African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12487

Table of Content: December 2003; 2(12)

December 2003

Biotechnology research

Author(s):   N.J. Tonukari, J.K. Ikea, and G. Ude  

December 2003

Harnessing modern biotechnology for tropical tuber crop improvement: Yam (Dioscorea spp.) molecular breeding

  Yams (Dioscorea spp.) constitute a staple food crop for over 100 million people in the humid and subhumid tropics. They are polyploid and vegetatively propagated. The Guinea yams, Dioscorea rotundata and D. cayenensis, are the most important yams in West and Central Africa where they are indigenous, while D. alata (referred to as water yam) is the most widely distributed...

Author(s): Hodeba D. Mignouna, Mathew M. Abang and Robert Asiedu

December 2003

Molecular taxonomic, epidemiological and population genetic approaches to understanding yam anthracnose disease

  Water yam (Dioscorea alata L.) is the most widely cultivated yam species globally. The major limitation to the profitable and sustainable production of D. alata is its susceptibility to anthracnose disease. The availability of resistant varieties could potentially form the cornerstone of an integrated management strategy for yam anthracnose; however, anthracnose resistance breeding is hampered...

Author(s): Mathew M. Abang, Stephan Winter, Hodeba D. Mignouna, Kim R. Green, Robert Asiedu

December 2003

Yam diseases and its management in Nigeria

  This review presents different diseases associated with yam and themanagement strategies employed in combating its menace in Nigeria. The field and storage diseases are presented, anthracnose is regarded as the most widely spread of all the field diseases, while yam mosaic virus disease is considered to cause the most severe losses in yams. Dry rot is considered as the most devastating of all the storage...

Author(s): Amusa, N. A., Adegbite, A. A, Muhammed S. and Baiyewu R. A.

December 2003

Genetic engineering for improvement of Musa production in Africa

  Bananas and plantains (Musa sp.) are the most important staple food and source of carbohydrates in many countries of Africa. The production is often constrained by many pests and diseases. In order to augment conventional breeding and to avoid constraints imposed by some pests and pathogens, transgenic approaches are being considered. The development of transgenic Musa plants has been...

Author(s):   Leena Tripathi

December 2003

Engineering Sclerotinia Sclerotiorum Resistance in Oilseed Crops

  The fungal pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary is worldwide in distribution and pathogenic to more than 400 plant species.  This disease causes significant yield losses of various important crops including sunflower, canola, and soybean.  Applying fungicides and crop rotation are currently the major methods of controlling this disease. However, fungicide chemicals...

Author(s): Guihua Lu

December 2003

Highlights of meiotic genes in Arabidopsis thaliana

  Meiosis is a fascinating and complex phenomenon and, despite its central role in sexual plant reproduction, little is known on the molecular mechanisms involved in this process. We review the progress made in recent years using Arabidopsis thalianamutants for isolating meiotic genes. In particular, emphasis is given on the description of mutants affecting either the regular commitment to meiosis, or the...

Author(s): F. Consiglio, C. Conicella , L. Monti and D. Carputo

December 2003

Functional genomics in forage and turf - present status and future prospects

  The recent advances in plant genomics have greatly influenced basic research in many agriculturally important crops. Along with the availability of complete genome information from the model grass species rice and the model legume species M. trucncatula, the functional genomics activities in other crop species will accelerate the genomics studies of forage and turf. Brachypodium distachyon was...

Author(s): Yan Zhang and M.A. Rouf Mian

December 2003

Actinorhizal nitrogen fixing nodules: infection process, molecular biology and genomics

  Actinorhizal hosts are non-leguminous perennial plants belonging to 8 angiosperm families. They are capable of forming root nodules as a result of infection by a nitrogen-fixing actinomycete called Frankia. Actinorhizal nodules consist of multiple lobes, each of which represents a modified lateral root with infected cells in the expanded cortex. This article summarizes the most recent knowledge about...

Author(s): Mariana OBERTELLO, Mame Oureye SY, Laurent LAPLAZE, Carole SANTI, Sergio SVISTOONOFF, Florence AUGUY, Didier BOGUSZ and Claudine FRANCHE

December 2003

The vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis

  Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi are  associated with the majority ot the terrestrial plants. Their function ranges from stress alleviation to bioremediation in soils polluted with heavy metals. However, our knowlwdge about this symbiosis is still limited. For the semi-arid tropics, where some african countries are located, there is a great possibility of using mycorrhizas as a biological tool...

Author(s): Orlando António Quilambo

December 2003

Anthemideae: advances in tissue culture, genetics and transgenic biotechnology

  Members of the Anthemideae include important floricultural (cut-flower) and ornamental (pot and garden) crops, as well as plants of medicinal and ethno-pharmacological interest. Despite the use of many of these plants (over 1400 species) in the extraction of important secondary metabolites and essential oils, the greatest emphasis has been on their in vitro tissue culture and micropropagation. Few...

