Stellenbosch University – Current Students

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Please note that students are listed in alphabetical order by surname

Post-doctorate
Tersia Needham


Research Associates


Laubscher, LAssociate:
Liesel Laubscher

Focus of study: The development of pharmaceutical products for safe and effective immobilization and tranquilization of wildlife

Study details:
The overall study aims to investigate various novel and existing pharmaceutical compounds for use in wildlife. These drugs are studied alone or in combination with other drugs, for the safe and effective immobilization or tranquilization of a variety of wildlife species. In conjunction with Wildlife Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd., results from the study will be used for the development, registration and production of pharmaceutical products for wildlife. The development of novel drugs and/or drug combinations as well as the registration of new formulations of existing drugs is intended to assist in the safe immobilization and effective reduction of stress in wildlife during routine procedures such as capture and relocation, monitoring and treatment.

Contact information
liesel.laubscher8@gmail.com

ONeill, B
Associate:
Bernadette O’Neill

Focus of study: Factors that influence the flesh quality of fish and other marine organisms

Contact information
oneill.bernadette@gmail.com

Post-doctoral researchers

 

Student: Tersia Needham

Project title: TBC

Project: TBC

 

 

 

PhD students

Student: Obert C. Chikwanha

Degree: PhD (Agric.) in Animal Science

Project title: The potential of red grape pomace as a feed supplement and meat preservative in lamb production

Project description:
Current sheep feedlot diets in South Africa primarily consist of maize as an energy source and either soybean meal or sunflower-seed as sources of protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). These diets produce meat which contains relatively high levels of unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) including trans fatty acids, which may have negative effects on human health. Elevated levels of UFA also increase the susceptibility of meat to oxidation, which can reduce nutritional value, eating quality, safety, shelf-life and consumer acceptability. Recent research shows that feeds rich in phenolic compounds do not only improve meat fatty acid composition but also improve shelf-stability. Currently, there is a growing interest in finding safe, low-cost and effective natural antioxidants that have an application in the meat industry for improving meat healthfulness and shelf-stability. In South Africa, grape pomace, an abundantly available by-product of the winery industry, is a rich source of phenolic compound antioxidants but has been under-exploited by the local meat industry. The nutritive value, phenolic compound profile and antioxidant activity of pomace from commonly grown red grape varieties in South Africa is not well known. More importantly, the effects of phenolic compounds from these red grape pomace varieties on meat fatty acid composition and shelf-stability have not been investigated. The current study will firstly evaluate the nutritive value, phenolic compound profiles and antioxidant activities of pomace from commonly grown red grape varieties in South Africa. Secondly, lamb feeding trials will be conducted to develop a red grape pomace feed additive that improves lamb meat fatty acid composition and shelf-stability while maintaining high production and quality attributes. Thirdly, an experiment will be conducted to develop a red grape pomace meat additive that improves oxidative stability and sensory qualities of retail lamb meat.

Contact information
19571267@sun.ac.za

Student: Leah Bessa

Degree: PhD

Project title: Investigation into the functional application of Hermetia illucens in meat emulsion alternative products.

Project description: Western consumers are becoming aware of the environmental impact of consuming meat and are beginning to seek alternatives to animal protein in efforts to shift to a more sustainable diet. This has led to an increase in interest in insects as an alternative protein source for human consumption, however, there is still insufficient information and understanding around the functional application and microbial safety of insects and insect-based products. This study aims to:

1) evaluate the factors affecting the functional properties of Hermetia illucens, or  the Black Soldier Fly (BSF), for meat production, then

2) incorporate BSF into an emulsified sausage to compare it’s physiochemical, textural and microbial properties to a commercial pork sausage,

3) and finally to determine consumer preference of the BSF sausage through a multi-cultural approach in South Africa and Belgium.

This information will contribute to the new body of research surrounding the potential of insects as a protein alternative and provide some insight into its potential application as a meat alternative.

Contact information:

16764773@sun.ac.za

 

elna phdStudent: Elna Dürr

Degree: PhD Psychology

Project title: The development of an explanatory employee well-being model for abattoir employees.

