Special Issue in honour of Prof. Johannes van Staden - A view of South African traditional medicine through the lens of its medicinal plants
• 大类 : 生物 - 4区
• 小类 : 植物科学 - 4区
South African Journal of Botany (SAJB) is pleased to announce the publication of a special issue commemorating the 80thbirthday of its editor-in-chief Prof. Johannes van Staden. It is indeed an auspicious occasion to honour a stalwart of South African science, research and academia. Prof. van Staden remains the director of the internationally-recognized Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development (RCPGD) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he has been the leading researcher for several decades now. In principle a plant physiologist, his research interests span several fields including phytochemistry, pharmacology, biotechnology and molecular biology. His prolific publication record of over 1300 articles in ISI-rated journals has seen Prof. van Staden being recognized internationally amongst the top 0.5% of most cited authors. Many of the nearly three hundred masters, doctoral and post-doctoral students who have passed through the centre and now occupy positions in facilities around the world can attest to the inspiring education and training they have received under his tutelage. Accompanying these achievements has been Prof. van Staden’s dedicated and enduring association with SAJB of which he has been editor-in-chief since 1987. Against this backdrop and in celebration of his accomplishments SAJB will host the special issue in Prof. van Staden’s anniversary year with a particular focus on South African medicinal plants.
With close on to thirty thousand individual plant taxa, South Africa is recognized for its floral diversity. In particular, the Cape Floristic Region which is one of the six recognized floral kingdoms of the world is known for its extraordinarily high diversity and endemism. South Africa is also known for its cultural vibrance as encapsulated by its eleven official languages. Traditional medicine (TM) remains a steadfast cultural theme amongst all of its indigenous inhabitants. Conservative estimates put the number of plants exploited in South African TM at around three thousand. These have in several instances served as the gateway to significant successes being realized in both the commercial and pharmaceutical areas, such as ‘Hoodia’ (Hoodia gordonii) and ‘Rooibos’ (Aspalathus linearis). Accordingly, ethnobotany has progressed to be a popular theme in South African science today with study programmes on the topic on offer at most of its tertiary institutions. This special issue wishes to draw on these advances to showcase the status of South African TM research as well as to highlight future directions in order to build upon and perpetuate these successes. The areas that will be considered but not restricted to include:
Ethnobotany: Here studies should detail the ethnic usage of plants by the various population groups of South Africa. Validation studies would be interesting in terms of corroborating the traditional usage of plants. Community surveys could also be appealing as an update of the depth and prevalence of usage of South Africa’s medicinal flora. Such surveys could include (amongst others) plants exploited, plant parts used, preparation methods, location of use, purpose for usage, survey documentation.
Phytochemistry: Isolation, characterization and structure elucidation of constituents from South African medicinal plants. Novel techniques/approaches to the isolation and characterization of these secondary metabolites are of particular interest. Phytochemical analyses based on the quantification and variability of these entities in medicinal plants are also attractive. Hyphenated techniques such as GC-MS, LC-MS and UHP-LC would be useful to explore such avenues of study.
Pharmacology: Studies which aim to validate the ethnic usage of these plants via pharmacological means are welcome. Areas of interest here include (but are not restricted to); cancer, infectious diseases (antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic), motor-neuron diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, MS); HIV/AIDS, nutritional diseases, diabetes and inflammation.
Toxicology: Studies which focus on the safety of medicinal plants, herbal products and TM preparations will be highly recommended. These could involve chemical and biological analyses as well as cell-based assays to probe the efficacy and safety of plants or TM concoctions. These should be carried out with the purpose of demonstrating that TMs do serve a crucial role and that they can be implemented in mainstream healthcare structures.
Biotechnology: A significant number of medicinal plants have poor conservation statuses in the wild due to over exploitation, habitat loss and unscrupulous collection methods. The identification of methods and technologies to ease the burden of demand is thus viewed as critical to the sustainability of these dwindling resources. This area will provide an avenue for researchers to demonstrate the feasibility of micropropagational techniques to improve the productivity and proliferation of medicinal plants. Findings which also demonstrate the enhancement of secondary metabolite constitution will also be entertained.
Plant growth and development: In this target area researchers are exhorted to demonstrate the efficacy of emerging technologies such as smoke, vermicompost and other biostimulants to facilitate germination, growth and development of South African medicinal plants. Nonetheless, the use of conventional plant growth regulators such as auxins, cytokinins and IAAs are also encouraged.