Agri Kultuur January / January 2018 - Page 56

Meet Stellenbosch University ’ s two pomegranate PhDs

Engela Duvenage
Two students in the Faculty of AgriSciences will receive their doctorates in food science for work related to pomegranates

Ebrahiema Arendse from Surrey Estates

in Athlone first went to nursing college after school , before taking part-time evening classes to improve his matric marks and to gain university access . Not even a car accident in 2014 and having difficulty walking since then has kept him from pursuing his dream to become a scientist . Chemical engineer and food scientist Zinash Assefa Belay hails from Ethiopia ’ s capital where she was a lecturer and head of department at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University .
Although the duo come from vastly different places on the African continent , they have two things in common . They will both received a PhD in Food Science from Stellenbosch University ’ s Faculty of AgriSciences on 6 December . And both did their research on pomegranates .
One of their fellow students and research compatriots , Karen Munhuweyi , was also scheduled to formally receive her PhD ( also for work related to pomegranates ) a week later . She was late into her second pregnancy , and on doctor ’ s orders decided not to travel from Johannesburg for the graduation ceremony , but to defer receiving her own doctorate until March next year .
Theirs would otherwise have been the largest
AgriKultuur | AgriCulture group of students so far to simultaneously receive their PhDs from Stellenbosch University for work about this so-called “ super fruit ”. Pomegranates are becoming increasingly popular worldwide because of the health benefits and aesthetics attached to them .
The three students each worked on different aspects of the fruit ’ s quality , packaging and shelf life . Dr Arendse adapted existing scanning techniques into a non-destructive quality control method for pomegranates . Dr Belay established the optimal temperature conditions , gas combinations and the type of packaging film material that maintains the quality and shelf life of pomegranate arils . Dr Munhuweyi developed a method to trap essential oils like cinnamon into a fume , which then could provide the fruit with a protective layer against fungi like Botrytis that often cause decay and rot . This leads to postharvest losses and reduced profitability .
Part of a bigger plan
Their work forms part of the endeavours of the DST-NRF South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology in the SU Department of Horticultural Science . Under leadership of agricultural engineer Prof Umezuruike Linus Opara , scholars and students have over the past eight years established the best ways to handle and market pomegranates once these
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Meet Stellenbosch University’s two pomegranate PhDs Engela Duvenage Two students in the Faculty of AgriSciences will receive their doctorates in food science for work related to pomegranates E brahiema Arendse from Surrey Estates in Athlone first went to nursing college after school, before taking part-time evening classes to improve his matric marks and to gain university access. Not even a car accident in 2014 and having difficulty walking since then has kept him from pursuing his dream to become a scientist. Chemical engineer and food scientist Zinash Assefa Belay hails from Ethiopia’s capital where she was a lecturer and head of department at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. Although the duo come from vastly different places on the African continent, they have two things in common. They will both received a PhD in Food Science from Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of AgriSciences on 6 December. And both did their research on pomegranates. One of their fellow students and research compatriots, Karen Munhuweyi, was also scheduled to formally receive her PhD (also for work related to pomegranates) a week later. She was late into her second pregnancy, and on doctor’s orders decided not to travel from Johannesburg for the graduation ceremony, but to defer receiving her own doctorate until March next year. Theirs would otherwise have been the largest AgriKultuur |AgriCulture group of students so far to simultaneously receive their PhDs from Stellenbosch University for work about this so-called “super fruit”. Pomegranates are becoming increasingly popular worldwide because of the health benefits and aesthetics attached to them. The three students each worked on different aspects of the fruit’s quality, packaging and shelf life. Dr Arendse adapted existing scanning techniques into a non-destructive quality control method for pomegranates. Dr Belay established the optimal temperature conditions, gas combinations and the type of packaging film material that maintains the quality and shelf life of pomegranate arils. Dr Munhuweyi developed a method to trap essential oils like cinnamon into a fume, which then could provide the fruit with a protective layer against fungi like Botrytis that often cause decay and rot. This leads to postharvest losses and reduced profitability. Part of a bigger plan  Their work forms part of the endeavours of the DST-NRF South African Research Chair in P ѡٕЁQ䁥ѡMTѵ)!ѥձɅMUȁ͡)ɥձɅȁAɽUե1)=Ʉ͍́Ցٕ́ٔȁѡ)ЁЁ啅́х͡ѡЁ݅́Ѽ)ɭЁɅѕ́ѡ͔(