Project description: 

My study is about the impact of slaughtering on the psychological well-being of slaughterers. Through a literature search I have found that slaughterers working as stunners or bleeders in the dirty area of an abattoir may develop psychological and physical disorders due to the daily challenges of their work. Some of these disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, violent behaviour, substance abuse, etc. Some slaughterers have the ability to cope with these challenges, but others struggle to cope and then start to develop psychological disorders. These disorders may influence their work as well as their relationships with co-workers and family members.
A study focusing on how slaughterers experience their work and what the impact of slaughtering animals may have on their psychological well-being, will make a positive contribution to the well-being of abattoir employees, as it will help researchers to identify factors that can make abattoir employees more resilient within and outside their work setting.
If one can determine what the impact of slaughtering animals is on the psychological well-being of the slaughterer, psychosocial and health interventions may be developed. The findings of the study can also be used to give employees access to counselling, debriefing sessions and job rotation – which may lead to better coping. The results can also be used to develop prevention strategies for employees before they start working in the dirty area of an abattoir. The results will therefore make a positive contribution to the abattoir industry of South Africa. The study will also make a contribution to the field of psychology in South Africa as well as internationally and fill a gap in the literature, since there are limited studies done on the subject.
For the purpose of this study, a qualitative research design will be used with a grounded theory research approach. Semi-structured in-depth interviews will be use in order to collect the data. The qualitative data will be analysed according to the grounded theory method, and the results will be used to develop a model of employee well-being. The model will describe the negative and the positive impact of slaughter on the psychological well-being of abattoir employees. The negative part refers to the impact of slaughtering on the psychological well-being of slaughterers, while the positive part will aim to explain how slaughterers cope with their negative circumstances. The model will further describe why some abattoir employees cope better with the challenges of their work than others. The model will also aim to explain what type of person cope with their challenges and what kind of person struggle to cope. For the purpose of this study a grounded theory approach will be a good choice, since it is an appropriate way to study human behaviour on a sensitive topic and in a different cultural context.
The researcher will interview kosher, halal and normal slaughterers. These three groups will be compared with one another according to the impact slaughtering have on their well-being. The researcher will also conduct interviews with some of the family members of the slaughterer’s and with the management of the abattoirs.
Red meat abattoirs across South Africa will be used in the study.

Contact information
elnadurr@gmail.com

Raoul du ToitStudent: Raoul du Toit

Degree: PhD Animal Science

Project title: Life Cycle Assessment and Optimisation of three South African Sheep Production Systems

Project description: 

Livestock production, and especially sheep production, has a major impact on the environment. These impacts, however, vary largely among different production systems and understanding these differences is essential to effectively mitigate and minimise impacts on the environment.

The objective of this study will be to quantify and compare three contrasting (intensive-, semi-intensive-, and extensive) sheep production systems in South Africa, based on environmental and financial impacts.  To achieve this, various Life cycle assessments (LCA) and Life cycle impact assessments (LCIA) will be conducted. These are “tools” that were developed to evaluate the resource use and environmental efficiency of agricultural systems and products along the whole supply chain or life cycle.  The most common use in the agricultural sector is that of Carbon footprinting, where the topic of eco-labelling receives attention, but for the purpose of this study, we will additionally be using it to quantify Water footprint, Land Use footprint and financial profitability.  It has recently gained recognition as a methodology that can also support decision-making in both the private and public sectors. Futhermore, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) will be used to integrate and evaluate the provided performance data, to determine the most viable layout within each of the three contrasting production systems.  This approach is based on the idea of defining a number of criteria and identifying an alternative solution that optimises all the conditions. 

Contact information
16193555@sun.ac.za

Animal Science17-29Student: Jacqueline Dziergwa

Degree: PhD Animal Science

Project title: From fisheries physiology to post-mortem meat properties – A case study in Yellowtail

Project description: 

Information on of stress-related physiology responses of yellowtail during capture and their impact on post-mortem meat quality are currently unknown. It is likely that such stress depends on, or differs, with the method of catch. Optimisation of capture and slaughter methods would therefore be a way to improve meat quality after post-mortem processing and during storage. This project will therefore evaluate different capture methods of yellowtail with regards to their physiological impacts and subsequent influence on post-mortem meat quality.

Contact information
Jdziergwa@gmail.com

Student:  Caitlin Firth

Degree: PhD Animal Science

Project title: Biomonitoring of marine microplastic pollution along the West and South Coasts of South Africa

Project description: 

Microplastics, toxic trace metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are currently all considered marine contaminants of serious concern as they pose a considerable health risk to marine ecosystems and human seafood consumers alike. Unfortunately, unlike trace metals and POPs, marine microplastics are a relatively new field of research and their effects on ecosystems and seafood consumers have therefore not yet been sufficiently assessed and quantified. Currently, a serious local issue is that while baseline marine pollution studies are essential for the long-term monitoring of pollutant levels, these are on the decline in South Africa. This study therefore aims to:

1) create baseline data on the current status of marine microplastic pollution along the Northern and Western Cape Province coastlines of South Africa using Mytilus galloprovincialis mussels as biomonitors and

2) test at what rate microplastics are ingested by commercially valuable mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis and Choromytilus meridionalis), and whether the ingestion of these microplastics is aiding increased hydrophobic pollutant (toxic metals and POPs) uptake, and

3) test whether these microplastics are transferred into the mussel predator and commercially valuable West Coast rock lobster (Jasus llalandi).

