Dr Kowiyou Yessoufou co-authored two research papers that were published in scientific journals, Botany Letters and PLOS ONE at the beginning of 2017.
The first paper, “Ethnobotany at a local scale: diversity of knowledge of medicinal plants and assessment of plant cultural importance in the Polokwane local municipality, South Africa” appeared on Botany Letters in January where the researchers said that unravelling the pattern of traditional plant usages in a society is necessary to inform interventions for biodiversity conservation.
They documented 50 medicinal plant species in 35 botanical families with Fabaceae and Celastraceae containing more medicinal species than any other family. Traditional healers, in the study, showed a wider range of medicinal knowledge than any other informants, but this knowledge was not contingent upon informant status, gender, ethnic group, age category or residence time of the informant in the study area. There was no strong evidence supporting our expectation that culturally important plants are phylogenetically closely related, and as a result, the researchers call for further studies at a broader scale.
The second study appeared in PLOS ONE following an examination of the effectiveness of the standard plant DNA barcode markers for the identification of horticultural plant species in private and public nurseries in northern Egypt. Dr Yessoufou said the study was interesting because the global DNA barcode campaign is still dragging its feet behind in Africa, particularly in the northern Africa, and the success rate of specimen identification that they found confirms that DNA barcodes can be used to speed up the control of counterfeited ornamental and fruit plants in Egypt.
Dr Yessoufou is an enthusiastic ecologist, NRF Y1-rated scientist and senior lecturer at UJ’s Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies who enjoys answering complex scientific questions through research