Category Archives: 2014 Vol 26 Sept

Elaeidobius kamerunicus: APPLICATION OF HATCH AND CARRY TECHNIQUE FOR INCREASING OIL PALM FRUIT SET

The population of Elaeidobius kamerunicus Faust and its aggressiveness have been on a decline in Indonesia in recent years. This situation has affected the oil palm fruit set. Hatch and carry technique was developed to solve this problem. Larvae and pupae of E. kamerunicus present in post anthesis male inflorescences were allowed to hatch in boxes. The hatched adults were sprayed with high viability (≥ 60%) pollens and then released in targeted oil palm plantation. After two months, the population of E. kamerunicus in the male inflorescences increased from 2571 weevils per hectare to 51 908 weevils per hectare. The frequency of visits by E. kamerunicus to anthesising female inflorencences also increased from 32 weevils per bunch to 604 weevils per bunch. As a result, the fruit set of oil palm up to a distance of 200 m from the hatch and carry boxes increased between 15.04% to 21.05%.

INHERITANCE OF SSR AND SNP LOCI IN AN OIL PALM INTERSPECIFIC HYBRID BACKCROSS (BC2) POPULATION

The oil palm species, Elaeis oleifera although it produces lower oil yield than its African counterpart Elaeis guineensis, does possess certain unique traits that are of interest to breeders. E. oleifera has slower annual height increment, higher level of carotenoids and unsaturated fatty acids. A number of interspecific hybrid crossing programmes have been initiated to introgress the unique characteristics of E. oleifera into high yielding planting materials. As such, an appropriate backcross interspecific hybrid population (BC2) could be used to develop genetic maps and identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) linked to traits of interest, which will be potentially helpful in reducing the number of breeding cycles. The objective of this study was to determine the heritability of SSR and SNP loci in oil palm. Seventy-five palms from a BC2 population were selected as the mapping population. A total of 4966 (4451 SNP and 515 SSR) markers were screened and 2135 (43%) were polymorphic and mostly contributed by the female parent. The level of polymorphism exhibited by the BC2 population was similar for both marker systems. Genotyping results revealed a sufficient number of co-dominant polymorphic markers that are important in genetic mapping studies. Chi-square test showed that 87.6% of the markers were in accordance to the expected Mendelian segregation ratios. The results indicated that they are stably inherited and suitable for genetic mapping studies and also have proven to be useful as fingerprinting tools to assess the genetic purity in controlled crosses.

EVALUATION OF INTER-SIMPLE SEQUENCE REPEAT (ISSR) MARKERS FOR GENETIC MAPPING OF AN OIL PALM INTERSPECIFIC HYBRID MAPPING POPULATION

Inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers were evaluated for mapping onto the genetic linkage map of an oil palm interspecific hybrid mapping population (Elaeis oleifera × E. guineensis). The genetic linkage of the markers was determined using the two-way pseudo-testcross strategy and the parental map was constructed using JoinMap 4.0. A total of 36 informative ISSR markers consisting of 20 singleprimers and 16 double-primers were genotyped and generated 41 scorable polymorphic bands. Of these 41 polymorphic markers, 39 segregated in the E. guineensis male parent (T128) and only two segregated in the E. oleifera female parent (UP1026). As there were insufficient number of markers generated for UP1026, only the linkage map for T128 could be constructed. Twenty-eight of the ISSR markers were successfully mapped on the T128 parental map together with the existing RFLP, AFLP and SSR markers. Overall, 25 linkage groups covering a total map length of 2402.6 cM with an average interval of 7.1 cM were constructed in this study. Eight ISSR markers were incorporated into six of the 18 linkage groups, while 20 ISSR formed seven small groups separately. The ISSR markers were mostly mapped at the distal ends of linkage groups, regions which were generally not accessible by the other marker systems. This study demonstrated that ISSR markers are useful in combination with other markers for genetic mapping in oil palm. The ISSR primers with CT repeats developed from the dinucleotide 3’- anchored sites also showed the highest level of polymorphism. Furthermore, the development of ISSR markers is comparatively simple, fast, cost-effective and shows reproducibility, thus revealing its potential for genetic analyses of oil palm.

UREA FRACTIONATION OF USED PALM OIL METHYL ESTERS

Urea has shown a remarkable ability in forming well-defined and easy-to-handle crystalline complexes. In general, the use of urea as a ligand provides efficient separation in fat with a wide variety of straight chain compounds but is not applicable to fat containing branched or cyclic compounds. This study was conducted to investigate the fractionation of used frying oil (palm-based) methyl esters (UFOME) with urea and the separation profile according to their degree of unsaturation. A comparison on the effectiveness of fractionation was made with the increment of the treatment level of urea. The urea was added at different ratios (UFOME: urea, w/w) i.e. 1:0.5, 1:0.75 and 1:1. It was found that the most effective fractionation of the unsaturated methyl esters (ME) was achieved when the treatment level of UFOME: urea was 1:0.75. The unsaturated ME was enriched from 58.81% to 88.03% after the urea fractionation. The enriched unsaturated ME will be a useful feedstock for oleochemicals and other processes requiring high level of unsaturation in their fatty acyl chain.

