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JICA contributes to the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) research.

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The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has again contributed to SROS by supplying stevia seeds for their research trials. The stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) plant is native to South American countries which have similar climatic conditions as Samoa.

With these common climatic conditions, SROS anticipates that the stevia plant can grow well in Samoa.

Stevia is a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana. The active compounds are steviol glycosides which have up to more than 100 times the sweetness of the sugar. The compounds are heat and pH stable and most importantly not fermentable. The body does not metabolize the glycosides in stevia and therefore it contains 0 calories like some artificial sweeteners. Therefore it is a potential alternative sweetener for those who suffer diabetes, one of the metabolic diseases that affect high percentage of the Samoa population.

 

SROS has started one of its researches to determine the chemical and biological properties of plants found in the lovely islands of Samoa that are traditionally used for medicinal purposes. SROS team of scientists hope the research will elucidate science behind the tradition, and help its people harness the full potential of their long held natural health practices.

One of the objectives of the SROS medicinal plant research project is to identify plants with potential compounds that directly or indirectly impact on alleviating metabolic diseases such as diabetes. JICA through technical expert, Professor Kenji Sakamoto was instrumental in establishing this research.

JICA assures that they will continue to collaborate and assist SROS in every possible ways, to ensure their researches and developments will add more values to the lives of the people of Samoa and contribute to Samoa economy.