This information is intended to be valuable to the government, aquaculture producers and human consumers.  

Contact information

19407211@sun.ac.za

Student: Sekiwe Mbande

Degree: PhD Agriculture

Project title: Assessment of diet composition of west coast rock lobster (Jasus lalandii) using stable isotopes and qPCR analysis.

Project description:
TBC

Contact information
19407211@sun.ac.za

Student: Andre Munian

Degree: PhD Aquaculture

Project title: Lipid metabolism of the west coast rock lobster Jasus lalandii – are there useful indicators for growth and reproductive success?

Project description:
TBC

Contact information
amunian@csir.co.za

North, MStudent: Megan North

Degree: PhD Agriculture

Project title: Describing and mitigating the effects of high temperatures on rabbit growth and meat production

Project description:
The expansion and growth of the human population as well as the general improvement of the socioeconomic status of the population in many countries has led to an increased demand for animal products. This, combined with a growing awareness of the impact that nutrition has on health has increased the earning potential of low-fat, high protein foods, with rabbit meat being such a product. While rabbit meat is a relatively common sight on shelves in Europe it has yet to make an impact in South Africa, with the rabbit farming community in the country still being small and underdeveloped. However, it appears that this is starting to change, with an increasing number of people showing an interest in rabbit farming.

One of the greatest challenges faced by the South African rabbit industry is the lack of relevant information on nutrition, breeding and management under our conditions. This is due to little to no rabbit production research having been done in the country. While data generated in European or American studies can be extrapolated to South African conditions to some extent this is risky due to the large differences in feed and genetic resources and climate. The utilization of these guidelines and estimates will not only limit production efficiency but could also lead farmers into financial difficulties if they make investments based on unrealistic expectations of production.

One of the factors that has an enormous impact on production is the ambient temperature, which in some parts of South Africa can get very high during summer. It is also unfortunately not currently economically viable for South African rabbit farmers to build controlled-environment housing. It is therefore necessary for farmers to live with the environment as best they can, with possible methods of doing this including management methods, nutritional adjustments and genetic selection.

The purpose of this study will be to first precisely assess the effect of high ambient temperatures on rabbit growth, physiology and carcass quality, and then use these results to develop methods of improving production in hot environments.

Contact information
15691721@sun.ac.za

DSC00663Student: Tanja Novak

Project title: Acute and chronic effects of Ocean Acidification and Warming on farmed South African abalone (Haliotis midae)

Project description:
Investigation of the impact of climate change on the biology of African abalone and its physiological compensation mechanisms.  The effect of a combination of decreased seawater pH and increased seawater temperature is examined during long-term (chronic) and short-term (acute) exposure of different life stages (larvae, juveniles, adults).

Contact information:
Tanja.Novak@uni-duesseldorf.de

Sipokazi nyeleka 2Student: Sipokazi Nyeleka

Degree: PhD Animal Science

Project title: The effects of Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L)  on
broiler chickens under intensive production

Project description:

Antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) are used extensively in the commercial broiler industry for the purpose of promoting growth. However, there are concerns about the antimicrobial resistance in animals which is transferable to humans through the meat they consume. Consequently, there has been increased pressure from consumers, who are increasingly becoming aware of the role of their food in their health, for their removal from the production of food animals. Phytogenic feed additives have beneficial effects on the growth and performance of animals and are thus proposed to be a solution. They can promote growth performance, improve and or maintain production and enhance the immunity of animals raised under intensive production conditions. Additionally, they have received acceptance from producers because of pressure from consumers who demand clean, safe and natural food production systems. The proposed study therefore, seeks to determine the effects of Nutrifen® on broiler birds reared under a commercial production system.

The first experiment is aimed at establishing the inclusion level at which Nutrifen® can be added to broiler diets without affecting feed intake, organ development and function. The second experiment will investigate the effects of Nutrifen® on the growth performance, carcass and meat quality attributes of broiler birds. The third and final experiment seeks to investigate the antimicrobial effects of Nutrifen® on the gut and the immune system of broiler birds. The expected outcomes from the study include the scientific validation of an optimum inclusion level at which Nutrifen® can be included in broiler diets without affecting feed intake, organ development and gizzard condition, The establishment of the effect of Nutrifen® on the production parameters and carcass and meat quality
attribute of broiler birds and also the determination of the antimicrobial effects of Nutrifen® on the gut and the immune system of broiler birds and potential benefits will be attained.

