HORTICULTURE STUDENTS SHINE AT ANNUAL CONGRESS
Postgraduate UKZN Horticulture students, Mr Samson Tesfay and Mr Xolani Siboza, were amongst the prize-winners at the recent Combined Congress of the Southern African Horticultural Science, Crop Science and Soil Science Societies held in Bloemfontein.
Mr Tesfay, a PhD student, excelled by claiming two awards: the Best Horticultural Science PhD Presentation and the Best Horticultural Science Student of the Southern African Horticultural Science Society. His prizes included a book and R10 000 towards the cost of attending an international conference. Mr Tesfay plans to travel to Lisbon in August to participate in the 28th International Horticultural Science Congress.
Currently finalising his studies and assisting other postgraduate students with their research endeavours, Mr Tesfay’s research investigated the role of the rare seven carbon sugars in avocados. He successfully identified the function of these essential compounds as antioxidants and transport sugars, something that has evaded researchers for almost a century.
Master of Science student, Mr Siboza, won the award for the Second Best Student Presentation which was sponsored by Omnia®. Reporting on his research on chilling injury in lemons, Mr Siboza found that rind sugars play an important role in resisting chilling injury of lemons during the cold sterilisation process necessary for exportation of South African fruits to world markets.
Mr Tesfay and Mr Siboza are both supervised by Professor John Bower and Dr Isa Bertling who, over the years, have been witness to many UKZN Horticulture students winning prizes at the annual congress.