Microbiology And BioTechnology

UIRI’s Microbiology Laboratory is a traditional unit that was established to assist in Product Development and the provision of microbiological analytical services. As such, it is designed to ensure in-built quality in the products and processes, and to demonstrate compliance to national and international quality requirements and standards. The section also provides analytical services to industry for similar reasons.
In all the Research and Development activities carried out, UIRI works closely with the community or potential entrepreneurs in applying experimental research to create new knowledge and use development techniques such as meetings, workshops, tours for technology evaluation, and demonstration, and participatory research methods including ranking, landscaping, village walks to identify resources, and rapid rural appraisal.

Microbiological Analytical services

The laboratory has capacity and competence to carry out the following tests:

  • Total Plate Count
  • Yeast and moulds
  • Total coliforms
  • Escherichia coli
  • Salmonella species

Tests are carried out on food, water, beverages, and pharmaceuticals, as required by clients who are usually food processors, exporters, and the pharmaceutical industry.

UIRI is in the process of preparing for SANAS accreditation and certification by Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) as required by law. This will position the laboratory as a competent unit to support industry for processing high quality export products.

Repositioning as a Center for Microbial Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering. Recently the Microbiology Laboratory started on a journey of taking on a processing approach by developing and deploying technologies required for processing biological materials for commercial purpose. This would help position it as a Center for Microbial Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering.

Microbiology Laboratory current Research and Development activities include:

Developing technology for use of fungal enzymes in cassava processing. So far they have developed a formula for the substrate to be used in enzyme processing and a bioreactor has been fabricated and is being tested. Acquiring fungal inoculums of Rhizopus oligosporus for the processing of soybeans into tempeh. Acquring fungal inoculums of Rhizopus oligosporus for the processing of Aspergilus niger for the processing of soy sauce.
Developing a formula for moisturizing body lotions and shampoo using shea butter and other natural herbal extracts. Working with small scale processors to commercialize products such as cosmetics from shea butter and tempeh (fermented soy bean). Agency collaboration

Different Agencies have supported UIRI’s listed R&D programs in the following fields

An innovations award through Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) to carry out research on cassava detoxifying enzymes. Information was generated regarding efficacy of enzyme use in cassava processing. The funding to carry out a participatory research entitled. An Alternative Technology Approach to Food Security; A Case of Using Enzymes in the detoxification of cassava through the Network of Researchers and Research Users (NURRU). This research provided a platform of cooperation for farmers in Tororo District to test the efficacy of biotechnology in a rural context.