Contact information
201201069@sun.ac.za

Student: Rob Phillips

Degree: PhD Animal Science

Project title: The Mineral Status of Wild Ungulates in the Eastern Cape

Project description:
TBC

Contact information
21491976@sun.ac.za

Student: Dumalisile Pholisa

Degree: PhD Food Science

Project title: The effect of muscle type and ageing on Near Infrared (NIR) Spectroscopy classification of game meat species using a portable instrument

Project description:

Meat and meat products are often targets for species substitution and adulteration (fraud) due to their high market value. Adulteration of red meat and its products with cheaper meat is thus a current global problem resulting in economic, quality and safety issues.

The study aims to explore the potential of near infrared spectroscopy in differentiating game meat species irrespective of muscle used and ageing. This will be done by investigating:

  1. Ability of NIR spectroscopy in differentiating between different game meat species using the same muscle type e.g. longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) muscle.
  2. Ability on NIR spectroscopy in differentiating between six different muscles of the same species
  3. Influence of ageing on game meat species identification using NIR spectroscopy
  4. NIR spectroscopy in differentiating species irrespective of the muscle used.

The outcomes from this study will be used for the development of NIR spectroscopy authentication models, to be used as economic screening methods to support DNA testing of game meat.

Contact information
1393239@sun.ac.za

Shange, PStudent: Nompumelelo Shange

Degree: PhD Food Science

Project title: The conventional and molecular characterization of Campylobacter species isolated from South African ostriches

Project description:

The South African ostrich industry is the undisputed world leader in providing ostrich meat and by products. The recent need for ostrich meat is due to consumer dietary preferences. Ostrich meat, provides the health-conscious consumer with an alternative protein that is lean, low in cholesterol low in lipid content, high in protein and polyunsaturated fatty acid content. This consistent demand for ostrich meat and meat products directly correlates to the importance of providing consumers with ostrich meat that is safe for consumption. It is then very important to investigate the prevalence of emerging pathogenic microorganisms such as Campylobacter spp. Campylobacter species are found in the gastrointestinal tract of various animals such as chickens, sheep, cattle and also ostriches. When meat that is contaminated with Campylobacter spp. is accidentally consumed, Campylobacter spp. can induce adverse health reactions in humans. At present, most of what is known about Campylobacter spp. is obtained from the poultry industry, however the study of Campylobacter spp. in ostriches is scarce. Furthermore, in South Africa, there are no specific regulations that govern the presence/absence of Campylobacter spp. in ostrich meat. Thus, this study will aim to fully disclose if Campylobacter species are microbiological hazards that the South African ostrich industry should be critically aware of. This will be done by determining (Objectives):        

  1. Prevalent Campylobacter species in ostriches at primary production
  2. Prevalent Campylobacter species and points of contamination during the slaughter process
  3. Antibiotic resistance to antibiotics used in the ostrich industry and for Campylobacteriosis treatment

Contact information
15686809@sun.ac.za

Daniel van de MerweStudent: Daniël Van Der Merwe

Degree: PhD Agriculture

Project title: Developing models for the growth and production of South African sheep breeds

Project description:
When lambs are finished in a feedlot, they are typically grouped according to gender and live weight, as the exact ages are not always known. The lambs are then slaughtered at a predetermined live weight, regardless of breed, gender and maturity. The latter factors influence the growth pattern of the animal as well as the grading of the carcass. The inability to predict growth trends and level of feed intake of lambs of different genotypes affects the profitability of a feedlot finishing enterprise. With a proper understanding of the growth trends of animals of different maturity types, the feeding period can be adjusted in order to compensate for the differences in growth rate. An ideal slaughter age and weight can then be determined that will yield a carcass with good conformation and optimal level of fat.

The aim of this study is to use baseline growth data to develop models describing the growth of different sheep breeds that are common in South Africa. The sheep breeds that will be used will include wool, mutton and dual purpose breeds that are found in intensive as well extensive production systems. The models will provide information on the growth and production of the different breeds from birth through to maturity. These models can then be used to make comparisons and predictions, allowing farmers and feedlot operators to improve the efficiency of production and quality of the carcass.

