Establishing crystallography and nanotechnology in Kenya
Gitari, Patricia W
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The competitive edge of any developing nation lies heavily in its investment in technology. With the enactment of Science, Technolog y and Innovation Act 2012, the Government of Kenya has committed to a substantial increase in funding of science, technology, innovation with the intention of industrialising the country in line with Kenya Vision 2030. The Kenya Vision 2030 is the country’s current strategy in development which covers the period 2008 to 2030. In this regard, a nanotechnology policy has been developed for the purpose of promoting frameworks for the safe exploitation of nanotechnology. With regard to crystallography, academic i nstitutions currently rely on private research centres or collaboration with overseas research groups. The successful determination of the structure of a xanthone was possible through collaboration with an European research group. As part of on - going progr am in search for new bioactive natural compounds from Eastern African plants of the Asphodelaceae family, two new natural products and six known compounds were isolated.  Based on HR - EIMS, UV - VIS and NMR spectroscopic evidence the compound was characteri zed as 8 - hydroxy - 6 - methylxanthone - 1 - carboxylic acid ( Fig. 1 ). Fig 1. 8 - hydroxy - 6 - methylxanthone - 1 - carboxylic acid This is the first report on the occurrence of this compound in nature having previously been reported as a synt hetic intermediate.  The structure of the compound was used as a reference to propose the revision of the structures of six seco - anthraquinones into xanthones. Finally, to address the challenges encountered in scientific research, East Africa needs to develop the basic infrastructure, training and knowledge bases that can act as a spring board to propel the new revolution in application and utilization of nanotec hnology and crystallography.