Together with the University of Dortmund in Germany, Parceval has received a grant to research two South African medicinal plants for their commercial potential, with the aim to develop them into a cosmetic product for the market.
As research in many cases does not manage the leap from thesis to practical application, the project’s aim is to avoid this pitfall by having academics and industry work together from the start, exchanging knowledge and know-how in the process.
To this end Ulrich Feiter, from Parceval, is working closely with Prof Dr Michael Spiteller from the University of Dortmund, researching two South African plants. Cultivation of these plants has also already begun, our first propagation trials having yielded good results.
In the coming months the trials will continue to establish best practices for growing, harvesting and processing. At the same time a gene pool selection will be taking place, to select the plants with the best ingredient profile for the development of a cosmetic.
A further aim of the project is to strengthen ties between northern and southern universities, creating valuable knowledge transfer in the process. Teaching modules and practical courses have been given by both Ulrich Feiter, Prof Dr Spiteller as well as other lecturers for Master students and doctoral candidates from a spread of African countries. The courses were held at the University of Dortmund in Germany as well as at the Egerton University in Kenya.
These modules look at the potential of indigenous medicinal plants to tackle various ailments, focusing strongly on practical knowledge, such as scientific techniques in researching plants, as well as how to convert the fundamental research aspects into commercial enterprise.
Through this partnership Parceval and the University of Dortmund hope to forge new ties between industry and research that will encourage others to do the same. And ultimately to produce a cosmetic product that is scientifically sound as well as commercially viable.