Ms Oluyimika wins the SAAFoST Dreosti Best Oral Presentation Award

Posted on September 30, 2019

Ms Oluyimika Y Adetola, a PhD Nutrition student in the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences at the University of Pretoria, recently won the Dreosti award given to the best student oral paper presenter at the 23rd Biennial 2019 South African Association for Food Science & Technology (SAAFoST) congress. She was one of a few student nutrition scientists attending the congress. This makes her achievement even more outstanding and special.

The paper Enhancing Essential Mineral Bioaccessibility in a Cereal-based Diet using a Food-based Approach is part of her PhD research supervised by Prof John Taylor (Honorary President and Past President: International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC)).  She evaluated how baobab fruit, that are rich in ascorbic and citric acid increased the iron nutritive value of maize porridge, a commonly consumed staple food in tropical Africa.

Food and nutrition security are at the heart of the sustainable development goal (SDG) 2 to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. Despite the implementation of mineral supplementations and food fortification strategies, many communities, especially in rural Africa suffer from nutritional deficiencies notably iron, zinc and vitamin A deficiencies. This is mostly due to consumption of a monotonous cereal-based diets high in inhibitors of mineral bioavailability. Also, communities at-risk are often not reached with conventional fortified foods.

This challenge informed the focus of Oluyimika’s PhD namely to use a sustainable food-based approach, i.e. using nutritious food stuffs locally available in African communities to enrich cereal foods such as maize and pearl millet porridge to improve their mineral nutritive value to combat micronutrient deficiencies. This PhD study is funded by the s South African National Research Foundation (NRF), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and the United State Agency International Development (USAID).

She is delighted to win the Dreosti award, motivating her further to pursue her passion which lies in using her knowledge of nutrition to improve the nutritional wellbeing of African communities especially children and also women of reproductive age.

13 September 2019
Picture supplied by Oluyimika Y Adetola

- Author Prof Riette de Kock

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