A UK Parliamentary Report into supporting and developing African agriculture and nutrition is published today on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development. Africa College is one of several organisations supporting the APPG. more
New research by Africa College members looks at how the management of farms and agricultural landscapes impacts on both pollinators of crops and natural enemies of crop pests. more
Head of School for Earth and Environment, Professor Andy Dougill has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship to conduct research on 'Socio-environmental analyses of community carbon projects in Malawi and Zambia'. The Fellowship will be held over 24 months from September 1st, 2013. more
An interdisciplinary team from Africa College will be visiting Ethiopia in June 2013 to meet key stakeholders in the Northwest-Ethiopia Region and farming communities in Awi Zone, particularly in Fagita Lekoma district to scope collaborative multidisciplinary collaborative research and development projects on integrated smart micro-farming systems for sustainable health, food, and nutrition and income security in highly populated and degraded highlands of Ethiopia. more
Environmental social scientist Lindsay Stringer was interviewed in March 2013 for the Canadian newspaper The Toronto Star following Canada's withdrawal from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and interviewed again in April by the same newspaper for a feature article on desertification. more
A special issue of the Journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, edited by Professor Andy Challinor, Africa College Research Director, focusses on Agricultural prediction using climate model ensembles.
Scientist awarded fellowship to work in Africa CollegeThe Faculty for the Future program: Role models for the next generation
Marian D. Quain was awarded a Faculty for the Future program fellowship in 2011 to work in the laboratory of Christine Foyer in the Centre of Plant Sciences at Leeds University. She joined Christine's lab in October 2011.
The Faculty for the Future fellowships are awarded to women from developing and emerging economies who are preparing for PhD or post-doctoral study in the physical sciences and related disciplines at top universities for their disciplines abroad. The long-term goal of the Faculty for the Future program is to generate conditions that result in more women pursuing scientific disciplines. Grant recipients are therefore selected as much for their leadership capabilities as for their scientific talents, and they are expected to return to their home countries to continue their academic careers and inspire other young women. Launched by the Schlumberger Foundation in 2004, the Faculty for the Future community now stands at 194 women from 54 countries, and grows steadily each year.
Marian D. Quain
Research Scientist (Biotechnologist)
CSIR - Crops Research Institute
Marian D. Quain is a product of the University of Ghana, Legon, with a BSc in Botany with Zoology with a Major in plant physiology and tissue culture techniques. She also has an MPhil in Plant Physiology using tissue culture methods, and her PhD was in germplasm conservation using cryopreservation methods. She has been an employee of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Crops Research Institute since July 1996 and is the scientist leading biotechnology research group in her institute in Ghana.
Ghana is a developing country, working towards that attainment of middle income status. Agriculture in Ghana employs about 60% of the working population. Some of the challenges faced by agricultural practices include subsistence farming and crop yield. As with other major crops, grain legume production can be severely restricted by environmental stresses. Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] is an important crop and a key source of proteins for human and animal consumption. In Ghana it is used mainly as a weaning food for infants and it is also a good source of proteins for adults. Soybean is known to contain about 20% oil which is cholesterol-free. It is therefore an important industrial crop processed by about 15 small scale seed processing industries in Ghana. Presently, the demand for the seed is more than the supply hence it is imported from neighboring countries to feed the small scale processing industries. The crop is also used as a natural nitrogen source in agriculture because of presence of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in specialized organs called root nodules. The major soybean growing areas in Ghana are the northern part of the country which experiences only one rainy season. This region also has depleted soils due to over-utilization. Soybeans are thus used to intercrop other heavy feeder plants to help replenish the soil with nutrients especially, nitrogen.
Marion's Research: Enhancing the sustainability of soybeans under optimal and drought stress conditions
The research program that Marion is undertaking is designed to characterize the effects of drought on soybean plants, with a particular focus on the role of cysteine or serine proteases in natural and stress-induced senescence in leaves and nodules. Genes and proteins that are involved in reduction-oxidation (redox) metabolism and signaling are being studied during soybean leaf and nodule development and senescence, together with the effects of drought on these processes in relation to the role of the plant hormones stigolactones. Genes and proteins that are changed in response to drought will be identified. Markers for the effects of drought on soybean viability will be selected. The effects of ectopic expression of either cysteine or serine protease inhibitors on drought-induced senescence will be tested in transgenic soybeans plants.
4th November 2011