A research and testing facility under the Food Science Research Centre located in Chilanga at the Animal Science Research Centre of NISIR. The mycotoxicology laboratory conducts research in mycotoxins and also provides analytical testing services to industry when need arises.

Mycotoxigenic fungi significantly effect the production, safety and trade of agricultural crops in Africa, Zambia inclusive. The fungi affect crops in the field and during storage which produce chemical poisons known as mycotoxins. Aflatoxin for example - the most potent and most feared mycotoxin - can lead to acute exposure poisoning resulting in liver damage and even death if you ingest it in elevated levels. More than 40% of maize in Zambia, for example, has shown contamination with fumonisin-B1 - a class 2 potential carcinogen - with levels above that prescribed for public health by scientific advisory expert groups like the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Under poor storage conditions of agricultural commodities, aflatoxin will build up to dangerously high levels capable of causing deleterious acute toxicity. Generally, mycotoxins affect health and have a negative impact on your livestock's productivity. In trade, mycotoxin contamination costs Africa more than $670 million trade loses due to agricultural produce rejections and Zambia is not spared from the post-harvest loss. This is due to strict regulations for maximum allowable limits for mycotoxins in food and feed that the USA and EU have implemented.

"Technical personnel extracting fumonisins and aflatoxins prior to instrumental liquid chromatography analysis" Sample extraction room Click here for the full article


The National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) has made a place for itself as the premier research institute nationally, regionally and internationally. I am glad to be a part of this important organization at a time when Zambia is emphasizing the importance of science, technology and innovation to the economic development of our country. Scientific research, technology development and innovations are getting strong support from, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia .

We are in the process of reviewing our past achievements and preparing for our future with plans to create several specialized centres of excellence and link our research products to technology developers and users. In formulating our research agenda and defining our priorities, we will look more closely at our national needs and ways to address them. The process of change will cover the ways we operate, as well as our organizational structure and the areas of focus.

NISIR has created a strong knowledge base with regard to its research programs in Food safety and Nutrition, Biotechnology, Water and Environment, and Nuclear Energy Application. In order to achieve its aspirations, NISIR will endeavour to improve its Information and , optimize available resources and take advantage of every opportunity to achieve its goals through the effective utilization of Information Communication Technology (ICT) .
I wish you an enjoyable reading and hope that you will find the material fruitful and a window for NISIR research

Henry Njapau PHd

Acting Director


    Our Goal

    "To be a centre of excellence i scientific, technological and industrial research in Zambia by 2030".

logo The National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) formerly known as National ouncil for Scientific Research (NCSR) is a government institution set up by the Science and Technology Act No. 26 of 1997 through the Statutory Instrument No. 73 of 1998. NISIR is funded by the government of Zambia. However, multilateral and bilateral cooperating partners fund specific projects of mutual interest. .
NISIR Head Quarters
The institute with its unique laboratory facilities and experience is a leading research and development institution in Zambia and has a proven track record of developing technologies and offering quality analytical laboratory and other services that can be exploited by small and medium scale enterprises that normally have no research and development facilities of their own for mutual benefit.


    The functions of the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research as stipulated in the Science and Technology Act of 1997 Section 4 and Statutory Instrument No. 73, are:-

    • To conduct and promote Scientific, Technological and Industrial Research in Zambia;
    • To carry out research in civil, mechanic, chemical, electronic and electrical engineering, nuclear science, textile technology, biotechnology, energy resources, industrial chemistry, food science, material science and natural products, information science, cartographic and location analysis
    • To liaise with other research bodies within and outside Zambia conduction similar research activities;
    • To cooperate and liaise with industries
    • To develop and maintain a vibrant relation with the business sector.




"To undertake scientific, technological and industrial research effectively and efficiently in order to address needs of the industry and promote innovation".

NISIR in Kitwe is using this micro propagation technique in various crops such as cassava, bananas, pineapple, sweet potatoes, eucalyptus, Artemisia, potatoes, and sugarcane. Activities in this research category include development of protocols for regeneration of whole plants from plant cells or tissue cultures, rapid multiplication of plants and conservation of germ-plasm of different crops.

The Programme is using this micro propagation technique in various crops such as cassava, bananas, pineapple, sweet potatoes, eucalyptus, Artemisia, potatoes, and sugarcane. Activities in this research category include development of protocols for regeneration of whole plants from plant cells or tissue cultures, rapid multiplication of plants and conservation of germ-plasm of different crops.

Cassava Crop Improvement

Cassava Crop Improvement Through In Vitro Mutation Breeding. Three cassava local varieties (Bangweulu, Nalumino and Mweru) are being investigated. The first material that was irradiated with gamma rays is now in the fourth generation under-going field evaluations. The objectives are to improve the nutritional characteristics and agronomic traits of these local varieties. This project is an IAEA sponsored project. IAEA has funded the training of staff and provision of equipment. The Zambian Government has continued to provide the counter-part funding for the execution of project activities.

