ACTIVITIES

Training Activities

  • Post doctoral, postgraduates and undergraduate students from the various universities across the country and beyond can use the equipment available in the Complex for their R&D studies.
  • Industrial attachment for undergraduate students
  • Visiting Scientist Schemes

Short courses, seminars and workshops

 

(E)    Some analytical and consultancy services

  • Water, soil and plant analysis
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Aspect of drug and food analysis
  • Solid minerals analysis
  • Analysis of products for export

 

 

 

Research and development activities emanating from the Biotechnology and Genetic Advanced Laboratory (BAL)

The following research activities, directed essentially towards the transformation agenda of Nigeria to be one of the most vibrant economies in the world are as follows

Food quality and security for all: BAL scientists are committed to the National Goal of Quality food for all before the year 2020. And on-going research to achieve this are as follows:

  1. Molecular Cloning and Genetic transformation of rice and cowpea: The BAL goal is to create new rice varieties which show enhanced resistance against the blast fungus, regardless of the race of blast. By an Agrobacterium-mediated transformation method, BAL Scientists intend to introduce a rice class-I chitinase gene, Cht-2 or Cht-3, into the locally preferred rice varieties. Towards the objective of improving of LOCAL rice varieties with transformed chitinase gene for resistance to rice blast fungus, the laboratory has achieved, through somatic embryogenesis, the regeneration of plantlets from callus in “SUAKOKO 8” local rice variety and FARO 55 (a NERICA).Work is currently on-going with other rice varieties and on Cowpea.

 

  1. Molecular Marker Assisted selection for Breeding and Conservation: As the world is faced with issues of climate change which will directly have effects on food supply in Africa, there is a need to focus on crops species that can withstand these adverse effects. BAL scientists have developed a number of research programs to use marker assisted technology to screen crop varieties that could be drought or pest and disease resistant using QTL. Again, as global food security and economic growth now depend on a declining number of plant species, there is a need to fulfil this mandate with alternatives and conserve and  use the world’s plant genetic resources for the development and welfare of the present.  BAL scientists are working with Neglected and Underutilized  (NUS) plants to achieve this goal.

 

  1. Mushroom Research: Another very important research in BAL is the Mushroom development Research. Mushroom is abundant in Nigeria but the issue of choosing the right edible ones from a whole host of ones that are very poisonous in the wild is a big problem. BAL scientists have taken it up to do proper identification of edible mushrooms from the wild in Nigeria. Mushroom research in BAL also looks at developing industrial enzymes to boost use in Nigerian Industries (brewing) as well as direct foreign investments. Our Mushroom research also looks at developing a cost effective medium for growing them of which this technology can be adopted by the local farmers.

 

  1. Development of in-vitro plant tissue culture with the Temporary Immersion Bioreactor (TIB): Many Economic Crops: Banana, Plantain, Pineapple which will enhance Food security and Job creation in Nigeria have been mass multiplied using this kind of Bioreactor. It is our mandate in BAL to provide Clean Disease Free plantlets of these plants to farmers, Women and youths who wish to go into Agriculture. This will boost the agricultural transformation agenda of the Nation. BAL has equally extended this TIB methods to Woody Crops which will be used for the Nigeria “Great Green Wall Afforestation Project.

Bioactive Product Development: As part of the strategy to derive value added products from waste materials dumped into the environment, the Biomaterials Group of Biotechnology Advanced Laboratory has developed urban mining strategies aimed at obtaining secondary raw materials from waste products. With a population of 170million people who use materials on a daily basis, and who migrated from largely agrarian backgrounds, it is imperative that semi-urban communities in Nigeria could become mines where agricultural waste, electronic waste etc. could be easily obtained for conversion to value added products.  This is opposed to the communities being described as potential dumpsites. BAL Scientists have used the propriety technique of photosynthesis to produce silver nano particles using banana fibres.  Not only that this is creating a waste to wealth strategy but products are bioactive. Three products were made: filter paper, shoe in-sole and egg crates by exploiting the bioactive properties of silver nano particles. In the long run we will have filter papers and egg creates that are anti-microbial increasing the quality of water passed through the filters and the shelf life of eggs stored on the crates.

 

Bioremediation Research: Preliminary studies on microbial degradation of plastics used in packaging portable water in Nigeria: A simple technique has been developed by BAL research Scientists using proprietary solvents to powderize Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), used in the packaging of sachet water in Nigeria. The increase in surface area of the pulverized plastics was exposed to soil microbes. Using culture enrichment technique, eight different microbial colonies utilized the powderized LLDPE as a sole carbon source. Out of these eight, the most prolific organism, which produced a red pigment, was identified as Serratia marcenses. The red pigment was tested at Princeton University in the USA, and found to be a possible breast cancer treatment drug. The morphological characteristics of the degraded plastic were also noted. The possibility of pilot plant to degrade this environmental pollutant is being investigated.