Category Archives: 2013 Vol 25 Aug

Physico-chemical properties of biodiesel produced from Jatropha curcas oil and palm oil

Due to the increase in the petroleum fuel and edible oil prices and the continuous debate on fuel vs. The food issue, effort has been taken to look into the possibility of using a cheaper non-edible feedstock for biodiesel production. Jatropha curcas oil is one of the non-edible feedstock which has been considered in recent years. In the present study, J. curcas oil was transesterified to jatropha oil methyl ester (JOME) and subjected to a full range biodiesel characteristics analysis. It was found that the fatty acid compositions of JOME are very different compared with palm biodiesel (methyl ester of refined, bleached and deodorised palm oil, RBDPOME). JOME consists of 43% methyl oleate and 34% methyl linoleate with total unsaturation of 79%, whereas RBDPOME consists of 39% methyl oleate and 10% methyl linoleate with total unsaturation of approximately 50%. Due to the higher degree of unsaturation especially the methyl linoleate, JOME has lower cold flow properties, namely the cloud point (4.6°C), pour point (3°C) and cold filter plugging point (0°C). JOME is more prone to oxidation and polymerisation, and possesses a lower cetane number when compared to RBDPOME.

Isolation and recovery of phytonutrients in palm by isocrated and isobaric flash chromatography

The phytonutrients (carotenes, tocols, squalene and sterols) present in crude palm oil (CPO) are still intact after the CPO has been converted to palm oil methyl esters (POME), which is used as biodiesel. Isolation and recovery of these valuable phytonutrients from POME was carried out prior to the POME being burnt as fuel. This study reports on the isolation and recovery of palm phytonutrients using flash chromatography. Flash chromatography was conducted under isocratic and isobaric conditions in which the composition of the mobile phase as well as the pressure is made constant during the run. The elution of the phytonutrients from the stationary phase followed the order of: squalene, carotenes, tocols and last of all, sterols. Under the isocractic and isobaric conditions, four fractions were collected from the flash chromatograph. Squalene was concentrated by five-fold in fraction one while fraction two consists of ca. 95% carotenes. Fractions three and four consist of tocols and sterols respectively. The combination of mobile and stationary phase used in this study is found to be able to isolate and recover carotenes in high purity and yield.

A comparative study of the effects of processing conditions and formulations on the physical and sensory porperties of frozen nasi lemak made of palm-based santan and coconut santan

The objective of the study was to determine the effect of processing conditions on physical characteristics of frozen nasi lemak. Two types of santan that is, palm-based santan and coconut santan were used in this experiment. They were tested at three santan to rice ratios, i.e. 1:5, 1.5:5 and 2:5 under different freezing rates and thawing processes. The results showed that nasi lemak made of palm-based santan have lower moisture content compared to that made of coconut santan and fast-freezing followed by immediate reheating, was able to retain a higher moisture content in both samples. The water activity of frozen nasi lemak samples ranged from 0.994 to 0.998 at 25.0 ± 0.7°C and was not significantly affected by processing conditions and type of santan. An increase in the amount of santan significantly increased the amount of lipid-amylose complexes formed in frozen nasi lemak which resulted in high Complexing Index (CI) values. It simultaneously reduced the hardness and increased the stickiness of the rice kernels for both types of santan. The freezing rate influenced the stickiness of rice. At 1:5 santan to rice ratio, nasi lemak made of palm-based santan was comparable to that of coconut santan in its sensory attributes, except for its colour, odour and overall taste.

Exploiting synteny between oil palm and rice to find markers more closely linked to selected trait

The African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and rice (Oryza sativa) are important economic crops. The rice genome has been more extensively characterised and studied compared to oil palm. GBrowse, a bioinformatics tool for visualising genomic and other sequences along a reference genome was applied in this study. Herein, we report the use of model organism Oryza sativa as a reference genome to map 75 463 genomic E. guineensis sequences. A subset of 328 oil palm sequences that aligned well to the 12 rice chromosomes was shortlisted for further analysis. Of these 328 genomic sequences, 261 contained microsatellite motifs and were apt for primer design. A total of 208 Simple Sequence Repeats (SSR) were selected to screen for polymorphism in a subset of palms from a selfed Nigerian tenera mapping population (T128), whereby, 67 SSR were found to be polymorphic. Thirty-eight of the polymorphic markers were mapped onto the genetic map. In comparison to the 12 rice chromosomes, six SSR from the oil palm linkage group 1 (LG1), containing the shell gene (SH) locus were identified on chromosomes 2 and 5 of rice. The order of these six SSR on linkage group 1 was mostly similar to that in chromosomes 2 and 5 of rice. The study provided evidence on synteny between oil palm and rice and facilitated the mapping of a marker closer to SH locus.