Micropropagation of Eucalyptus

Micropropagation of Selected Eucalyptus Clones in Zambia. There has been an increase in the demand for plants with superior growth potential. Micropropagation has the potential to provide very high multiplication rates to meet the demand of selected tree genotypes, with resulting short-term sivilcultural gains.

The studies on micropropagation of Eucalyptus grandis and Eucalyptus cloeziana is a study that has been jointly funded by Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited (ZAFFICO) and National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR). It is aimed at utilization of tissue culture technique to raise superior eucalyptus planting material for ZAFFICO for the establishment of seed orchards.

Tissue Calture bananas in a screen house


  • Supplying tissue cultured disease free and superior planting material for cassava, sweet potato, pineapple, banana, sugar-cane and Irish potato.
  • Supplying budded orange seedlings and other nursery plants (indigenous and exotic)
  • Consultancy services in crop production and phytopathology
  • logo

    To be a lead institution in providing scientific and technological solutions for sustainable socio-economic development of the nation

    The programme consists of the Library, Publishing and Information Technology sections. It's focus is on acquiring relevant scientific and technological information to support research activities and repackaging information generated for dissemination.
    The program has a printing facility and hosts a TEVETA registered National Training Tele-Centre. The department also produces annual reports, technical reports, Zambia Science Abstracts and an internal Sci-Tech newsletter. Furthermore, it has provided practical training to university and college students in Library and Information and Computer Studies.


    The library functions to acquire relevant scientific and technological information to support effective and efficient research and development activities and repackage information generated through these activities for dissemination

    Nisir employees at the Nisir Library in Chilanga


    The institute has an ICT based training Tele-center aiming at promoting human resource development by use of teaching/learning methods using information. The Tele-center has a large conference hall available for hire to institution/ organization wishing to organize their trainings and workshops. `

    Animal Science Research

    The centre is Located in Chilanga, and houses, Vector & Disease, Reproduction and Nutrition Programmes:

    Vector & Disease Programe

    The laboratory carried out research related to traditional livestock with the aim of improving livestock productivity through appropriate technologies and offers consultancy in areas such as; management practices, nutrition and pasture, distribution and seasonal activity of ticks, and ecology, biology and population dynamics of tsetse.


    have included but not limited to: Analytical services in pregnancy diagnosis in livestock using radioimmunoassay technique (livestock productivity) Demonstration field to farmers for production of lowcost fodder crops as livestock feed (nutrition and pasture) Sensitization and training of farmer groups and extension staff in IKS/integrated diseases management strategies. (tick control) Evaluation of chemotype of Tephrosia vogelii: validation of the efficacy of dried leaves (tick control)


    Evaluation of Tephrosia vogelii Chemotype 1 as tick acaricide The plant is alternative to conventional acaricides in the control of ticks. Advantages of using the natural acaricide i) Cheaper than conventional acaricides ii) Material can be propagated by a farmer and easily infused without need for sophisticated equipment iii) Less persistent in the environment compared to certain acaricides

    Outputs have included

    Establishment of efficacy of dried pounded leaves of T.vogelii as natural acaricide. - Training of more than 100 farmers in the use of the plant to control cattle ticks under the SANBio phase I of the project. Its efficacy was hence proven on field. It is also envisaged that the utilization of such indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) can add to improved livestock productivity and the subsequent uplifting of rural livelihood through reduced livestock tick disease burden



    Dr.Henry Njapau - Present




    Dr. Alick Muvundika - Present
    Dr. Alick Muvundika



    • First Degree at the University Of Zambia in Natural Sciences-Chemistry
    • Pursued Masters in Environmental Science and Technology Netherlands
    • Pursued his PhD in Environmental Science Focusing on Green House (Ghs) Emmissions from Landfill Sites at the University Of Central Lancashire (Uclan) In Preston, England

    Employment record

    • Mines Safety Department from 1995 to 2004
    • Joined NISIR in November 2004 to date

    The mandate of the programme is to conduct scientific research using nuclear analytical techniques and application of nuclear technology.The programme is specialized in Radiometric and Nuclear Analytical Techniques (EDXRF, Gamma Spectrometry, Alpha Spectrometry, Radon monitoring & Fast Neutron Activation Analysis) and Radiation processing (Co-60 & Cs-137).
    The programme also has centralized analytical laboratory to support its research activities.

    logo Nisir employee in the Labs

    Objective of The Programme

    • To promote peaceful application of nuclear energy in research and other developmental activities.
    • To contribute towards the provision of radiological safety and radiation protection.
    • To provide assistance to researchers and other professional staffs at institutions of higher learning and medical institutions
    • To provide quality analytical services in line with requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005
    • To provide quality gamma irradiation services to customers

    Current Research Projects;

  • Assessment of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) in underground and surface water in North Western, Copperbelt and Southern Provinces of Zambia-Funded by IAEA/NSTC
  • Develop a National Baseline Data Base for prospective uranium mines (Sigongo area) -Funded by NISIR
  • Capacity Building for the characterization of NORM in building materials, remediation of NORM contaminated sites and In-situ dose mapping of Zambia- Funded by IAEA

    We Offer Analytical and Consultancy Services

    • Measurement of Radioactivity in environmental Samples
    • Measurement of Radon Gas in dwelling places and mines
    • Analysis of heavy metals in water, geological, food and other environmental samples.
    • Analysis of nonmetals such as nitrates, sulphates, phosphates and other salts in various environmental constituencies.
    • Consultancy in Radiological Environmental Monitoring , Impact Assessment and Radiological Risk Assessment
    • Expert advice / training on safety and radiation protection
    • Irradiation services of various material for sterilization,shelve lifeextension, mutation or different purposes depending on the needs of a client.

