My name is Dèdéou Apocalypse Tchokponhoué. I am a PhD student under the Mobreed Program. I am from the Republic of Benin and I am currently taking my scholarship in South Africa and more precisely at the university of Kwazulu Natal. I applied to this scholarship two years ago and have been very fortunate to be selected. I am investigating on Synsepalum Dulcificum, also known as the miracle berry. It is a shrub species from the sapotacee family which produces green fruits that turn to red once they are riped. My team and I are excited to investigate on this species mainly because it produces fruits that have a sweeting property as well as numerous applications. First of all, the fruit is consumed as a substitute to a synthetic sugar. This means that it can be used to replace sugar. This contribute to reducing the prevalence of diabete in our country. In terms of modern application, the species is used in food and beverage industries. It is also used in the production of drugs that are used to treat diabetes and certain cancers. Today, the miracle fruit has a big market. For instance, the Kg of it’s powder can cost up to 3000 US dollars. Basically within the condusive environment provided by the MoBreed Scholarship, I am able to tackle many new aspects and my research is creating an impact on the following :
- stimulating the cultivation in the species for improved utilization by local population
- increasing the economic return of the species by releasing early fruiting, high fruit and pulp yielding material.