Contact information
16198263@sun.ac.za

Student: Liesel van Emmenes

Degree: PhD Agriculture

Project title: The use of larvae meal as an alternative protein source: Exploring the potential benefits for the animal, farmer and consumer

Project description:
TBC

Contact information
15077918@sun.ac.za

Michaela van den HonertStudent: Michaela van den Honert

Degree: PhD Food Science

Project title: Determination of levels of antibiotic resistance genes and bacteria in the gut flora of ungulates and livestock on various farms in South Africa

Project description:
The usefulness of antibiotics was first noted in human clinical settings, where its application led to huge life-enhancing advancements in medicine. Following this success, antibiotics began to be used, particularly in agricultural farming. Antibiotic resistant cases in the farming industry are commonly documented in intensive animal production, such as broiler chickens and feedlot cattle and pigs, where the use of antibiotics is evident and regularly used. However, research on extensively produced food animals, such as free-range and organic livestock and game species, has been narrowly documented up until now and is the area of study in this present work.
Recent studies have demonstrated that wild animals and their surrounding environments are important reservoirs of antibiotic resistant genes and bacteria. Studies have shown that antibiotic resistance among wild animals is a growing public health issue, due to increased wildlife contact between humans, livestock and domestic animals, as well as increased co-habitation with other animals. In addition, there is a rising trend of consumption of game meat.
The aim of this study is to determine whether extensively farmed livestock and wild ungulates host antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus on various South African farms as well as to detect certain resistant genes which encode for specific antibiotic resistant mechanisms.

Contact information
16542509@sun.ac.za

Student: Louisa van Wyk

Degree: PhD Agriculture

Project title: Evaluation and determination of optimal pre- and post-slaughter conditions to eradicate chevon challenges in the South African Meat Industry

Project description:
TBC

Contact information:

MSc students


 

Student: Kezz Calitz

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project title: The quantification of acute stress in ungulants hunted by different commercial hunting methods

Project description: 
Animals hunted using three commercial methods are analysed to determine the least stressful method of hunting. The methods used are via helicopter, in a vehicle during the day and by vehicle at night. Stress negatively affects meat quality and can lead to animal welfare problems thus it is vital to eliminate this as much as possible. However, it is also important to look into the efficiency of the method as this could also have vast effects on the meat quality. The ungulants looked into were impala and blue wildebeest, both of which have very different behaviour traits and tendencies, this leads us to the question of is the culling method specie-specific.

Contact information

mailto:18276385@sun.ac.za

Student: Melissa Cupido

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project Title: An Insight into the Livelihood of Emerging Pig Farmers in the Western Cape 

Project description: 

This study will focus on collecting data on current management practices, production parameters, the health and biosecurity status, and constraints and struggles faced by emerging small scale pig farmers farming in three rural sites in the Western Cape. Sites that will be looked at are Mamre, Malmesbury and Khayelitsha. Data will be collected by means of a questionnaire, which will be done by face-to-face interviews with the farmers farming in this sector. Twenty-seven to 42 farmers will be interviewed per site by means of the Snowball Technique. The purpose of the study would be to gather valuable baseline information for the use of better training and consultation by extension officers, improved planning for workshops, as well as to be used as primary information for future studies to be done on addressing the constraints faced by these farmers.

Contact information

mailto:18468268@sun.ac.za

Student: Anél du Plessis

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project title: The effect of age and sex on the meat quality of impala (Aepyceros melampus)

Project description: 

The aim of this study is to determine the ideal age at which to harvest impala to obtain optimum meat quality.  The influence of animal age on body composition, physical, chemical and sensory characteristics of impala meat will be determined. The correlation between animal age and collagen content and structure as well as muscle fiber type will be investigated. The influence of sex on body composition, physical, chemical and sensory characteristics of impala meat will also be determined.

Contact information

18423078@sun.ac.za


Animal Science RethaStudent:
 Retha Engels

Degree: MSc Agriculture

Project title: Ante- and post-mortem factors influencing impala (Aepyceros melampus) meat quality

Project description:

Game meat is a sustainable resource that has the potential to contribute to the food security of South Africa. The impala is one of the most abundant game species in South Africa and can adapt well to different production systems, making it well-suited for sustainable yearly cropping regimes. The aim of this study was to establish baseline data on ante- and post-mortem factors influencing impala meat quality, focusing on contrasting production systems (intensive, semi-extensive and extensive), sex, muscle types and post-mortem ageing period. The effects of those factors on impala carcass yield, physical, chemical and sensory meat quality are quantified, and the optimum post-mortem ageing period for impala LTL muscles is identified.

