Category Archives: 2005 Vol 17 Dec

The influence of climatic conditionss on gas and energy exchanges above a young oil palm stand in North Kedah, Malaysia

Measurement of fluxes of CO2, latent heat and sensible heat were made above a three-year-old oil palm canopy in north Kedah, Malaysia where there is a regular dry season of three months or more annually. The results indicate substantially lower levels of CO2 flux and latent heat flux (evapotranspiration) and substantially increased levels of sensible heat flux in the middle of the annual dry season in February, than in the succeeding wetter months of April to June. Canopy conductance for water vapour was likewise low during the drought and incresed subsequently.
The use of these results as an aid to quantifying the responses of oil palm to water deficits is discussed.

Spectroscopic identification of geometrical isomers of α- and β -carotenes from palm oil

To date, all identification of palm carotenoids are tentative based on electronic absorption spectra, comparison of the elution sequence with past studies and authentic standards. This study reports the isolation of individual major isomers of palm carotenes using a semi-preparative C30column. The results of MS, 1H NMR of four isolated peaks, assigned as Fraction 1 (a mixture of 13 and 13’ cis α -carotene), Fraction 2 (13 cis β -carotene), Fraction 3 (all trans α -carotene) and Fraction 4 (cis β -carotene) supported the identification of their structures

Preliminary study on microbial degradation of flexible polyurethane foams – physico-mechanical and weight changes during fungal deterioration

The ability of the fungus, Aspergillus niger , to utilize palm-based flexible polyurethane foam as food was determined via the petri-dish test. A commercial polyurethane foam was used as the control. A dense fungal growth was detected by visual examination of foams inoculated on minimal nutrient agar (MNA) but not on the mineral salts agar (MSA). The weight changes for all samples were analysed after four weeks. Both the palm-based and commercial flexible polyurethane foams incubated on MNA suffered significant weight losses while slight increases were recorded by the samples incubated on MSA. Under a SEM, dense fungal growth was observed covering the samples incubated on MNA but none on the samples incubated on MSA. Instead, the presence of spores on the latter indicated that the fungus had not germinated sufficiently to degrade the polyurethanes. The compression strength for all the samples increased with time. The increase in hardness was more in the palm-based polyurethanes than in the commercial ones. This study showed that palm-based flexible foam can be degraded by Aspergillus niger in the presence of sufficient nutrients.

Polyploidt induction of oil palm through colchicine and oryzalin treatments

Germinated oil palm seeds were treated with two antimitotic chemicals, colchicine and oryzalin, to induce polyploidy. The colchicine concentrations used varied from 2.5 to 10.0 mM, and the oryzalin concentrations from 15 µM to 120µM. The incubation period vary inversely with the chemical concentration from 48 to 6 hr. Colchicine treatments produced nine tetraploids, two triploids and a number of mixoploids. The oryzalin treatments produced four triploids and many mixoploids of 2n+3n and 3n+4n. However, one-way ANOVA showed that none of the treatments were able to induce polyploidy efficiently. Flow cytometry was found to be the most efficient method for detecting induced changes in the genome size or polyploidy level compared to stomata and chromosome counts. One-way ANOVA showed no significant difference in the stomata density between polyploids and controls (2n) while for plant morphology, polyploids seemed to be significantly shorter than their respective controls.

Best-developed practices and sustainable development of the oil palm industry

The long-term economic viability of any crop production system is dependent on implementation of its best-developed practices (BDPs). Improperly managed,any resource can pollute the soil,water and air.The growing challenge for agriculture is to find ways to increase crop yields and improve nutrient use efficiency while stabilizing nutrients,replacing those removed in the harvested crop,recycling those in the crop residues and ultimately retaining them in the soil organic matter.Nutrient balance management is the most significant BDP that has evolved to be site-specific and cost-effective in palm oil production.The practice of nutrient balance management is,at the same time,accompanied by protection of the soil,water and air resources.This would result in not only protection from surface runoff and leaching but also in the reduction of gaseous emissions.

The management policies on BDPs now require plantations,firstly,to look at protection of the physical environment such as the air,soil and water.Secondly,to look at the impact of chemical environment such as pesticide usage,nutrient balance and soil organic matter on chemical pesticides in palm oil;and,thirdly,at maintaining the biological environment such as biodiversity,high yielding planting materials and reduced weeds,pests and diseases.There are also a host of other objectives imposed on the palm oil industry that arise from the globalization of its trade.They include challenges such as overall ecosystem protection,food security and sustainability with the aim of slowing down climate change by stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations.This implies using less energy inputs on resources like pesticides and fertilizers.

From this review of the important future challenges,there is no reason why the oil palm production system,using the latest BDPs,cannot sustain its high yield while protecting the environment.As per Article 2 in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),the triple requirements of ecosystem protection (ecological),food security (social)and sustainable economic development (economic) can be met.There is now a need for the oil palm industry to demonstrate this inherent strength of high productivity without undue imposition on the limited world resources.

