BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH INDUSTRY: VUT AMBIO AND SEPSCI LAUNCH ICGENE EQUIPMENT
By Nontobeko Moimane 22 April 2022
Newly launched ICGENE equipment
On Friday, 08 April 2022, VUT’s AMBIO Environmental department collaborated with Separation Science (SepSci), to launch a newly manufactured ICGENE equipment under the theme: “The rapid detection of food and water-borne pathogens”.
The purpose of the event was to share the exciting news with the VUT community that AMBIO has procured a state-of-the-art equipment that can rapidly detect pathogens in water and food samples.
According to AMBIO Environmental’s Manager, Mr. Prenaven Reddy, the launch served to create awareness around AMBIO’s new initiatives of AMBIO, including the proposed collaborative work with SepSci in the development and production of the kits for the ICGENE, locally and in-house.
Ms. Reshendrie Naidu, Product Manager at Separation Scientific SA (SepSci) set the scene by sharing their company’s background including tailor made solutions for the industry through this specialised equipment. SepSci is a distributor of laboratory equipment, consumables, and technical services to the Industrial Sciences, Clinical Diagnostics, and Life Sciences sectors in South Africa.
ICGENE is a piece of equipment (a new Lamp Technology) developed and used to detect pathogens rapidly in water and food samples. “Traditional methods used at AMBIO take around 24-48 hours to produce required results while ICGENE equipment results are available within 60 minutes. The department opted to purchase this equipment as an added value for the services they render to their clients. The objective is to produce rapid results to problems” said Mr. Reddy.
Relationship between VUT and SepSci
The relationship between AMBIO and SepSci began when the department needed a rapid test to detect pathogens, and through internal processes, SepSci was awarded the tender as this was a current and modern technology that suited the purpose. Future collaboration between VUT AMBIO and SepSci would make VUT one of the first institutes in Africa to provide rapid solutions through the ICGENE equipment.
Delegation that attended the ICGENE launch by VUT and SepSci
Use of ICGENE by VUT departments
Mr. Reddy further mentioned that departments across VUT are welcome to use the ICGENE equipment for training and research purposes as there is always ongoing research on pathogens, which will enable us to prevent major outbreaks in the future.
He elaborated that since AMBIO is involved extensively in water quality testing, his department proposed that they produce bottled water that is chemically and microbiologically safe and endorsed by a microbiologist and chemist at VUT. “To my knowledge, there is no bottled water that has a backing of a microbiologist and chemist, and as a business entity of the university, this will enable us to generate third-stream income,” he highlighted.
The Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences has specific needs, participants agreed that the two institutes can build a relationship and develop ways to meet required conditions required and develop customized solutions.
Message of support
Professor Maggie Linington: DVC: Teaching, Learning and Student Support Services gave a message of support and mentioned that the use of this equipment will give the AMBIO department ample time to respond much quicker to issues of the Vaal River. She further stated that VUT supports initiatives and projects that are driven by AMBIO. “As an institution, we would like to see AMBIO grow; produce research and commercial products,” added Prof Linington.
Dr. Cornelius Ssemakalu: Research Manager in the Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences gave a vote of thanks and pledged their support as a faculty to the AMBIO department. He also emphasized that the two institutes need to involve the Technology Transfer Office in their engagements and agreements for the protection of Intellectual Property; before they seal the agreement.