Although he rarely publishes (having long ago decided that academia was not for him), Gus is regularly involved in research activities around the commercial potential for indigenous African plants.
In 2001, Gus established the trade association PhytoTrade Africa, promoting the development of new business opportunities from African plants. Under his leadership, PhytoTrade took the Baobab fruit through the steps required to have it approved for sale as a Novel Food in the European Union. They also introduced Marula oil, Mongongo oil, Kalahari Melon seed oil, Kigelia fruit extract and a range of other previously-unknown African plant ingredients on to the market. He led the organisation as CEO until he handed over in 2010 to new leadership.
That same year (2010) he founded Bio Innovation Zimbabwe (BIZ), a non-profit research organization investigating new uses for indigenous plants (www.bio-innovation.org) within the context of rebuilding Zimbabwe’s fragile agricultural sector. Further successes included the introduction of Myrothamnus flabellifolia (the Resurrection bush) extract as an anti-ageing skincare ingredient, Lippia javanica (Zumbani) leaves herbal tea, and the use of Schinziophyton rautanenii (Mongongo) nuts as an edible nut. BIZ are currently working on putting the Bambara nut (Vignea subterranea) and Marula oil (Sclerocarya birrea) through the EU Novel Foods approval processes to enable them to be sold as foods within the European Union.
Gus has another completely different research interest, looking at different models of outsourced private sector management of State-owned protected areas.