmes, short exchanges of staff, workshops,and web site provision. 5) Interacting closely with computer modellers, the animal health industry, farmer organisations and other stakeholders to define required vaccine characteristics. 6) Knowledge exchange/dissemination to policy makers, scientists, government departments and the general public.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: SSH.2013.2.1-3 | Award Amount: 3.09M | Year: 2014

The GLOBAL VALUE project develops an innovative framework for assessing impacts of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) on issues related to the Millennium Declaration, sustainable development, human rights, transparency, and anti-corruption. To ensure utility, we will monitor the policy debate on global and sustainable development and deliver a regularly updated catalogue of goals and indicators. We will shed light on institutional arrangements; analyse systems of governance for responsible business practices; explore responsible competitiveness; assess the complementarity of public and private sector activities; and derive recommendations for decision makers in business, policy and CSOs. For addressing MNCs, the project will deliver a modular, user-friendly and customizable toolkit, including a web-based assessment platform, a tool navigator, a user guide, and training materials. It will take into account the most relevant pathways of impact (through business operations, community investments, regional, supply chain and product related impacts) and link up with powerful management approaches (such as supply chain management, life cycle assessment and base of the pyramid innovation). The toolkit will be tested in close collaboration with leading MNCs: BATA (garment, Bangladesh), OLAM (food, Tanzania) and MONDI (paper & packaging, Russia a.o.). Research organizations, CSOs, and sector experts from these countries are members of the consortium and ensure the involvement of stakeholders and local actors. Reflexive learning workshops contribute to a continuous improvement of the toolkit. The project is carried out by leading researchers from Europe and ICPC countries, and involves relevant UN bodies in an advisory capacity. Special emphasis is put on research capacity building in and networking with ICPC countries and CSOs. By establishing an expert crowd we take business, society, and policy perspectives into account - more than 200 experts are currently part of the crowd.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: SSH.2011.4.1-2 | Award Amount: 3.50M | Year: 2012

The overall objective of the African Rural-City Connections (RurbanAfrica) project is to explore the connections between rural transformations, mobility, and urbanization processes and analyze how these contribute to an understanding of the scale, nature and location of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The RurbanAfrica project will advance the research agenda on rural-city connections in sub-Saharan Africa by addressing a range of crucial components: agricultural transformations, rural livelihoods, city dynamics, and access to services in cities. In this respect the project will challenge a number of generally accepted truths about rural and city development, and the importance and implication of migration in shaping these. It will thereby question the overall negative interpretations of the economic role of rural-urban mobility and migration in sub-Saharan Africa and generate new insights into the relationship between rural-city connections and poverty dynamics. The project will include nine partners; four European, one international, and four sub-Saharan African. RurbanAfrica focuses on four country cases: Rwanda, Tanzania, Cameroon and Ghana and examine in-depth two rural-city connections in each of the case countries. Research is organized into six work packages: Agricultural transformation, rural livelihoods, city dynamics, access to services, knowledge platform and policy dialogue, and synthesis, dissemination and management. Central to the approach is the on-going integration of policy research, policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and empirical research. Through ongoing collaboration between senior and junior researchers from European and sub-Saharan African partners, and co-supervising of PhD students, the project will contribute to capacity building and potentially impact curriculum development. The research and dissemination process will be supported by a scientific advisory board, with members from European and sub-Saharan African research institutions.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 189.53K | Year: 2015

Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures) will develop the scientific evidence and inclusive groundwater management processes by which groundwater resources can be used sustainably for poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It will improve understanding of the volume and renewability of groundwater in SSA, and develop robust models and tools to forecast available groundwater resources under changing climate, land-use and demand scenarios, including expansion of arable land under irrigation. GroFutures will examine current groundwater governance processes and identify pathways toward more sustainable and equitable use of groundwater resources that are reconciled to projections of changing demand and resource availability. It will assemble an international consortium of scientists with an unmatched track record of groundwater research and stakeholder engagement in SSA that both leverages substantial additional investment (£461,000) and engages with research and development communities across Anglophone and Francophone Africa. GroFutures will also establish a Network of African Groundwater Observatories that representing the primary groundwater environments and development governance challenges in SSA that features a new dataset of 25 records of groundwater-level observations that are 2 to 6 decades duration from across SSA enabling the most rigorous analysis of the relationships among climate, land-use and groundwater recharge that has ever been conducted in the tropics. Dedicated basin observatories will be constructed that will enable very detailed monitoring of the physical process by which groundwater is replenished and application of a new method for quantifying the volume of groundwater in African aquifers thereby overcoming fundamental limitations in present knowledge of groundwater in SSA. GroFutures will also employ an innovative and participatory approach to the management of groundwater which will enable for explicit consideration ofthe views of poor people in making decisions over the allocation and development of groundwater resources.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 131.16K | Year: 2015

Central and Southern Africa (C&SA) exemplifies the issues that FCFA aims to address: a complex mix of remote and regional climate drivers that challenge conventional climate model simulations, high levels of poorly simulated multi-year climate variability, an extremely low level of investment in climate science relative even to other parts of Africa but particularly West Africa; high physical and socio-economic exposure to climate that projections indicate may become drier and more variable in the future; and low adaptive capacity resulting in decision-making and medium-term planning that is inhibited by significant political, institutional and economic barriers. Meanwhile economic growth and significant infrastructure planning is taking place within C&SA in the absence of adequate climate information. Deficient understanding of many key climate features in C&SA is one barrier to the integration of climate information into decision-making. UMFULA will provide a step-change in climate science in C&SA. Our objectives include: (i) fundamental research into key climate processes over C&SA and how these are dealt with in models; (ii) a process-based evaluation to determine how models invoke change and whether that change is credible; (iii) production of novel climate products (Work Packages WP1-2) encompassing convection permitting and very high resolution (c4 km) ocean-atmosphere coupled simulations that will reveal processes of high impact events and as yet unexplored complexities of the climate change signal. We will also focus on neglected but critical elements of the circulation such as the links between C&SA and the role of local features including the Angolan Low, Botswana anticyclone, Angola/Benguela Frontal Zone, and the Seychelles-Chagos thermocline ridge. Based on this research and through co-production with stakeholders we will generate improved and streamlined climate information for decision-makers (WP3). We will use a deliberative and participatory methodology to test findings from FCFA pillars 1 and 2 with stakeholders based on deep engagement in two contrasting case studies: the Rufiji river basin in Tanzania, and sub-national decision-making in Malawi. They are carefully selected as exemplars of multi-sector, multi-stakeholder, and multi-scale decision situations which can be compared for transferable lessons on the effective use of climate services. In-depth understanding of decision-making contexts, including political economy, theories of institutional change, and individual motivation from behavioural sciences will inform how to tailor and target climate projections for most effective use (WP4). The case study areas (WP5-6) will test these findings through a co-produced framework of C&SA-appropriate decision-making under climate uncertainty to identify robust climate services-informed intervention pathways (portfolios of policies and investments that could work well over a broad range of climatic and socio-economic futures). Our Capstone Work Package (WP7), and major outcome, will be the synthesis of best decision-making models and appraisal methods that are transferable in the African context and enable effective use of climate information in medium-term decision-making. The seven UMFULA Work Packages cut across the three FCFA pillars to ensure maximum complementarity and integration. We are a consortium with world-leading expertise in climate science, decision science and adaptation research and practice, together with stakeholder networks and strong, long-standing relationships in C&SA. We comprise 5 UK and 13 African institutions.

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