Contact information
17184495@sun.ac.za 

Animal Science17-28Student: Angelique Henn

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project title: The meat quality characteristics of the plains zebra (Equus quagga)

Project description:

Game meat has the potential to be considered as an alternative protein source. For it to compete with existing meat products, however, scientific research on the quality characteristics are required.  Research has been done on various game species but there is a lack of research regarding the meat quality of the plains zebra.

The first aim of this study is to determine the meat production potential by evaluating the carcass composition and the physical and chemical characteristics of 6 muscles. The optimum aging period and the sensory profile of 3 muscles will also be determined. The second aim of this study is to compare the muscle fibre type profiles of 6 muscles in relation to location and function.

Contact information:
17773741@sun.ac.za

Shannon HowellStudent: Shannon Howell

Degree: MSc Food Science

Project title: Detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in sheep in the Western Cape, South Africa 

Project description:

The project is aimed at detecting Mycobacterum avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP), a mycobacterium that causes Johne’s disease in ruminants. Various internationally used detection methods (Phage assay and PCR) will be optimised and compared to nationally used methods (ELISA and Ziehl-Neelsen smear)- to evaluate which methods are more rapid, sensitive and specific. Merino sheep samples (blood, faecal and milk) will be used to determine which matrix produces a positive result. This project is unique to South Africa, as to our knowledge, there has been no published research on the prevalence of MAP in South Africa.

Contact information
17170230@sun.ac.za

Student: Kayla-Anne Jordaan

Degree: MSc Food Science

Project title: Meat quality of bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus)

Project Description:

The project is aimed at establishing the meat quality of bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) by evaluating the physical and chemical parameters of seven important muscles. A second aim is to determine the optimal aging period of the longissimus muscle taking into account the microbiological activity as well as the tenderness over time. The sensory profile as well as the fatty acid profile of bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) and blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) will also be compared.

Contact information

18324665@sun.ac.za

Student: Qhakazile Angel Makhubo

Degree: MSc Food Science

Project title: NIR hyperspectral imaging for characterising different game meat species

Project description:

Over the years, there has been a clear rise of consumer awareness with regards to their food. Consumers now want to know what exactly they are eating, whether it is authentic and is identical to its labeling. This is sudden awareness has likely been sparked by the recent cases of food adulteration that have been reported around the world (the European horsemeat scandal and a similar meat mislabeling incident in South Africa that both occurred in 2013). The cases of food adulteration have not only triggered the interests of consumers, but that of the food industry, governments and scholars into further investigation this old yet underrated subject. Food adulteration is defined as a collective term used to encompass the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging; or false or misleading statements made about a product (Charlebois et al., 2016). With the rise in demand to produce food due to the ever growing population, there is a lot of economic gain in adulterating foods. However, adulteration of foods not only causes their misrepresentation, but can cause a compromise in the safety of the food. High value-fetching products, such as meat, are often more susceptible to food fraud. Game meat, which is considered a luxury product and runs under free-enterprise conditions, is even more vulnerable. With the increased awareness of food adulteration there has also been visible rise of interest in the subject matter. More and more researchers and role-players within the food industry are beginning to investigate this matter and are attempting to develop methods to detect and prevent its occurrence. It is clear that a rapid, non-destructive & robust method is required. NIR hyperspectral imaging is a rapid technique that can be used for the detection of food adulteration. The main objective of this project is to use this method to detect food adulteration in game meat in South Africa.

Contact information

18539904@sun.ac.za

Student: Carmen Malan

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project title: TBC

Project description: TBC

Contact information: 18448992@sun.ac.za

Animal Science17-36Student: Stephanie Paulsen

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project title: Rabbit nutrition (TBC)

Project description:
In South Africa, rabbit farming is a small but slowly growing production system when compared to the beef, lamb and chicken industries. Rabbit farming has the potential to supply good quality meat in a sustainable way to the expanding population of this country. In most animal production enterprises feed cost can make up the bulk of the production cost, thus, my project will focus on formulating a balanced ration for the optimization in the growth and meat quality of rabbits. By providing the correct nutrition it can be possible to grow rabbits in a sustainable manner and still provide good quality meat at a lower production cost.

Contact information
16875745@sun.ac.za

Kiah PayneStudent: Kiah Payne

Degree: MSc Food Science

Project title: Rapid authentication and differentiation of game meat using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy.

Project description:
The project is aimed at rapidly differentiating between species of game meat, regardless of the meat being fresh or frozen-then-thawed as well as classifying the meat as either fresh or frozen-then-thawed. This will be achieved using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis techniques.

