Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa
Achilonu has specialization in Organic Chemistry Synthesis with passion in phytochemical extraction, isolation, and compound modification to improve the bioactivity of the isolated phytochemical. He has synthesised some novel products that are patented (US 8, 501, 970 B2 and US 9,296,717 B2) and a major contributor to the third patent (US 9 181 293 B2). His current research interest is to bring bioactive phytocompounds to bear to health. Hence, he is investigating the modulatory effects of bioactive phytochemicals on animals fed rations fortified with medicinal plant materials, intending to improve the reproductive systems, general wellbeing of the livestock as well as the quality of the animal products. Dr Achilonu is also working on extraction, isolation and characterization of phytochemicals from wild plants, with interest of converting the bioactive fractions to nutritive products for humans and livestock.
Indigenous fruits complements the diet of many rural poor households; providing therapeutic needs, vital nutrients and food security as well. The multipurpose indigenous plants are being threatened by both depletion and wastage of the fruits in the wild, hence the need to identify ways of utilizing all parts of the plant for better nutritional and medicinal benefits. Some of the selected South African local wild plants (Annona senegalensis, Carissa macrocarpa, Vangueria infausta, Englerophytum magalismontanum) are widely distributed within the coastal region and commonly consumed by the rural populace. Most parts of the plants (root, stem, leaves and fruits) are used by the local communities to treat several ailments. The stem-barks are used as anthelmintic, treatment of diarrhea, toothache and respiratory infections. The leaves treats pneumonia. The roots treats stomach-ache, venereal diseases, chest colds and dizziness. The ripe fruits are palatable and made into various local food types, while some of the unripe fruits are used traditionally in treating chicken pox. Studies have established that the plants’ phytochemical extracts exhibit anti-oxidant, antimicrobial, antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anticonvulsant, antimalarial, and anti-snake venom properties, which positively impact on appetite, growth and the immune status of the consumers. The bioactive components of the plant parts accessed by bioassay directed chromatographic fractionation, toxicological analysis and nutritional evaluation is done on the fractions. The bioactive fractions are used to enrich different fruit products to afford the required fruit supplements. The products are purported to be self-preserving, have improved therapeutic/nutritional qualities, contributes to solving the problem of micronutrient deficiencies: mitigate malnutrition, prevent and/or ameliorate the impacts of diet-related and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetics, cancer, and their associated effects on age and memory decline.