The love of good food spurred Beverly Mampholo on a journey
to discover exactly what quantity of nitrogen fertilisers should
be used when growing lettuce in South Africa.
Mampholo, 31, is currently doing her doctoral studies at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria. She is conducting a three-year research study on
“The effects of nitrogen fertiliser on lettuce looking at the quality of lettuce during post-harvest storage.”
Mampholo, who grew up in Ga-Masemola in Limpopo, explains that because she loves good food; and more importantly vegetables,
she wants to advise farmers how much nitrogen fertiliser should be used when growing lettuce,
to curb health risks associated with nitrogen. The chemical nitrogen is found in most fertilisers used by farmers across the country.
Enjoying the health benefi ts of lettuce “I chose lettuce because leafy vegetables and vegetables in general have major health benefi ts.
Everybody is encouraged to eat vegetables because of their nutritional value. “Lettuce is also one of the freshest and most economical vegetables. It is always ready to eat.
Also, the South African Medical Research Council recommends that those who are obese eat lettuce because it’s low in calories,” says Mampholo.
She describes herself as a post-harvest specialist – someone who specialises in the shelf life of agricultural products once they have been harvested. Mampholo adds that she chose agricultural research because it makes a difference in the lives of so many people.
“We have huge challenges in this field because we are very few, especially in post-harvest technology, which is a scarce skill in South Africa.
We have the capabilities to produce food but taking care of them is a challenge and we are losing a lot of money.
This skill can help food producers and the economy to minimise food losses.”
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