NFTRC sent two to IAEA fellowship for saliva sample analysis
National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) sent two of its employees Research Scientist Ms Galase Ramolefhe and Assistant Research Scientist Ms Boingotlo Oatametse to Durban, University of Kwa Zulu-Natal where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had attached them to go and analyse BOT 6007 Project saliva samples under the leadership of one of their experts, Dr Helen Mulol.
However, the sensitivity of the samples meant that these two had to first pack the samples in NFTRC office and carry them along ensuring proper handling and storage. This was successfully done as they raced against time to drive to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Gaborone.
The two reported that upon spotting the waving NFTRC logo at the King Shaka International Airport, they knew the lady flashing them with a brilliant warm and welcoming smile was the expert Helen. With no time to waste, they headed straight to the Medical School Clinical Laboratory where they spent their two weeks. They offloaded the samples there and safely stored them in a -80°C freezer.
The next day marked the beginning of the protracted work, which entailed introductions of the Clinical Laboratory staff, familiarisation with the Nelson Mandela R. Medical School Campus, laboratory induction, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR), principles of determining body composition using deuterium dilution techniques, presentation on the principles of FTIR operation and analysis of samples and preparation of calibration standards.
Overall, there were 207 samples brought for analysis, 106 from Shakawe and 101 from Moshupa. Of these, 197 readings were valid, 99 from Shakawe and 98 from Moshupa. Reasons for excluding some samples included having insufficient samples to begin, no samples and/or presentation of invalid readings.
Despite challenges encountered, saliva analysis was successfully completed and results have been handed over to the Principal Investigator, Dr Boitumelo Stokie Motswagole.
The duo expressed their gratitude for working alongside the IAEA expert in the mission. They reported that the experience will grow their skills as trainees on deuterium dilution techniques and the analysis of biological samples using FTIR machine.
They stated that NFTRC will also benefit as it will have experienced personnel to help revive the Centre’s title of Regional Centre for Body Composition and Human Milk Intake Assessment in the English Speaking African Countries.
Boingotlo Oatametse and Expert Dr Hele Mulol discussing data