NANOSTRUCTURED LIPID CARRIERS (NLC) FOR EFFICIENT DELIVERY OF PALM PHYTONUTRIENTS

Palm phytonutrients found in crude palm oil consist of carotenes and tocols as well as other minor components including sterols, squalene, ubiquinones, coenzyme Q10 and phospholipids. Palm phytonutrients contains all the naturally occurring phytonutrients present in crude palm oil, whereas commercially available individual phytonutrients, such as Gold-tri E and Tocomin 50% mainly consist of palm tocotrienols. The encapsulation of palm phytonutrients by nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC) was investigated using Transmission Electron Microscopy. NLC was proven to effectively encapsulate palm phytonutrients in oil droplets. Based on the particle size analysis and rheological study, NLC was found to be the most physically stable delivery system when compared to the macro-emulsion and the nano-emulsion carriers. The long-term chemical stability of the palm phytonutrient using β-carotene as the prototype active in NLC was also determined. The degradation of β-carotene in NLC was lower when compared to the macro-emulsion and the nano-emulsion carriers. The efficacy of NLC as a delivery system and the effect of the addition of lecithin and propylene glycol to the NLC formulation were also studied. The parameters investigated were skin hydration and trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). NLC with the presence of 1% lecithin and 2% propylene glycol were found to enhance skin hydration and prevent water loss.

EFFECT OF GLYCEROL DERIVED CO-SURFACTANT ON THE TERNARY PHASE BEHAVIOUR OF PALM-BASED MICROEMULSIONS

An oil-in-water (O/W) microemulsion was prepared by mixing palm-based methyl esters (PME) with water at a 25:75 by weight ratio. The microemulsion was stabilised with C12-14 fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAE) with 7 and 2 moles of ethylene oxide (EO), and palm-methyl ester sulphonate (MES) as mixed surfactants, and glycerol-derived co-surfactant (GTBE) and conventional 1,2-hexanediol as the cosurfactants. The mixtures were agitated vigorously and then stored at ambient temperature and 45oC. Phase behaviour of the ternary-phase systems was periodically observed using the polarised light sheets. The ternary phase diagrams were then mapped. The physical characterisations of any stable microemulsions, such as the conductivity and viscosity solutions were also determined. The optimum concentrations of mixed surfactants (MES/ FAE 7/ FAE 2) and GTBE to form stable microemulsions were 20% (w/w) and 10% (w/w), respectively. A larger microemulsion region was also obtained for other system consisting of mixed surfactants (FAE 7/ FAE 2) and GTBE with the optimum concentrations of mixed surfactants and co-surfactant for producing full microemulsions were 15% (w/w) and 10% (w/w), respectively. Physical characterisations of the stable microemulsion solutions showed that the conductivity values depended on the content of aqueous solution, while the viscosity values on the physical structures of microemulsion formation.

PREPARATION AND CHARACTERISATION OF ACTIVATED CARBON FROM PALM KERNEL SHELL BY PHYSICAL ACTIVATION WITH STEAM

Granular activated carbon was produced from palm kernel shell using commercial scale carbonisation and activation systems. Carbonisation was carried out using kiln earth system while activation took place in a commercial scale rotary kiln. Steam was used as oxidising agent during activation process with temperature range from 900oC to 1000oC. Palm kernel shell activated carbon was characterised based on proximate and ultimate analyses, thermal stability, chemical functional groups, and surface area. Scanning electron microscope was used to determine the surface morphology of the carbon products. It was found that palm kernel shell is a suitable material to produce activated charcoal owing to its low ash content (2.3 wt %) but high in carbon and volatile content, 23 wt % and 61.7%, respectively. The maximum thermal stability was observed up to 700oC for palm kernel shell activated carbon and raw palm kernel shell but 600oC for palm kernel shell charcoal. The Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area of palm kernel shell activated carbon produced in this study is 607.76 m² g-1 with 541.76 m² g-1 micropore area; this is comparable to commercial activated carbon with BET surface area of 690.92 m² g-1 with 469.08 m² g-1 micropore area. From the adsorption experiment, palm kernel shell activated carbon could remove up to 80.7% of chemical oxygen demand with 8.83 mg g-1 adsorption capacity; this is comparable to the performance of commercial activated carbon available in the market. The results of this study proved that good quality activated carbon can be produced from palm kernel shell.

ISOLATION OF A PARTIAL cDNA CLONE CODING FOR Ganoderma boninense pde

Ganoderma is white rot fungus that causes a major disease in oil palm. Control measures that have been introduced have not been able to curb the disease effectively. Efforts are underway to uncover more information on the Ganoderma-oil palm interaction, especially at the molecular level. During plant infection, a few genes are highly expressed in fungus and have been suggested to be related or involved in fungal pathogenicity. One of these genes is the phospholipid-transporting ATPase (pde). In Magnaporthe grisea, its protein has been suggested to be associated with hyphae development and proliferation. Degenerate primers were designed based on the conserved regions of the gene. These primers were successfully used to amplify a 544 bp cDNA fragment from Ganoderma boninense. DNA sequence analysis showed the fragment has about 80% similarity to other plant pathogenic fungus pde genes.

ADVANCES IN THE CONTROL OF RHINOCEROS BEETLE, Oryctes rhinoceros IN OIL PALM – Review Article

Oryctes rhinoceros is an important pest attacking young oil palms in South-east Asia. In Malaysia, in addition to well-known breeding sites it is able to multiply in shredded chipped old oil palm trunk material in replant areas, also in empty fruit bunches. The aggregation pheromone ethyl 4-methyloctanoate is produced by males of O. rhinoceros (also by the similar pest O. monoceros in Africa), and is used in traps as an important component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and in ecological studies. In Malaysia, the incidence of endemic entomopathogens can be increased. The fungus Metarhizium anisopliae is available for use as a biopesticide against immature stages in breeding sites and may be distributed by adults. The molecular and ultrastructure of Oryctes Nudivirus (OrNV) has been extensively studied. It kills larvae and is disseminated by adults. New PCR techniques may enable reliable estimates of the quantity of virions in experimental dosages ingested and hence of the virulence of different isolates. It is possible one isolate when released may out compete another.