Contact information
17620759@sun.ac.za

Animal Science17-10Student: Karla Pretorius

Degree: MSc Food Science

Project title: The effects of hot-deboning on the physical meat quality, composition and microbial safety of ostrich (Struthio camelus) meat

Project description:
The ostrich industry in South Africa is currently using cold-deboning as method of choice for deboning ostrich meat. However, previous research on the influence of hot-deboning on the physical meat characteristics of ostrich meat, showed promising results that would enable the industry to save both energy and space.

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the differences between hot-deboning versus cold-deboning of ostrich (Struthio camelus) meat on a variety of muscles within the ostrich leg. In showing the difference of these two deboning methods, the aim is to confirm the potential saving of energy and space that is relevant to the South African ostrich industry. Additionally, establishing microbial safety along with acceptable physical ostrich meat quality and composition (subsequent to hot-deboning), are the ultimate goals.

Contact information
21513562@sun.ac.za

Marlien WebStudent: Marlien Prinsloo

Degree: MSc Meat Science

Project title: Pharmacokinetics, Residue kinetics and Safety of R-salbutamol in Sheep

Project description:
TBC

Contact information
marlien@animate.co.za

Student: Tenisha Roos

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project title: The effect of animal age and sex on meat quality characteristics of Blue wildebeest

Project Description: There are approximately 10 000 commercial wildlife ranches containing 2.5 million head of game predominantly driven by the high demand for dry and fresh meat products. In recent years, the consumer’s awareness of meat quality has increased, consequently a more demanding community developed. Studies have shown that meat quality is influenced by various factors including genetics, animal age, sex, nutrition, metabolic modifiers, pre-harvest stress and post-harvest conditions such as cooking of meat. The aim of the study is therefore to determine the ideal culling age of blue wildebeest to obtain optimum meat quality. The influence of sex on meat quality characteristics of blue wildebeest will also be quantified. At the completion of the study sound conclusions may possibly be made to describe the influence of age and sex on the various investigated parameters in the study. Accurate recommendation could also be made on the ideal culling age of blue wildebeest to obtain the optimum meat quality.

Contact information

16995597@sun.ac.za

Student: Bianca Silberbauer

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project title: Meat quality characteristics of Giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis)    

Project description:

Across most of Africa the giraffe numbers are dwindling but in South Africa and Namibia where they are being bred for hunting and tourism their populations are growing to such an extent that farmers must do annual culls in order to manage their numbers. At present all game meat is marketed simply as game meat with no distinction between species, however these species do all have different meat quality characteristics. If farmers can market the meat of culled giraffe and from those used for hunting they can greatly increase their profit. This project will therefore describe the meat quality characteristics of giraffe by using 16 giraffe, 8 male and 8 female, of 3-4 years of age, that will form part of a regular cull. The first aim of the trial will be to determine the meat production potential of giraffe by studying the carcass composition and physical and chemical characteristics, optimum aging time and sensory profile of the prime cuts. The carcass composition will be studied as the culled giraffe are eviscerated and will include warm carcass weight and cold carcass weight, dressing %, weights of individual organs and other components of the offal, meat, bone, and individual muscle weights as well as the meat: bone ratio. The physical analysis will include ultimate pH, temperature, colour (CIELab), drip loss %, cooking loss % and shear force of the longmissius thoracis et lumborum (LTL), semimembranosus (SM), biceps femoris (BF), semitendinosus (ST), gluteus medius (GM), supraspinatus (IS) and infraspinatus (SS) muscles. While the chemical analysis will investigate the composition in terms of moisture, protein, total lipids, ash, fatty acids and minerals of the LTL, SM, BF, ST, GM, IS and SS muscles. The LTL, BF and SM muscles will also be aged for 24 days with 10 time points where the physical characteristics will be tested in order to determine the aging time for the optimum tenderness of these vacuum packed muscles. A sensory trial will be carried out to assess the sensory profile of giraffe meat in terms of aroma, flavour, tenderness and juiciness. The second aim of the trial will be to analyse the fibre type composition of various muscles by an immuno-histochemical staining of slow and fast muscle fibre types and relate this to location and function as well as sensory characteristics of the meat. 

Contact information

18240461@sun.ac.za

craig-shepstoneStudent: Craig Shepstone

Degree: MSc Animal Nutrition

Project title: Comparative nutrition: Comparing two indigenous grazing species, namely the blue (Connochaetes taurinus) and black (Connochaetes gnou) wildebeest, to beef cattle.