DNA fingerprinting of oil palm – choice of tissues

DNA profiling, now commonly used in forensic investigations, can also be used for genetic identification of plants. It is usually stated that for such purpose any tissue from an organism can be used since the DNA is the same throughout. This generalization was tested on the different tissues from oil palm seedlings using 17 PCR-based simple sequence repeat primers. The tissues were those routinely available to a DNA marker laboratory for early screening in a breeding programme. Contrary to the generalization, the different tissues did not always give identical DNA profiles but depended on the primers used. This could be due to dissimilar DNA methylation of the different tissues resulting in quantitative polymorphism detected by some of the primers. While such primers may be useful for tracking changes, such as during development in tissue culture, only the more robust markers would be suitable for routine marker assisted selection in breeding.

A new system for continuous sterilization of oil palm fresh fruit bunches

A system is proposed for continuous sterilization of oil palm fresh fruit bunches based on crushing bunches to facilitate steam penetration into bunches and subsequently heating the bunches using live steam at atmospheric pressure to an extent sufficient to facilitate stripping of the fruits. An attempt is made to evaluate this system using a pilot-scale set-up.

A comparison of the Deli Dumpy and Pobe Dwarf short stemmed oil palms and their outcrossed progenies

Deli Dumpy and Pobé Dwarf oil palm materials, from Malaysia and Ivory Coast respectively, were crossed with normal teneras, and the progenies tested in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in comparison with progenies without Dumpy or Dwarf genes. The semi-Dumpy progenies gave low yields, but with heavy bunches, while the semi-Dwarf material gave better yields but with smaller bunches; neither material gave particularly good bunch composition. The short stem character of both origins was heritable, the semi-Dwarf being shorter than the semi-Dumpy. However, the strong resistance to vascular wilt noted in pure Deli Dumpy was not observed in the descendants. Of the two origins, the Pobé Dwarf, with small fronds and high bunch index, looks the more promising progenitor, as it should be suited to high density planting with consequent higher yields.

Safety evaluation for dermal and ocular irrigation of palm hidydroxystearic acid as a cosmetics ingredient

This paper decribes the safety evaluation of threo-9,10-dihydroxystearic acid (DHSA) as a cosmetics ingredient. The irritation potential of DHAS to the eye and skin was assessed using in vitro ocular and dermal irritection assays and confirmed by in vivio patch test. Its potential in inducing sensitization is confirmed by the in vivo human repeated insult patch test (HRIPT). In vitro studies showed no ocular or dermal irritation potential in using purified DHSA while in vivo studies showed that the purified DHSA did not induce any significant cutaneous skin irritation, cummulative skin irritation or sensitization at 1%, 3% and 5%, respectively.

Application of polyamines in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) stops advance of bud rot disease

Bud rot complex (PC) is a disease that affects oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). It is a gradual rot of the young tissue, which can kill the palm if the meristem is affected. Certain predisposing factors seem involved in development of the disease. However, in Colombia, many sick palms recover naturally. Knowing the multiple effects of polyamines in cell division and morphogenesis processes, we proposed some relationships between the polyamine content and bud rot disease. The endogenous contents of polyamines (PA) putrescine, spermidine and spermine were determined, using HPLC, in meristematic and bud tissues from oil palms in different sanitary stages (healthy and sick palms).The PA content in meristems and buds gradually decreased in sick adult palms. Oil palms recovered when the PA content increased. Application of PA to the stems of oil palms suffering from the disease sped up their recovery and maintained healthy palms in areas where the disease incidence was high. The findings reported here introduced a novel and complementary management practice against one of the most devastating diseases of oil palm in Latin America.

Short communication: cytological analysis of oil palm pollen mother cells (PMC’s)

This short paper decribes the cytological analysis of oil palm pollen mother cells (PMCs) in an effort to identify the pachytene and uninucleate microspore stages for application in other experiments. The chromosomal pachytene stage will be used in the localization of transgenes in transgenic palms while the uninucleate microspore stage will be utilized in microspore culture for haploid production.

In coming issue – volume 17 December 2005

  • Household Usage of and Recipe Creation with Condiment Sauces Based on Red Palm Oil: Exploring the Potential for Targeted Micronutrient Delivery to Different Family Members Monica Orozco; Noel W Solomons and Ingrid Ventura
  • Identification of Lutein in Crude Palm Oil and Evaluation of Carotenoids at Various Ripening Stages of Palm Oil Fruit Bonnie Tay Yin Ping and Gwendoline Ee Cheng Lian
  • Oil Palm: The Agricultural Producer of Food, Fibre and Fuel for Global Economy Yusof Basiron and Chan Kook Weng
  • Nutrient Demand of Tenera Oil Palm Planted on Inland Soil of Malaysia Ahmad Tarmizi Mohammed
  • Thermochemical Behaviour of Empty Fruit Bunches and Oil Palm Shell Waste in a Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustor (CFBC) Ahmad Hussain
  • DNA Extraction from Mature Oil Palm Leaves Seng Tzer Ying