    Apparatus Used

    AB-Radon Monitor
    Used for radon gas measurements. The naturally radioactive noble gas radon (222Rn) is present in the air outdoors and in all buildings including workplaces. It is thus an inescapable source of radiation exposure both at home and at work.

    Gamma Spectrometry
    The spectrometer uses a High Purity Germanium Detec-tor (HpGe) to measure low level radioactivity in a wider range of materials including: environmental samples
    (Water, soils and sediments), biological samples, food-stuffs (grains and cereals, milk) and geological samples (mineral ore).

    Energy Dispersive X-ray
    XRF is a non-destructive multi-elemental analytical technique which employs excitation of samples using radioisotopes (gamma emitters) or X-ray generators. Industrial application mining, cement, oil, polymers, plastics, forensics, mining and mineralogy,
    and geology. For environmental analysis, XRF can be used to assess heavy metal pollution of water and air. XRF is also widely used in glass and ceramics research and pharmacy.


    Food Science Research Centre (FSRC) is one of the Research Centres of National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) , located at NISIR Headquarters along the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport Road in Lusaka. It consists of the following programs: Food Processing and Engineering programme, Biotechnology programme Nutrition & Food programme. .


    • We conduct scientific research in food science and nutrition and add value to indigenous food crops through food processing, preservation and product development, in order to improve the quality of life for the people.
    • We provide technical expertise in the area of food science and technology through consultancy in food processing, safety and nutrition.
    • We also offer food analysis services as a means of quality control of the food raw materials and food products.
    • We training of staff. A new Laboratory established with help from IAEA especially in acquisition of equipment and training of the staff.
    • The Center Laboratory is able to measure body composition in two components i.e. Fat-free (lean) mass and fat mass by the use of isotopic technique which is a more accurate method (gold standard) to determine the nutrition status of people. In addition, the Laboratory uses other methods such as; Body Mass Index (BMI), Skin fold thickness, Body Circumference and Bioelectric. Impedance Analysis (BIA) in the assessment of nutrition status. The equipment used in these techniques are; Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR), Body Weight Scale, Stand metre, Callipers, Measuring Tapes and BIA.

    National Biotechnology Lab


    The National Biotechnology Laboratory was officially opened on 27th April 2007 as a result of bilateral cooperation between the Governments of Zambia and Norway. It is housed at Chilanga Centre. The Laboratory is equipped to carry out genetic assays to screen for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) contamination in agricultural imports and exports. Analytical services in GMO testing (seeds and processed foods) are provided to the public.

    Mycotoxicology Laboratory

    The centre does also have a mycotoxin testing capability and offers analytical services in qualitative analysis of such toxins as aflatoxin and ochratoxin in food products. Many countries have put regulations on mycotoxins in foods and as such there is need for mycotoxin clearance of Zambian foodstuffs if they have to be exported to countries that have put regulation on mycotoxins. The Laboratory houses the High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and a Fluorimeter.




    We are a team of qualified and competent researchers and laboratory staff with the mandate to conduct research, offer consultancy and analytical services in two areas i.e. Water, Energy and Environment.

    The programme has two main areas of focus, research and development activities in water, energy and environment in order to ensure their sustainable utilisation. The programme also carries out quantitative and qualitative surface and underground water quality assessments especially in Lusaka cholera prone and urban settlements. image1

    What We Do


      We conduct needs-based research to improve people's livelihoods by promoting low cost technologies utilizing local materials. Example of previous and ongoing studies include:

      • Promotion of Biogas technology as an alternative energy source for cooking, heating and lighting in rural Zambia. pdf
      • Production of fuel grade ethanol from locally available raw materials.
      • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Moringa oleifera seed powder as a coagulant in water treatment.
      • Water quality assessmentS in Cholera-prone areas of Lusaka, Zambia.
      • Characterisation of Biosolids and Evaluating the Effectiveness of sun drying beds as a biosolids stabilization method in Lusaka, Zambia
      • Water Quality Assessments in New residential areas in Lusaka

    Consultancy and Analytical Services

    • We provide water quality testing services to a range of clients from individual to private water scheme providers and mining companies. We analyse for parameters in Microbiology, Wet Chemistry and the Heavy Metals.
      We offer consultancy, internships and laboratory demonstration to students.




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