Bioprospecting, legislation and research at universities in South Africa

  • J.L. Du Plessis Skool vir Fisiologie, Voeding- en Verbruikerswetenskappe, Noordwes-Universiteit, Privaat sak X6001, Potchefstroom 2520


South Africa is particularly rich in biodiversity. This biodiversity may be utilised and has commercial potential. Bioprospecting is the systematic evaluation of biodiversity by making use of advanced technologies in search of and development of commercially, valuable new products. The international Convention on Biodiversity and the national Biodiversity Act accentuate the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and set certain prerequisites for bioprospecting and the research concerned with it. Research with indigenous biological resources is also affected by this legislation. Almost every university in South Africa is involved in bioprospecting projects and/or research with indigenous biological resources. A short overview of the origin of the Biodiversity Act is given. Research management and researchers are hereby informed of the current legal implications of the Biodiversity Act on research at universities.
Original Research