|Lucia Makgafele Ntsoane, a D Tech student in Agriculture at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Crop Sciences, received the Department of Science and Technology (DST) South African Women in Science (WISA) Doctoral Fellowship 2016 Award. The event themed Women Empowerment took place in Sandton on 11 August 2016.|
Ntsoane, who is specialising in Postharvest Technology, completed her M Tech in Agriculture cum laude at TUT. The WISA awards recognise the achievements of women and are linked to sustainable development. She also received a DAAD-NRF joint in-country scholarship for doctoral studies in 2016. In congratulating the finalists and winners, Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, said: “The Women in Science awards is a special event this year as we celebrate 60th anniversary of Women’s March of 1956. It is the celebration of the achievements of Women in Science and the reminder that we will not realise full scientific potential of our country until all our young scientists have full access to education and best facilities.” Furthermore, the WISA finalists and winners will be invited to conduct interviews and mentor young girls together with the DST for the whole year. Ntsoane’s research is conducted under NRF/DST Phytochemicals food network and focuses on the use of coloured shade nets (to modify light) and LED lights to improve lettuce postharvest crop quality, mainly in summer conditions. “The strategies used in my research will contribute to overcome climate change and post-harvest losses challenges in South Africa. I believe that the results of my research will provide information towards a pre-harvest tool that will improve the accumulation of phytochemical content (nutritional quality), shelf-life and overall quality of the lettuces produced, which is linked to stress related and browning enzymes of fresh-cut lettce after postharvest storage,” said Ntsoane.