Project description:
Blue and black wildebeest will be compared to beef cattle in terms of the similarities or differences that exist with regard to nutrient selection, feed degradation and nutrient absorption in the different portions of the GIT.

Contact information
20960980@sun.ac.za

Student: Paula Smit

Degree: MSc Food Science

Project title: Oxidative stability of Italian-type salami supplemented with Cyclopia subternata (honeybush) tea extract as natural antioxidant 

Project description: The addition of nitrate (NO3) and nitrite (NO2) in dry-cured and fermented meat products have been said to be irreplaceable. The active compound being nitrite, is truly multifunctional in products like the typical Italian salami: inhibiting the growth of unwanted bacteria, especially Clostridium botulinum, fixing the bright red colour of the product and contributing to a unique cured flavour. The possible formation of carcinogenic byproducts over time and when exposed to certain conditions, however make these preservatives a controversial topic. Many researchers have investigated the use of natural antioxidants in fresh and processed meat products. This study is aimed at the potential use of a native scrub from South Africa: Cyclopia subternata (Honeybush tea) as an alternative, natural antioxidant in salami.

Contact information

18376479@sun.ac.za

Animal Science17-19Student: Jan van As

Degree: MSc Food Science

Project title: Logistics around the meat supply chain in Kruger National Park: The Buffalo as model

Project description:
My study will investigate ways to sustainably take-off (cull) buffalo from KNP to achieve conservation consistency and offset costs incurred by communities living with wildlife, while at the same time trying to maximise revenues from sales of specific cuts of meat and value-added products (biltong, droëwors, patties, etc.) to cover operational costs. These findings will be achieved by maximising the quality prime cuts by means of optimising the quality and palatability of the meat through maturation and efficient field operations. The meat will then be physically (pH, weep loss, cooking loss and WBSF) and chemically (moisture, protein, fat, ash) analysed; with these results the supply chain can be modified to decrease operational cost, increase income and help subsidise NGO’s while still allowing sufficient stewing meat for meaningful engagements (school feeding schemes) with local school groups.

Contact information
17567785@sun.ac.za

 

Animal Science17-7Student: Johanet van der Merwe

Degree: MSc Animal Science

Project title: Evaluation of canola oil cake as alternative locally produced protein source for slaughter ostriches

Project description:
Feed costs contribute approximately 75% of the total input costs of an intensive ostrich production unit. An increase in the price of traditional protein sources, such as soybean oilcake meal, has forced producers to find cheaper alternatives to ensure the cost-efficient production of slaughter ostriches. Canola oilcake is a locally produced plant protein source that can be considered as a replacement for soybean oilcake in ostrich diets. There is, however, little literature available on the inclusion of canola in ostrich diets, and how dietary inclusion may affect the production and quality of the meat, skins and feathers, as well as various health aspects of the birds. Research that investigates the inclusion of this raw material in ostrich diets will assist nutritionists in the formulation of least-cost diets. The use of locally produced feed sources will eventually benefit both the local grain industry as well as the ostrich industry, and will make the country less dependent on imports, which will stimulate the country’s economy. South Africa is the largest producer of ostrich products in the world, supplying 75% of ostrich products globally, although relative to other livestock production in the country the ostrich industry is small. This provides the opportunity to investigate possible solutions that will contribute to the development and growth of the ostrich industry and allow it to be even more dominant globally. Therefore, the potential of locally produced canola oilcake to replace expensive imported protein sources such as soybean oil cake meal in ostrich diets will be determined.

Contact information
17111374@sun.ac.za

Student:  Mauritz Viljoen

Degree: MSc

Project Title: Determining production characteristics of dusky kob, Argyrosomus japonicus, grown in sea cages under commercial conditions in Richards Bay, South Africa

Project description: With aquaculture in South Africa being in its infancy there are many questions regarding the production characteristics of potential candidate aquaculture species. The project assessed the technical, environmental and financial feasibility of farming dusky kob (Argyrosomus japonicus) in sea cages in Richards Bay, KwaZulu Natal.

Contact details:
14199726@sun.ac.za

Student: Daphne Wabule

Degree: MSc Meat Science

Project title: Effects of skin on vs. skin off ageing on the meat quality of Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialisLongissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL)

Project description:

The project is aimed at determining the difference in meat quality between springbok that have been aged with their skin on and those aged with their skin off. This will be done by testing physical parameters, chemical parameters, the sensory profile as well as the fatty acid profile.  

Contact information
18188257@sun.ac.za