Safety assessment of oil palm phenolics as active ingredient for topical application

Oil palm phenolics (OPP) are water-soluble antioxidants derived from palm oil milling effluent. They contain flavonoids, polyphenols, phenolic acids, water-soluble vitamins and organic acids. As a potential new ingredient for consumer products, safety assessment is therefore very important. This article describes the safety assessment of OPP as an active ingredient for topical application. The irritation potential of OPP to the eye and skin were assessed using the in vitro Ocular and Dermal Irritection Assay Systems respectively. For the purpose of comparison, a commercial green tea extract at the same concentrations was also evaluated. The in vitro ocular irritection assay study classified OPP as non-irritant or minimal irritant, but commercial green tea as mild irritant. For in vitro dermal studies, the results showed that both ingredients at 50% concentration and higher were classified as irritant. However at a 5% concentration, green tea was predicted as irritant, while OPP was non-irritant. Both the in vitro systems predicted formulated products containing 5% OPP and green tea as non-irritant. The irritation potential of the actives and formulated products with 5% actives was further evaluated via an in vivo patch test for 48 hr, as well as an in vivo human repeated patch test. It was found that both actives did not induce any irritative or allergic reactions related to the presence and activity of common allergens.

Combined effect of operational variables on aqueous enzymatic oil extraction from palm pressed fibre

The extraction of residual oil from palm pressed fibre (PPF) via aqueous enzymatic oil extraction (AEOE) process was studied based on the different operational variables. An application of the response surface methodology (RSM) and Box-Behnken Factorial Design by using a statistical package was used to develop a process design and modelling of the AEOE process. Ultrasonication was applied as a pre-treatment before the aqueous enzymatic oil extraction (AEOE) process, resulting in a both significant increase in yield and a reduction in process time. The use of Celluclast® 1.5L FG in AEOE gave a 58.91% oil yield at pH 5.6 in 5 hr at 50°C. Incorporating the ultrasonication at 485 W for 15 min prior to the additional of Celluclast® 1.5L FG increased the oil yield to 60.96% and reduced the extraction time to 3 hr. The effect of Celluclast® 1.5L FG on oil yields and glucose production from PPF combined with other processed parameters such as hydrolysis time, X1, enzyme to fibre ratio, X2 and liquid to fibre ratio, X3 were also determined. The results of analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that in both models, oil extraction (Y1) and glucose production (Y2) were statistically significant (oil extraction, p<0.01 and glucose production, p<0.0001). Post-ANOVA showed that hydrolysis time, X1 (p-value< 0.0001) and the enzyme to fibre ratio, X2 (p-value 0.0038) had a significant (p<0.05) effect on the oil extraction, Y1; whereas all the independent variables such as hydrolysis time, X1 (p-value< 0.0001), enzyme to fibre ratio, X2 (p-value 0.0002) and liquid fibre ratio, X3 (p-value 0.0279) had a significant effect (p<0.05) on glucose production, Y2. The observation confirms the results that the combination of the ultrasonication step as a pre-treatment and AEOE using Celluclast® 1.5L FG increases the oil extractability at reduced time.

Differential and antagonistic effects of palm tocotrienols and other phytonutrients (carotenoids, squalene and coenzyme Q10) on breast cancer cells in vitro

Palm vitamin E, tocotrienols in particular, are known to exert great anti-cancer effects on a variety of cell types. In this study, the effects of palm vitamin E, carotenoids, squalene and coenzyme Q10 were studied on two human breast cancer cell lines. All compounds caused anti-proliferative effect in vitro but tocotrienols (compounds and isomers) were generally more potent. The results show that the anticancer effects of palm vitamin E were more pronounced when these were used on their own rather than in combination with other phytonutrients (carotenoids, squalene and coenzyme Q10). The palm phytonutrient complex, which contains all the tested phytonutrients did not appear to exert better antiproliferative effects compared to the individual compounds. Our results show that tocotrienols, as well as other phytonutrients (carotenoids, squalene and coenzyme Q10), have anti-proliferative effects on breast cancer cells but different and antagonistic mechanisms may be employed in combination.

Efficacy of bafog-1 (s), formulated local Bacillus thuringiensis for controlling bagworm, Pteroma pendula (Lepidoptera: Psychidae)

A study on the efficacy of Bafog-1 (S), a formulated, local strain of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) applied via fogging was carried out both in the laboratory and the field, against the bagworm species Pteroma pendula. Laboratory assay of Bafog-1 (S) using five different treatments showed that the Bafog-1 (S) at the highest dose of 2.36 x 1012 cfu ml-1 and ratio of Bafog-1 (S):diesel;1:1 (v/v) killed as high as 78.6% P. pendula at seven days after treatment (DAT). In field trials, the effectiveness of Bafog-1 (S) in controlling the bagworm was compared with a commercial Bt product. The field trial was conducted in an estate at Hutan Melintang, Perak, covering a total area of 12 ha. Based on a Student’s t-test, with one-tailed distribution, the total bagworm populations (larvae + pupae) in Bafog-1 (S) and Dipel ES plots were significantly reduced (P<0.05) from 569 bagworms per frond (BPF) and 668 BPF at 0 DAT to 266 BPF and 432 BPF at 14 DAT, respectively. The results indicated that the efficacy of Bafog-1 (S) was comparable to the commercial Bt.

