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Posted: Mar 28, 2011
High tech microscope to advance nanotechnology research in South Africa
(Nanowerk News) The South Africa Department of Science and Technology has acquired a world-class High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM) that will push the frontiers of nanotechnology research.
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the HRTEM will be commissioned during the second half of this year, and will be located at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Speaking at the International Workshop on Nanomedicine for Infectious Diseases of Poverty held in Magaliesberg on Sunday, Pandor said there was a need to pool resources and take deliberate steps to combat poverty and its subsequent implications, including diseases.
"I would like to encourage you to put your heads together and work with each other to find African solutions for African problems," she said.
Among the list of possibilities presented by nanotechnology, it is credited with the potential to dramatically improve the condition of the world's poorest people. Nanotechnology inventions can help fight disease, improve food production, provide for cleaner water, make the transport of goods easier and cheaper to people in remote areas, and provide clean and cheap energy sources.
The department has also established two nanotechnology innovation centres at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Mintek, its two main science councils.
The centres have a budget of R134 million (approx. USD 19 million).
Pandor also congratulated the CSIR for the significant progress made in encapsulating all four first-line TB drugs in nano-polymer, using a technology they have now patented.
"With the project now in clinical trials, prospects for success look good," the minister said. "A lot of capability has been built in the area of drug-delivery systems using nanotechnology."
Pandor said this technology would be used for a wide range of other drugs.
The minister said her department was ready to offer assistance through the existing bilateral and multilateral agreements South Africa has with other African countries.