Technology
Product Development
Enabling Environment
Project Timeline
 
Timeline Summary

ABS Project Achievements for Year 1

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION

Africa Harvest oversaw the signing of sub-grant contractual agreements with consortium members and distributed funds in order to kickstart the project.  The Project Manager joined the project and made site visits.  The first and second planning meetings were held in Pretoria and Nairobi respectively.  Following the completion of the milestone-based project implementation plan, the Project Policy Manual was developed. 

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT  

The first ABS cultures were started in CSIR greenhouses and ICRISAT and ARC provided CSIR with sorghum lines for compositional evaluation.  Hence, the grain composition between the labs was initiated.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

University of California Berkeley commenced its studies on protein digestibility.  The team at University of Pretoria completed a literature review of value-added sorghum processing methods.  ICRISAT started germplasm collection to complete the database for Africa.

ENABLING ENVIRONMENT

The Public Acceptance and Communication (PAC) team completed the biotechnology acceptance literature review, effected message standardisation strategy across the project and launched a project website.  The IP Management Group compiled an inventory of the project technologies and started the Freedom-To-Operate analysis.  The Biosafety & Regulatory teams was involved in permit acquisitions in the US and Africa, CSIR greenhouses were upgraded and the first scientists started their research in Pioneer labs.

 

ABS Project Achievements for Year 2

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION Project Management and Coordination involves contractual issues, meetings and inputs from the internal teams and external sources such as the External Advisory Board.

The BMGF teams visited South Africa and Kenya and the third and fourth planning meetings were held.  The ABS Project leadership attended the GC#9.  The Regulatory Manager underwent training in Belgium and an ABS regulatory consultant was hired.

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT  
Technology Development involves gene and vector construction and transformation activities

Parallel analytical studies of sorghum were conducted.  The CSIR carried out molecular analysis of ABS plants, as well as baseline grain and nutritional analysis of selected sorghum varieties. The ARC greenhouse was upgraded for GMO work.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Product development includes plant breeding and food formulation

The UP team completed two surveys.  The first survey was carried out in Kenya and Senegal to identify indigenous sorghum products and formulation for nutrient baseline analysis.  The second survey resulted in compilation of a report on food consumption data from the Limpopo province of South Africa.  ICRISAT selected four lead varieties of end-user preferred sorghum varieties for breeding.  The documentation on diversity of sorghum species was completed and the germplasm collection was finalised.

ENABLING ENVIRONMENT
Enabling Environment activities are designed to give consortium members peace of mind to focus on timely project implementation and product success

The regulatory database for select African countries was compiled.  In South Africa, the project conducted regulatory training. The first phase of the sorghum biology document was completed, and the Kenya public acceptance regulatory baseline survey was concluded. 

 

ABS Project Achievements for Year 3

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION Project management and coordination involves contractual issues, meetings and inputs from the EAB, PSC, TLMG and the board.

The fifth and sixth planning meetings were held in Nairobi and Pretoria respectively.  CORAF/WECARD and KARI were included in the consortium as collaborating institutions.  Project management made site visits to Kenya and South Africa.  The External Advisory Board met for the second time this year.

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT   Technology involves gene and vector construction, and transformation activities

The transformation efforts at CSIR resulted in the successful suppression of targeted kafirin proteins. 

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Product development includes plant breeding and food formulation.

UC-Berkeley and UP carried out parallel studies which established the correlation between digestibility and extractability of sorghum lines in cooked and uncooked meal, and developed reliable digestibility assays for high and low tannin lines, cooked and uncooked based on ring analysis. 

ENABLING ENVIRONMENT Enabling environment involves giving partners the peace of mind to focus on timely project implementation and product success.

The PAC team developed an ABS folder and insert, produced a bi-lingual ABS video documentary, trained print and radio journalists in South Africa, and showcased the Project at the Bio2Biz conference in South Africa.  The project was represented at the the ABIC conference in Canada, BIO 2008 in USA, and CORAF Science Week in Cameroon. 

 

ABS Project Achievements for Year 4

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION Project management and coordination involves contractual issues, meetings and inputs from the EAB, PSC, TLMG and the board.

The seventh and eighth planning meetings were held in Mombasa, Kenya and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso respectively. The regulatory manager made some site visits.  Project management attended the annual GC#9 meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT   Technology involves gene and vector construction, and transformation activities

This project achievement significant breakthrough in sorghum transformation efficiency at Pioneer. The comprehensive molecular analysis of kafirin suppression events yielded preliminary data indicating low levels of beta-carotene from events.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Product development includes plant breeding and food formulation.

Twenty local sorghum varieties at ARC Potchefstroom fields were characterised for priority agronomic and phenological traits.  The scientists at KARI conducted field screening to select superior and popular sorghum cultivars for introgression. Protein quality studies showed that the ABS traits of improved protein quality and digestibility are expressed in food products.

ENABLING ENVIRONMENT Enabling environment involves giving partners the peace of mind to focus on timely project implementation and product success.

The seventh and eighth planning meetings were held in Mombasa and Ouagadougou respectively. The regulatory manager made some site visits.  Project management attended the annual GC#9 meeting in Thailand, and the PSC held 7 meetings.

 

 

ABS Project Achievements for Year 5

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION Project management and coordination involves contractual issues, meetings and inputs from the EAB, PSC, TLMG and the board.

The ninth planning meeting was successfully held in Pretoria.  Danforth Centre and Harvest Plus provided biosafety and nutrition studies support. 

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT   Technology involves gene and vector construction, and transformation activities

The ABS Project produced the world's first golden sorghum which expresses increased levels of Vitamin A.  Transgenic plants of the first ABS construct expressing high levels of lysine were planted in CSIR greenhouses.  Pioneer grew confined field trials #6 and #7 in Iowa and Hawaii respectively.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Product development includes plant breeding and food formulation.

Mock trial of a non-transgenic sorghum cultivar was carried out at ARC's confined field testing facility.  The UP team determined that the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), the official WHO/FAO measure of food protein quality, is more than doubled in sorghum porridge made from ABS compared to regular sorghum.

ENABLING ENVIRONMENT Enabling environment involves giving partners the peace of mind to focus on timely project implementation and product success.

The documentation of the diversity of the sorghum wild relatives in ABS target countries was concluded.  The PAC team had a meeting with the Institute of Science and Society in Burkina Faso.  KARI project staff was trained on glasshouse protocol following the construction of a fourth extension of the biosafety greenhouse chamber.

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