25 December 2012

Zimbabwe: University Commissions Laboratory

Chinhoyi Bureau — CHINHOYI University of Technology has commissioned a US$100 000 state-of-the-art bio-technology laboratory expected to provide a centre of excellence in research in agriculture, health and industry sectors.

Equipped with compound microscopes, gel photo documentation system, a -25 degrees Celsius freezer and autoclave machine among other high technology equipment, the laboratory will provide answers to some of life's questions like the paternity of children, animal husbandry and bioengineering.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, CUT vice chancellor Professor David Simbi said technology should provide answers to societal needs.

"The challenge for the university and the students is to celebrate the evolution of technology that answers societal needs," said Prof Simbi.

"To be able to produce equipment that will be used to make life easy for our people."

Prof Simbi said the lab provides a foundation for producing skills to provide technological solutions to problems in agriculture, industry and health.

The equipment can test water quality, enable study of livestock diseases, environmental pollution, pests and pathogens among others.

Dean of the school of Agriculture Sciences and Technology Professor Stanley Makuza said more specialised equipment for advanced research was needed adding that biotechnology requires expensive consumables and reagents such as hormones for tissue culture and restriction enzymes.

"It may be necessary at this point to factor this (expensive consumables) into the school fees paid by the Sciences students to cater for these costs and enable us to run all the required practicals," he said.

Students will be trained to conduct paternity tests using DNA sampling test the level of bacteria and pathogens in water, research animal disease patterns while the -25degrees Celsius freezer can store hormones for up to 30 years.

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