College to grow research capacity

Poppie Khoza, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa
Published: 11 June 2020

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The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is situated strategically at the science campus of the University of South Africa (Unisa) in Johannesburg.

Unisa has made science a priority and aims to grow research capacity and support research activities in the fields of agriculture and environmental sciences through the activities of the college. With its leading-edge laboratory facilities not generally associated with open and distance e-learning institutions, students will have a place to grow their minds and do what every scientist lives to do – put theory into practice.

Through the science campus the college strives to be the number-one world-class science centre of excellence in teaching, research, innovation and community engagement for sustainable development.

Here, a wide array of exciting qualifications in the science sphere are on offer. Its state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment together with its dedicated group of science education professionals ensure that open distance learning students are afforded the very best support and practical exposure.

The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences consists of the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the School of Ecological and Human Sustainability (each with two departments) as well as a unit.

Molecular basis of plant-microbe interactions and plant
pathogen biology research

Plant-molecular mechanisms for disease resistance are an important subject of study so that basic knowledge for breeding and plant-genetic modification can be generated. A multidisciplinary approach including plant gene expression pro­filing, proteomics, metabolomics and high-resolution imaging is currently embarked upon. This work utilises high-end instruments and novel information is being generated to add to the body of knowledge.

Botany, indigenous crop and ornamental horticulture research
The research includes a broad spectrum of plant-based studies covering aspects such as characterisation, cultivation and the identification and recognition of indigenous knowledge systems of various plant species in South Africa. Research on environmentally sustainable and economically viable horticulture practices is conducted to assist plant growers in improving plant production and the quality of commercial plants in South Africa.