Author(s): Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

December 2003

Using biotechnology to enhance host resistance to aflatoxin contamination of corn

  Host resistance is the most widely explored strategy for eliminating aflatoxin contamination by Aspergillus flavus. Breeding strategies for developing resistant corn germplasm have been enhanced by the development of new screening tools for field inoculation and for laboratory screening. RFLP analysis of corn populations has highlighted the possibility that different resistance traits can be successfully...

Author(s): Robert L. Brown, Zhi-Yuan Chen, Abebe Menkir, and Thomas E. Cleveland

December 2003

Enhancing banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) resistance by plant genetic modification: A perspective

  Banana weevil is a serious pest of bananas and plantains in Africa. The development of resistant cultivars is seen as the long term and more sustainable control strategy. The difficulty in conventional breeding of bananas and plantains has prompted efforts towards the use of genetic transformation for banana and plantain improvement. In this review, the current status of banana weevil resistance, sources of...

Author(s): Andrew Kiggundu, Michael Pillay, Altus Viljoen, Clifford Gold, Wilberforce Tushemereirwe, Karl Kunert

December 2003

Infection of maize by Fusarium species and contamination with fumonisin in africa

  Fusarium is one of the major fungal genera associated with maize in Africa. This genus comprises several toxigenic species including F. verticillioides and F. proliferatum, which are the most prolific producers of fumonisins. The fumonisins are a group of economically important mycotoxins and very common contaminants of maize-based foods and feeds throughout the world. They have been found...

Author(s): P. Fandohan, K. Hell, W.F.O. Marasas, M.J. Wingfield

December 2003

Potential role of biotechnology tools for genetic improvement of “lost crops of Africa”: the case of fonio (Digitaria exilis and Digitaria iburua)

  Fonio (Digitaria spp), considered as one of the lost crops of Africa, remains an important food crop for millions of people in Africa. The intimidating challenge today is to produce enough fonio to meet the growing demand for its products. Research has an important role to play in enhancing fonio production in Africa. This paper discusses the innovative research techniques of agricultural biotechnology that...

Author(s): Danladi Dada KUTA, Emmanuel KWON-NDUNG, Stephen DACHI, Mark UKWUNGWU and Emmanuel Dada IMOLEHIN

December 2003

Diagnostic research to enable adoption of transgenic crop varieties by smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

  Diagnostic research is important in helping to create an enabling environment for promising biotechnology products in smallholder agriculture, before rather than afterrelease. The biotechnology products that now hold promise for poor people in Sub-Saharan Africa are those that tackle economically important, biotic or abiotic problems not easily addressed through conventional plant breeding or...


December 2003

Biotechnology and industrial ecology: new challenges for a changing global environment

Human causes of global environmental change are invariably linked to inconsistencies in the relationship between industrial activities and ecological systems (industrial ecology). The choice of fuel materials used in the energy industry is directly responsible for increases in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, resulting in the current trend of global warming.  The dependency of the...

Author(s): O.A. Ogunseitan

December 2003

Lignocellulose biotechnology: issues of bioconversion and enzyme production

This review is written from the perspective of scientists working in lignocellulose bioconversion in a developing country and the aim of this review is to remind ourselves and other scientists working in related areas of lignocellulose research of the enormous economic potential of the bioprocessing of residual plant materials generally regarded as “waste”, and secondly to highlight some of the modern...

Author(s): Howard R.L., Abotsi E., Jansen van Rensburg E.L. and Howard S.

December 2003

Utilization of fungi for biotreatment of raw wastewaters

Fungal biomasses are capable of treating metal-contaminated effluents with efficiencies several orders of magnitude superior to activated carbon (F-400) or the industrial resin Dowex-50. Additionally, fungal biomasses are susceptible to engineering improvements and regeneration of their capabilities. With regard to organic pollutants, excessive nutrients and dyes, fungi can remove them from wastewaters, leading to a...

Author(s): COULIBALY Lacina, GOURENE Germain, AGATHOS N Spiros

December 2003

The relevance of biotechnology in the development of functional foods for improved nutritional and health quality in developing countries

The quality of food and food plants can be modified and optimized to meet the nutritional and health needs of at-risk and compromised populations prevalent in most of the developing countries. High rates of malnutrition, infectious disease as well as diet-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are prevalent in many developing countries. These are as a result of compromised immune function, inadequate sources...

Author(s): Lorraine L. Niba

December 2003

Profiling of carbohydrate polymers in biotechnology using microdialysis sampling, high performance anion exchange chromatography with integrated pulsed electrochemical detection/mass spectrometry

The analysis of carbohydrate polymers is very demanding and challenging because of the similar physical and chemical properties they possess. Enzymatic hydrolysis is employed to cleave the polymers. The use of enzymes in analytical chemistry requires an analytical system that has on-line capability, is fast, reproducible, robust, and offers sensitive detection. More importantly the system employed should...

Author(s): Harriet Okatch and Nelson Torto

December 2003

An overview of the microbial α-amylase family

  Amylases are enzymes which hydrolyze the starch molecules into polymers composed of glucose units. α-Amylases are ubiquitous in distribution, with plants, bacteria and fungi being the predominant sources. Most of the microbial α-amylases belong to the family 13 glycosyl hydrolases, and they share several common properties. But different reaction specificities have been observed across the family...

