Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa comes of age
The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (S.R.O.S.) is not in the business of tooting their own horns but the Organisation’s silent achievements over the years deserves public recognition.
Almost 12 years on when S.R.O.S. was born, the organisation has come of age as evidenced by its accomplishments.
Today, the 60 staff members including Samoan Scientists are manning the eight labs each designated with their own respective mandates.
There is the Food Science and Technology Division specialising in the development of appropriate technologies to advance commercial prospects in local food production.
The Environment and Renewable Energy Division is the implementing body to research appropriate locally available renewable energy sources suitable for road transportation and electricity generation.
To develop technologies to support fresh agricultural exports and utilise Samoan natural products for added value export commodities is dedicated to the Plant and Postharvest Technologies Division.
While the technical Services Division is offering a range of chemical, microbiological, physical analyses to the private sector and government.
Over the years, S.R.O.S. has successfully developed formulas from Samoa’s Avoka Margarine to Breadfruit gluten free flour, Frozen taro and other agricultural crops for export and a whole lot more.
This does not include a new line of liquors using agricultural crops such as taro, sugar cane and Polynesian Plum (vi) as main ingredients. The new line of Samoa Made liquors targeting Duty Free Shops at international airports will be launched in a matter of weeks.
And of course, the diesel fuel generated from local coconut oil.
But at S.R.O.S it’s more than added value, says Chief Executive Officer, Seuseu Dr. Joseph Tauati.
“Scientifically, S.R.O.S. is regionally and international certified for testing and we are regularly under the microscope by our New Zealand counterparts annually,” he said.
“The response from the local business community, even members of the public as well as overseas is a bit overwhelming.”
But the modest Dr. Tauati is at crossroads.
His access to limited financial resources is detaining S.R.O.S. from realising the Government’s agenda for the organisation to commercialise the food technologies and formulas successfully developed by the organisation target export and also as import substitute.
“We are not giving up in seeking partnerships with the private sector to commercialise our products,” he said.
“At the same time, motions are in place for S.R.O.S. to go at it alone which means that we may need to set up a Commercial Arm to deal with marketing and sales.
“And not to mention, the supply of local agricultural crops as raw materials to sustain the markets. “S.R.O.S’s initiative is part and parcel of mandate as the principal and implementing agency to carry out scientific and technical research for the Government and to develop new technologies and products to benefit Samoa’s local industries, Government ministries, corporations, agencies and communities and in turn the national economy.
“But despite the hick-ups, S.R.O.S. is not giving up and continues to explore all options available to realise our targets.”
The Government of Samoa invested $6m since 2006 to develop specialized scientific research facilities on a 20 acre land at Nafanua to establish a first national scientific research organization in Samoa. As a result, The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa housed state of the art facilities to conduct scientific research into food production and energy sources that are renewable – the two global issues confronting the world at the moment.
The Organisation has specialized laboratories for research into bio-fuels (bio-ethanol and bio-diesel), new product development, sensory evaluation, post-harvest horticulture, food microbiology, shelf-life testing and food quality factors, all equipped with the necessary equipment.
The list of analytical instrument available in research laboratories includes High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Gas Liquid Chromatography (GLC), Gas Chromatography (GC), Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), UV/VIS Spectrophotometer, Kjeldahl Automation System, Relative Humidity (RH) Cabinet, Temperature Control Storage Rooms, Water Activity (Aw ) meter, Minolta colour meter, pH meters, analytical balances, incubators, hot air ovens, Soxhlet, autoclave, muffle furnace and Rota Vapors.
IT Servers and Power Stabilizers
The Organisation is in charge of its own IT laboratory that houses two servers to provide; internet search aids, emails for the staff and electronic file storage. Access to online scientific journals will also be available to staff in the not too distant future. Three (3) power stabilizers are installed to clean the electricity from the main supply before distributing to all buildings in the compound to protect the equipment from power surge and sudden power failures.
P.O. Box 6597, Nafanua, Apia, SAMOA
Ph; (0685) 20644 Fax; (0685) 27769
Email; [email protected]