Palm oil clarification using evaporation

A palm oil milling process to facilitate the treatment of the effluent discharged using zero-discharge technology cost-effectively has eluded the industry despite intensive efforts over several decades. A novel clarification process that significantly reduces the quantity of effluent discharged may provide the impetus for revolutionising the treatment, disposal and utilisation of effluent in palm oil mills. In the new process, a two-phase decanter is used to remove as much suspended solids as possible from undiluted press liquor to facilitate oil-sludge separation without the addition of water. Further, by making use of the large amount of oil in the feed as a fluidising agent, it is possible to use a multiple-effect evaporator system to remove a significant amount of water in the incoming feed in an energy-efficient manner. Oil-sludge separation after evaporation is to be achieved using equipment similar to that used in a conventional palm oil mill. The article examines the technical viability of the new clarification process based on pilot plant studies and explores its potential for making palm oil mills more environmental-friendly.

Characteristics of Malaysian palm kernel and its products

The chemical and physical characteristics of Malaysian palm kernel and its products are discussed in this article. The main products derived from palm kernel are palm kernel oil, palm kernel olein and palm kernel stearin whereas the by-products are palm kernel meal and palm kernel fatty acid distillate. The major composition of the kernel is oil (49%), followed by carbohydrate (26.1%), protein and crude fibre (8% each). The major triacylglycerol content in palm kernel oil and its fraction is trilaurin. Even though palm kernel oil is highly saturated, its melting point (27.3°C-28.0°C) is relatively low due to high proportion of short chain fatty acids. The range of iodine value of palm kernel oil is 16.5 to 18.75, whilst for its fraction, palm kernel olein and stearin, is 20.6 minimum and 8.0 maximum respectively. The residue after mechanical pressing is known as palm kernel meal, contains carbohydrate (50.3%), protein (19.8%), crude fibre (16.7%) and oil (8%), which made it suitable for animal feed application. The major component of palm kernel fatty acid distillate (a by-product of palm kernel oil refining) is total fatty matter (95%). Some insights on the quality requirement of palm kernel products based on Malaysian Standards are also discussed in this article.

Performance of polymeric membranes for phospholipid removal from residual palm fibre oil/hexane miscella

Palm pressed fibre, a by-product from the processing of crude palm oil contains about 5%-8% residual oil (on dry basis). The oil contains a high amount of minor components such as phospholipids, carotenes and vitamin E. This study investigates the ability of polymeric membranes to remove phospholipid from residual palm fibre oil/hexane miscella. The performance of 10 kDa polyethersulphone (PES), 20 kDa PES and 30 kDa polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membranes were evaluated. A detailed evaluation on 30 kDa PVDF showed that permeate flux increases with the increase of operating pressure, temperature and agitation speed. Increasing operating pressure from 2 to 6 bar with a temperature of 40°C and speed of 300 rpm resulted in the retention of phospholipids from 81% to 95%. The resistance of the membrane due to concentration polarisation ranged from 30.6 to 97.0 x 1012 m-1 which gave 79% – 84% of total resistance values indicating significant influence on the permeate flux. A complete 23 experimental design indicated statistically that the increased pressure, temperature and agitation speed resulted in a higher permeate flux. An increase in pressure and agitation speed also increased the retention of phospholipid. However, the regression model obtained from this study showed that the temperature had a negative effect on the retention of phospholipid.

A high-throughput flow cytometry method for ploidy determination in oil palm

Non-euploid seedlings occur naturally in many plant species including oil palm but at frequencies usually considered too low for practical purposes. A flow cytometry method is described that overcomes the difficulty of exploiting such low frequency events and provides a practical plant breeding methodology to identify noneuploids/ haploids within large sample sizes. In addition, the efficiency of detecting non-euploid seedlings can also be increased greatly by a pre-screen for abnormal phenotypes. Oil palm is relatively difficult to analyse via flow cytometry as tissue disruption initiates secondary metabolite production which interferes with the analyte and data capture. The addition of dithiothreitol and polyvinylpyrrolidone during sample preparation, followed by cold incubation, prior to analysis overcomes these problems. The high-throughput method developed allows the analysis of 1000 samples per day per flow cytometer. The number of haploids produced by this method rivals that of other haploid production systems and is currently the only known method of generating haploids in oil palm. Additionally, the method for oil palm is not season dependent and may be performed all year round. The method can be applied to other species and provides a practical means of harvesting naturally occurring non-euploid. The seedlings selected using this methodology can be grown, thus making the method applicable to a range of species and disciplines including evolutionary studies of speciation of polyploids, reproductive biology, embryology and the production of haploids and doubled haploids for genetic studies and plant breeding of oil palm.