Inaugural Conference for the Southern and Eastern Africa Network
of Analytical Chemists (SEANAC), Gaborone, Botswana, 7-10 July 2003
link to conference calendar
The inaugural conference for the Southern and Eastern Africa Network
of Analytical Chemists (SEANAC) was held at the Gaborone Sun Hotel,
in Gaborone, Botswana, from 7-10 July 2003. The theme of SEANACs
inaugural conference was networking for regional prosperity,
and at least 20 different countries from within Africa were represented
as well as North America, Europe, and the Middle East. This conference
followed preconference workshops that were held at the University of
Botswana. Dr. Ron Majors of Agilent Technologies, USA, gave a workshop
on solid-phase extraction sample preparation; Dr. Gaspar Mhinzi of the
University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, gave a workshop on chemometrics;
Prof. James Holcombe of the University of Texas at Houston, USA, gave
a workshop on presenting and publishing scientific data; and Prof.Omowunmi
Sadik of the University of New York at Binghamton, USA, gave a workshop
The plenary lectures on the first day were given by Profs. Sadik, Lo
Gorton (Sweden), Damià Barcelo (Spain), and Dr.Roland Schnurpfeil
(Germany). Prof. Sadik gave an excellent talk on the trends and challenges
in biochemical sensors for chemical and environmental monitoring. Of
relevance to Africa was the highlighted promise shown by biosensors
for rapid diagnosis of HIV as an alternative to ELISA. Prof. Barceló
discussed the integration of chemical analysis and the effects of studies
of carp and yeast on endocrine disruptors in sewage treatment plants
receiving waters and sediments. In his plenary lecture, Prof. Gorton
outlined the fundamental and applied aspects of enzyme-based amperometric
biosensors, and Dr. Schnurpfeil gave an interesting account of the Proteineer,
the integrated mass spectrometry-based proteomics suite that facilitates
the acquisition of information from various samples.
The first plenary lecture on the second day was by Prof. Gyorgy Marko-Varga
(Sweden). From his talk, Proteomics in disease: Role for analytical
chemists, Prof. Marko-Varga clearly showed that there are opportunities
in biology where analytical chemistry can help answer some vital questions.
Profs. Roger Smith (UK) and Douglas Rawlings (South Africa) gave the
other two plenary lectures. Prof. Smith spoke about the EU CRM, column
and interlaboratory studies and problems of accurate method transferability
in high-performance liquid chromatography. Prof. Rawlingss plenary
lecture, The mobility-assisted dissolution of minerals and its
use in the mining industry, was informative and gave analytical
chemists a different perspective by showing the chemistry of microorganisms
that have varying degrees of selectivity for different metals ions.
The last two plenary lectures were by Prof. S.B. Jonnalagadda (South
Africa), who spoke about the scope and potential of seawater in treatment
of sewage waters, and representatives of the International Organization
for Chemical Sciences in Development, Drs. Walter Benson and Albert
Poland, who talked about African analytical chemistry trainers.
The plenary lectures on the third day were by Profs. Jorge Gardea Torresdey
(USA), Luc Nagels (Belgium), Robert McCrindle (South Africa), and Geoffrey
Kamau (Kenya). Prof. Gardea-Torresdey gave a very interesting lecture
on phytoremediation technologies for the removal of toxic heavy metal
ions from contaminated waters and soil. Prof. Nagels posed several questions
in his address Potentiometric detection for HPLC is a reality:
Which classes of ionic organic substances are the targets? Prof.
McCrindle discussed the speciation of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) in cement by
atomic absorption spectroscopy. Prof. Geoffrey Kamau gave a lecture
entitled Myoglobin as a potential catalyst for the decomposition
of persistent organohalide pollutants: Selective control and rate enhancement.
Dr. Ron Majors (USA) concluded the plenary session with his lecture
entitled New directions in HPLC column technology for rapid, efficient,
and selective separations.
On the last day of the conference,plenary lectures were given by Profs.
Erno Lindner (USA), James A. Holcombe (USA), Malin Akerblom, Henrik
Kylin, and Dr.Ghirma Moges (Netherlands). Prof. Lindner focused on the
small devices that deliver for analytical chemistry in his talk about
micro-fabricated electrochemical sensors and their application in bedside
analysis and home care diagnostics. Prof. Holcombes lecture addressed
the area of trace metal analysis and development of a novel means of
metal remediation in the environment using immobilized biopolymers.
Dr. Moges addressed a very hot issue in health that has been the focus
of 10 years of research in universities spanning Africa and Europe.
His talk was appropriately entitled Glutamate oxidase advances:
The selective bioanalytical detection of the neurotoxic amino acid b-ODAP
in grass pea: A decade of progress. Profs. Malin Akerblom and
Henrik Kylin provided a platform for some debate with their presentation
on low-technology methods for pesticide residue analysis. Dr. John Makhubalo
from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
concluded the plenary session by giving the conference delegates an
overview of the activities and opportunities within OPCW.
Despite the fact that the conference venue had to be changed two weeks
before the conference due to U.S. President Bushs visit to Botswana,
the proceedings were without any problems. The 150 conference delegates
had the opportunity to listen to 115 lectures that included 18 keynote
lectures as well as 50 poster presentations. Indeed, the inaugural conference
succeeded in meeting its objectives.
The next SEANAC conference will be held in July 2006 in Gaborone, Botswana.
Further information about the conference as well as the SEANAC activities
are available at <http://www.seanac.org>, which is the gateway
to analytical chemistry in Africa.
SEANAC Inaugural Conference Chairman
International Advisory Committee: B. Abegaz (Botswana);
R. Majinda (Botswana); T. Wondimu (Ethiopia); G. Kamau (Kenya); R.C.
da Maia (Mozambique); K. Schroder (Norway); Y. Thomassen (Norway); T.
Nyokong (South Africa); D. Barcelo (Spain); L.Gorton (Sweden); K. Markides
(Sweden), B. Danielsson (Sweden); M. Akerblom (Sweden); G. Mhinzi (Tanzania);
G. Moges (Netherlands); S. Nyanzi (Uganda); P. Fielden (UK); P. Kissinger
(USA); J. Holcombe (USA);R. Majors (USA); S. Dube (Zimbabwe).