Katjivena makes strides at Meatco

Francois Katjivena is captivated by the study of biology. As a microbiologist, he tests meat samples for various bacteria, using qualitative and quantitative methods.

08 June 2018 | People

Gabby Tjiroze

Francois Katjivena has spent the past eight years working as a microbiological laboratory technician at Meatco.

He performs testing on samples, as well as reporting and record-keeping. He also tests meat samples that are then exported to European Union (EU) markets by Meatco.

“The results need to be accurate, precise and reliable during testing and reporting; that is expected of me. At Meatco, only standard methods are used, meaning methods validated by AOAC International. A quality assurance officer selects the sample submission for the testing required and we report back in the fastest turnaround time, so the product can be released for export,” said Katjivena.

A microbiologist is a scientist who studies microscopic organisms, including bacteria, algae and fungi.

Katjivena, who exudes confidence, speaks persuasively and with deep interest about what his job entails.

“I record the temperature of the equipment, the room temperature, verify balances and the pipette, before any work can commence. I will then prepare the sample for qualitative and quantitative testing. I incubate these samples at each specific optimal growth temperature in the incubator. Samples are taken out the next day to do a direct counting of bacteria, confirmations and the calculation of results. DNA is extracted and tested using the BAX® System Q7. I prepare the reports and verify, before sending the reports to clients,” he said.

Like any other profession, his also comes with challenges.

“Since the labs have been upgraded to higher standards, we needed to keep up with the programme and work even harder to be able to work on the machines. One has to be very competent, work faster and learn new skills, as technology evolves,” explained Katjivena.

He holds a BSc degree in Molecular & Physiological Environmental Biology from the University of Namibia (Unam), and says he is always ready to take on new tasks, as required by the industry.

“I think the time I have worked here has really taught me a lot. I gained experience in a short span of time and it has really put me at the forefront. I am now able to audit the lab operations and I have to work on one of the most complex machines and I can do that by myself,” he said.

Katjivena encourages students to study something they love, which has helped him to forge a path towards discovering answers.

“Study something that you are interested in, because passion will push you to be a top performer in your field.”

He hopes study towards a Master of Microbiology degree at Unam in the future.

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