Author(s):   N. S. Reddy, Annapoorna Nimmagadda and K. R. S. Sambasiva Rao

December 2003

The human genome project and the future of medical practice

Contrary to the scepticism that characterised the planning stages of the human genome project, the technology and sequence data resulting from the project are set to revolutionise medical practice for good. The expected benefits include:  enhanced discovery of disease genes, which will lead to improved knowledge on the genetic basis of diseases; availability of DNA-based diagnostic methods, which will find...

Author(s): Bennett C. Nwanguma

December 2003

About Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, the causative agent of the chronic form of Human African Trypanosomiasis: some findings and proposals

Since its discovery at the beginning of 20th century, Human African Trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness has killed several hundred thousands of individuals in Africa, mainly in Central part of the continent. The actual situation of the disease in several countries is dramatic, such as in Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo or Angola. However, diagnosis is still based on the detection of parasites in blood or lymphatic...

Author(s): P. Truc ,

December 2003

African indigenous plants with chemotherapeutic potentials and biotechnological approach to the production of bioactive prophylactic agents

Undoubtedly medicinal plants are relevant in both developing and developed nations of the world as sources of drugs or herbal extracts for various chemotherapeutic purposes. Also the use of plant-derived natural compounds as part of herbal preparations as alternative sources of medicaments continues to play major roles in the general wellness of people all over the world. The African continent contains some of the...

Author(s): E. Olatunde Farombi

December 2003

Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms

Anti-tumor activity of mushroom fruit bodies and mycelial extracts evaluated using different cancer cell lines. These polysaccharide extracts showed potent antitumor activity against sarcoma 180, mammary adenocarcinoma 755, leukemia L-1210 and a host of other tumors. The antitumor activity was mainly due to indirect host mediated immunotherapeutic effect. These studies are still in progress in many laboratories and the...

Author(s): A.S. Dabal and O.U.Ezeronye

December 2003

Green revolution vaccines, edible vaccines

Edible vaccines are sub-unit vaccines where the selected genes are introduced into the plants and the transgenic plant is then induced to manufacture the encoded protein. Edible vaccines are mucosal-targeted vaccines where stimulation of both systematic and mucosal immune network takes place. Foods under study include potatoes, bananas, lettuce, rice, wheat, soybean, corn and legumes. Edible vaccines for various...

Author(s): Swamy Krishna Tripurani, N. S. Reddy and K. R. S. Sambasiva Rao

December 2003

Thin Cell Layer technology in ornamental plant micropropagation and biotechnology

Thin cell layer (TCL) technology originated almost 30 years ago with the controlled development of flowers, roots, shoots and somatic embryos on tobacco pedicel longitudinal TCLs. Since then TCLs have been successfully used in the micropropagation of many ornamental plant species whose previous in vitroregeneration was not successful using conventional methods. This review examines the fundamentals behind TCLs, and...

Author(s): Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

December 2003

Development of molecular tools for honeybee virus research: the South African contribution

Increasing knowledge of the association of honeybee viruses with other honeybee parasites, primarily the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, and their implication in the mass mortality of honeybee colonies, has resulted in increasing awareness and interest in honeybee viruses. In addition the identification, monitoring and prevention of spread of bee viruses is of considerable importance, particularly when considering...

Author(s): Sean Davison, Neil Leat and Mongi Benjeddou

December 2003

Molecular techniques: An overview of methods for the detection of bacteria

Several DNA molecular markers are now available for use in surveillance and investigation of food-borne outbreaks that were previously difficult to detect. The results from several sources of literature indicate substantially different degrees of sensitivities between conventional detection methods and molecular-based methods. The new technology is noted for increased sensitivity over the traditional culture methods...

Author(s): Olubukola O. Babalola

December 2003

In vitro culture of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: advances and future prospects

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are ecologically important for most vascular plants for their growth and survival. AM fungi are obligate symbionts. In recent years, there have been many attempts to cultivate in vitro. Some relevant results indicate efforts are not far from successful growth of AM fungi independent of a plant host. This paper describes the methods to cultivate root organs, and to select and purify...

Author(s): Tahir Abdoulaye DIOP

December 2003

Biotechnology, genetic conservation and sustainable use of bioresources

The loss of Africa’s forests and bioresources is occurring at an alarming rate, a consequence of increasing population pressure, agricultural land degradation, urbanization and neglect. There is a growing recognition worldwide that conservation and sustainable management of bioresources are pressing priorities in the world today. The choice of conservation methods and techniques depend on the objectives of the...

Author(s): Uyoh E. A., Nkang A. E. and Eneobong E.E.

December 2003

Web-based bioinformatic resources for protein and nucleic acids sequence alignment

DNA sequencing is the deciphering of hereditary information. It is an indispensable prerequisite for many biotechnical applications and technologies and the continual acquisition of genomic information is very important. This opens the door not only for further research and better understanding of the architectural plan of life, but also for future clinical diagnosis based on the genetic data of individuals....

Author(s): Kamel A. Abd-Elsalam