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Grantees Profile

Christian Isalomboto

Country (Nationality)

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Grantee Title

Project: Antimicrobial biogenic nanocomposite formulations from banana and plantain
plants (Musa spp.)

Grantee Description

Research area:

Nanotechnology, Formulation and Medicinal Chemistry

Host Organisation & country:

University of Kinshasa, D.R. Congo


Bananas and plantain are one of the most important staple foods worldwide, and their plantations are essentially based in tropical areas and rainforests throughout Africa, thus playing a crucial role in food security as an important component of the local diet in many countries. Being perennial plants that replace themselves, banana and plantain plants generate huge waste biomass that is currently explored as fertilizers and animal feeds to avoid harmful ecological effects.

Dr Nkanga’s research sets out to exploit banana and plantain waste as valuable sources of medically relevant chemical products. The project aims to use and implement green nanoengineering tools to transform bananas waste into new products that can effectively kill microbes for sanitization of surfaces and wound/burn healing.

Grantee Description

Dr Christian I. Nkanga is a SACI Postgraduate Medal awardee (2017), Novartis Next Generation Scientist (2018), DST/NRF Innovation awardee (2017, 2020), BEBUC scholar (2015-2019) and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy at University of Kinshasa, D.R. Congo.

He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Rhodes University (South Africa) in 2019, and his doctoral research focused on nanoparticles for antimicrobial drug delivery – thesis titled: “pH-Responsive Liposomal Systems for Site-Specific Pulmonary Delivery of Anti-Tubercular Drugs”. In 2020, Dr Nkanga undertook postdoctoral research in the Department of Nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego (USA), where he worked on plant virus nanotechnology for development of biomedical nanoparticles as COVID-19 vaccines and nanomedicines against cancers.

Dr Nkanga’s sight is to explore the African natural wealth to seek for and implement new materials that can be used to make high-value nanoparticles for medical applications. He aims to advance nanotechnology in Africa, train young African minds in nanoscience, and conduct cutting-edge and translational research and product development to improve human health and simultaneously prepare Africa to become one of the leading continents for nanomedicines raw materials supply.

Project: Antimicrobial biogenic nanocomposite formulations from banana and plantain plants (Musa spp.)

The project objective is to formulate biogenic nanoparticles (NPs) from Musa plants waste into micelles made from extracted plant metabolites for enhanced antimicrobial activities, tackling broad spectrum microbes, microbial resistance and fighting disease spreads. Biogenic synthesis from plants has already been established, but what the scientific community has not yet capitalized upon is the fact that naturally occurring self-assemblies can entrap biogenic nanoparticles to yield composite formulations. This composite will be easily formulated as disinfectant/antiseptic topical dosage forms; and for dermatological applications (e.g., wound healing). In addition, the project aims to elucidate and exploit the molecular composition of biogenic nanoparticles and implement nanoengineering processing as a bioprospecting approach for green discovery of new naturally occurring drugs and important biomolecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates that could be explored for various applications from across drug delivery, dietetics to textile industry.