The Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and the Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR), Mampong Akuapem, have engaged in advanced talks for collaborative research on large-scale production of seedlings of Capparis erythrocarpos Isert, an important medicinal plant used in the management of rheumatoid arthritis in Ghana.

The research project is expected to foster collaboration between the two institutions, build capacity, and lead to the transfer of technology in the use of Plant Tissue Culture for large-scale propagation of important medicinal plants in Ghana. In addition, the collaboration will facilitate the exchange of scientific ideas and expertise in other areas of interest.

In a brief meeting held at the CPMR to strengthen/formalize this partnership, the Director of BNARI, Dr. Michael Yao Osae, expressed confidence that this project would encourage collaboration and facilitate the exchange of scientific ideas in other areas of mutual benefits to both institutions. He pointed out that besides plant tissue culture, the Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) at BNARI-GAEC is capable of sterilizing and preserving food and medicinal products to improve safety and extend the shelf-life. This technology will be of immense benefit to the CPMR and small-scale producers of traditional herbal medicine in Ghana.

The Acting Executive Director of CPMR, Dr. Kofi Bobi Barimah, disclosed that the use of plant tissue culture for mass production of C. erythrocarpos seedlings would encourage large-scale cultivation, eventually boosting production of “Sirrapac”, an important herbal medicine used for the management of rheumatoid arthritis in the clinic at CPMR. According to him, this partnership can be extended to solve cultivation challenges associated with other medicinal plants used for herbal medicines at CPMR. Mr. Tony Asafo-Agyei, a research scientist and head of the Plant Development Department (PDD) of CPMR who initiated discussions leading to the collaboration, was present at the meeting together with the Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Alfred Ampomah Appiah.

Dr. Wilfred Elegba, a research scientist at BNARI and leader of the project team, is working with other scientists from BNARI and CPMR to enhance the large-scale production and cultivation of C. erythrocarpos to meet the demand for “Sirrapac” production and for other medicinal uses. He reiterated the need for collaboration and partnership between research and teaching institutions/universities in Ghana to facilitate the development of innovative solutions to address challenges in agriculture.

Over the last two decades, BNARI has played a pivotal role in the development of plant tissue culture protocols for mass production of clean planting materials for food crops such as pineapple, plantain, sweet potato, sugarcane, and medicinal plants such as Aframomum melegueta (alligator pepper) and Phyllantus niruri (Awommaa guwakyi).

By: GAEC Multimedia/TTMC

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