Category Archives: 2008 Vol 20 June

Application of flow cytometry for estimation of nuclear DNA content in Elaeis

A method was established and proposed to be the standard protocol for estimating the genome size of oil palm [Elaeis guineensis and intraspecific hybrids, E. oleifera and oleifera x guineensis (O x G) interspecific hybrids.] The method used is laser-sourced flow cytometry. Oil palm frond – 1 leaflets, LBO1 lysis buffer and Glycine max cv. Polanka ( as external standard) were used for the DNA content estimation. The 2C DNA contents of E. guineensis for the different fruit types were: dura (D) = 4.10 ± 0.20, pisifera (P) = 3.64 ± 0.28 and tenera (DxP) = 3.83 ± 0.31 pg. A simple average gave the DNA content for E. guineensis as 3.86 ± 0.26 pg.

CO2/CH4 and O2/N2 kinetic selectivities of oil palm shell-based carbon molecular sieves

Carbon molecular sieves (CMS) have become an interesting area of adsorption due to their microporous nature and favourable separation factor on size and shape selectively basis for many gaseous systems. In this work, CMS were prepared from locally available oil palm shell by thermal treatment of carbonization followed by steam activation, then benzene deposition. The carbonization of dried palm shell at 900°C for 1 hr followed by steam activation at 30-420 min produced activated carbons with various degrees of burn-off. The highest micropore surface area and micropore volume of the activated samples were obtained at 53.2% burn-off. This sample was found suitable to be used as precursor for CMSs production in the deposition step. Subsequent benzene deposition onto activated samples at temperatures from 600°C-900°C from various benzene concentrations resulted in a series of CMS with different O2/N2 and CO2/CH4 kinetic selectivities.

Enzymatic synthesis and characterization of palm-based kojic acid ester

Kojic acid ester wan synthesized from acyl donor (fatty acid/palm oil) and kojic acid by esterification using lipase as a biocatalyst in an organic medium. Analysis of the product using GC and FTIR showed the presence of kojic acid ester. The gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) analysis and 1H-NMR and 13C-MNR spectral data confirmed the molecular structure of the kojic acid ester.Among the enzymes tested, lipase from Pseudomonas cepacia gave the highest synthetic specific activity. Oleic acid found to be the best substrate with which to produce the ester in acetonitrile. The optimum conditions for the synthesis of kojic acid derivatives using Pseudomonas cepacia lipase were time, 24 hr, temperature, 50°C, amount of enzyme, 0.15 g, solvent of log P =-0.33, mole ration of 4 (kojic acid/oleic acid), with no added water, no control of water activity and oleic acid as substrate.

Efficacy of single and mixed treatments of Trichoderma harzianum as biocontrol agents of Ganoderma basal stem rot in oil palm

Two Trichoderma harzianum strains (FA 1132 and FA1166) were tested as biocontrol agents for basal stem rot in oil palm seedlings artificially infected with the causal pathogen, Ganoderma boninense. The treatment was carried out by applying a Trichoderma-infused surface mulch and periodic applications of a conidial soil drech made from spore suspensions of the respective Trichoderma strains. A disease severity index (DSI) ranging from 0 to 100 was used to assess the disease severity. A single strain application of T. harzianum, FA 1132 gave the best disease suppression with the lowest DSI of 28.35 compared to the infected, non-treated control plants that gave the highest DSI of 86.67. However, FA 1166 as a single application was ineffective, so was the mixture of the two strains. The biological control property of Trichoderma was shown to be strain-specific and not species-specific. In addition, it was found that applying the mixed inocula significantly decresed the performance of FA 1132, the choice strain.

Life cycle inventory of the production of crude palm oil – a gate to gate case study of 12 palm oil mills

Life cycle inventory (LCI) is the heart of a life cycle assessment (LCA) study.LCA is a tool to determine the environmental impacts of a product at all stages of its life right from cradle to grave. In order to carry out a LCA, inventory data have to be collected and the raw data have to be extrapolated tp produce a LCI. This study has a gate to gate system boundary. The inventory data collection starts at the oil palm fresh fruit bunch hoppers when the fresh fruit bunches are received at the mill up till the production of the crude palm oil in the storage tanks at the mill. For this study, 12 palm oil mills were selected. These palm oil mills were selected based on the type of mills which either plantations-based mills or private mills and have different processing capabilities of oil palm fresh fruit bunches ranging from 20 t hr-1 up till 90 t hr-1. The mills selected are all located at different zones in east and west Malaysia basically from north, mid south, south Peninsular Malaysia and east Malaysia. Inventory data collection consists of input and output of materials and energy. The input data basically are inputs of raw materials such as oil palm fresh fruit bunches, electricity, diesel, water, fuel for boiler etc. and the output consists of the biomass wastes, palm oil mill effluents, flue gases from stack, kernel etc. All data were collected for duration of three months from each mill. These inventory data were then calculated for the functional unit of every 1 t of crude palm oil produced at the palm oil mill.

Factors affecting green fluorescence protein (GFP) gene expression in oil palm after microprojectile bombardment

Expression of green fluorescence protein (GFP) gene can be visualized under ultraviolet or blue light without any sunstrate or co-factor addition. It has been used to monitor transient and stable transgene expression in manuy plant varieties. The effectiveness of gfp gene as a selectable marker for oil palm transformation was evaluated through transient expression of gfp gene in bombarded oil palm embryogenic calli and immature embyros. Different types (version) of gfp gene which are driven by different constitutive promoters were used to transform oil palm target tissues. Some of the gfp genes used were targeted to specific organelle: namely plastid, endoplasmic reticulum and mittochondria. Transient expression of the gfp genes could be detected in oil palm tissues as early as 16 hr after bombardment. It was observed that the number of gfp expressing cells and duration of the gfp gene expression differs from one construct to another. The differences in the gfp constructs performance in oil palm tissues were evaluated based on the following factors: version of the gfp genes, promoter used to drive the gfp gene, backbone vector and the size of the whole plasmid. The CaMV35S promoter was found to be the most effective promoter for driving gfp gene in oil palm tissues followed by HBT and maize ubiquitin promoter. The sGFPS65T was the most effective version of gfp gene for oil palm tissues followed by sGFP and mGFP5. It was also demonstrated that the pUC18 backbone vectors was the most effective vector backbone in expressing the gfp gene in oil palm. Finally, it was observed that the smaller the gfp vector, the higher the number of gfp expressing cells obtained. Possible reasons for these observations were elaborated and discussed.

Does the palm tocotrienol-rich fraction induce irritant contact dermatitis?

In Malaysia, the tocotrienols-rich fraction (TRF) is used as one of the functional ingredients in cosmetics products. The tropically applied vitamin E plays a role in protecting the skin from free radicals damage induced by the ultraviolet radiation. The formulation of new tropical products always includes risk of unexpected cutaneous side efects in certain individuals. Although the irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) has been reported for many compounds including active substances in cosmetics, the local topical ICD of TRF preparations has not been reported. This article decribes the safety evalutions of palm TRF on skin. The primary irritation potential was assessed through animal study while the ICD was determined using patch testing technique on healthy as well as highly sensitive patients. The sensitization potential was evaluated using human repeated insult patch test on helathy subjects. Results indicated that the palm TRF din dont induced any cutaneous irritation or sensitization at 1%, 2.5% and 5%.