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Inadequate Laboratory Equipment Limiting Technological Breakthroughs in Nigeria -FUTA DON

A professor of Analytical Chemistry and Instrumentation has stated that Nigeria has lagged behind in technological breakthroughs due to the tedium experienced in laboratories as a result of lack of innovative lab wares that are safe and convenient to use in laboratories. Professor Christina Adeeyinwo stated this while delivering her valedictory lecture titled, “Automaton in The Laboratory: Popularity or Magic” at the Federal University of Technology Akure on 9th November 2021. The don said it was pertinent to address, as a matter of urgency, the challenges of apparatus and instrument limitations in Chemical Laboratories in order to improve the quality of teaching and research in chemical instrumentation in Nigeria.

Apart from making the lab wares available, Professor Adeeyinwo recommended that technological scientist from senior secondary to tertiary levels should be given face to face hands on training in design and innovative lab wares to use as it is needed in their profession. To this end she said tertiary institutions should be equipped with glass blowing units to serve the fabrication and repairs of glass wares; plastic molding units to serve the fabrication of plastic wares and metal machining units to serve the fabrication and repairs of metal wares. The don pointed out that almost thirty different varieties of plastics and premium resin, inherently not readily breakable, which are chemically resistant and extremely pure and low in metal contents provide safer and more efficient apparatuses for industrial use.

She said laboratory automation is the answer to drudgery in the laboratory and the key to churning out accurate results that will fast track research and innovations. According to her it is the deployment of mechanics, electronics, and computer software to improve and facilitate manual operation, hence minimizing tedium in routine analysis. Adeeyinwo said Automation or automatic techniques are designed according to IUPAC to replace, extend or supplement human effort and facilities in the execution of a procedure. She said analytical automation dates back to 1950 and 1960. According to her automation is necessary for accuracy of results and to minimize errors.

Highlighting the importance of chemistry to industrial development she said the procedural method development and preparative procedures in Analytical Chemistry have resulted in value additions to industrial products. These industries include glass, cashew, oil palm, cocoa, coconut and butcher bones used to produce laboratory chemical reagents.

Adeeyinwo stated that her research expertise in Analytical Chemistry with Chemical Instrumentation was flow injection- Analytical techniques, Atomic Absorption and UV/Visible Spectrometry. She said the apparatuses designed and fabricated include dilution manifold for Normal Calibrations in Spectrometry; precipitation manifold for interference removal in Spectrometry; circulatory manifold for finite and infinite dilutions in Spectrometry; optical filter for absorbance measurement as well as crucible furnace for high temperature reactions.

In his capacity as chairman, the Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Fuwape said “Professor Adeeyinwo served as the head of department of Chemistry from1996 to 1998. Her research interest with experiential skills was conducted in International and national institutions. Her teaching experience was within three tertiary institutions: University of Technology, Loughborough, England, The Polytechnic Ibadan, Nigeria, and The Federal University of Technology Akure”.

He said her research in method development for the determination of major, minor and trace components of real samples scover glass, cement phosphate rock, bitumen, lube oil, drinking water, river water, spring, photographic rinse, Case hardening bath and plant oils has contributed significantly to the development of body of knowledge in her area of specialization.

Professor Fuwape described Adeeyinwo as a cerebral scholar who provided academic leadership to the university community during her long sojourn in the academia.