Category Archives: 2015 Vol 27 Sept

OIL PALM (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) IMPROVEMENT: POLLEN ASSESSMENT FOR BETTER CONSERVATION AND GERMINATION

Planting of improved Elaeis guineensis seeds to increase oil production is a sustainable strategy to mitigate the impact of crop-based demand for bioenergy. But breeders need a quality pollen stock for successful hybridisation of outcrossing plants. This study was carried out to determine suitable conditions for in vitro germination and conservation of oil palm pollen. Performance of pollen germination was measured in three distinct culture media: Brewbaker and Kwack (BK), Heslop-Harrison (HH), and Arnaud (FA) media, each supplemented with seven sucrose concentration [suc] (0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%) for five incubation durations (1-5 hr). Optimal germination scores of 73%, 41% and 39% for BK (15% [suc]), HH and FA (10% [suc]) were obtained respectively after 3 hr of incubation at 38°C. Fresh pollen was also treated to four moisture content (MC) ranges: 100%, 78%-70%, 65%-57% and 41%-3% [on fresh weight (FW) basis]. In vitro germination scores of 81%, 83%, 56% and 29% were obtained respectively when cultured in BK (15% [suc]) after 3 hr of incubation. After 50 days of storage, pollen with MC 78%-70% scored in vitro germination of 70% and 3% at -20°C and 10°C, respectively. These results precisely determine optimal conditions for oil palm pollen ex situ conservation thereby optimising its usage.

TREATABILITY OF OIL PALM FROND AND RUBBER WOOD CHIPS WITH UREA FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SLOW RELEASE FERTILISER

Treatability of a material is fundamental in determining how much chemicals or fillers are retained in the material before it can be used for slow release fertiliser. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of urea retention in oil palm frond and rubber wood chips treated at different urea concentrations using pressure and non-pressure treatments. Treatability of the materials was calculated based on weight percent gain. Comparative nutrient contents of the impregnated chips were also determined. Oil palm frond and rubber wood chips were treated separately with three different concentrations of urea solution (5%, 10% and 15% w/v) using vacuum-pressure or soaking process. The results showed that type of material, treatment process and urea concentration significantly affect weight percent gain. Regardless of treatment combinations, oil palm frond chips had higher urea retention compared to rubber wood chips. For nutrient contents, treated rubber wood chips attained higher carbon content while treated oil palm frond chips had higher N content. Within the range of urea concentration studied, treatment with 15% urea using vacuumpressure process was found to be the most efficient treatment combination in the development of wood waste slow release fertiliser. The release pattern of nitrogen from both oil palm frond chips and rubber wood chips proved that these materials are suitable for the development of slow release fertiliser.

AGGRESSIVENESS OF Ganoderma boninense AND G. zonatum ISOLATED FROM UPPER- AND BASAL STEM ROT OF OIL PALM (Elaeis guineensis) IN MALAYSIA

Currently, the most known devastating oil palm disease throughout South-east Asia is basal stem rot (BSR) caused by Ganoderma boninense. However, there is insufficient information on G. zonatum which also has been associated with the BSR, and upper stem rot (USR). Thus, this study reports pathological symptoms and degree of aggressiveness amongst G. zonatum and G. boninense of USR and BSR on oil palm seedlings. All the Ganoderma isolates tested showed positive signs of infection on the seedlings at 12 and up to 24 weeks after inoculation. However, the symptoms of infection on the seedlings were indistinguishable amongst the Ganoderma species tested. In fact, they showed significantly different degree of aggressiveness in terms of area under disease progress curve (AUDPC), epidemic rate, severity of foliar symptoms (SFS), disease severity index (DSI), stem bole necrosis and primary roots necrosis. The present findings suggested that G. zonatum of USR was the most aggressive, followed by G. zonatum and G. boninense of BSR, and G. boninense of USR was the least aggressive. Hence, a new mechanism of control strategies is urgently required to contain the disease from spreading especially for USR and also for G. zonatum in Malaysia.

COMPOSTING OF OIL PALM BIOMASS: FOURIER TRANSFORM-INFRARED AND THERMOGRAVIMETRY ANALYSES

This study investigates the effects of composting conditions on the chemical characteristics of compost from oil palm biomass. Three samples each of empty fruit bunches (EFB), palm oil mill effluent (POME) and compost were collected from three compost plants in Malaysia. The plants employed open windrow composting system. The Fourier transform-infrared spectra and thermogravimetry analysis were used to analyse the samples. It was found that composting resulted in the loss of aliphatic structures by formation of aromatic structures. This led to a stronger intramolecular bond and subsequently increased the stability of compost. The results of the study showed that the use of shredded EFB for composting is the most efficient way to produce compost. It required 55% less amount of time as compared to untreated EFB and 60% less amount of time as compared to treatment without addition of microbes.

EFFICACY OF SOME COMMERCIAL LIPASES IN HYDROLYSIS OF PALM OLEIN FOR THE PRODUCTION OF FREE FATTY ACIDS AND DIACYLGLYCEROL OIL

Palm olein, which is an abundant cheap vegetable oil, can be used for production of value-added products such as free fatty acids (FFA) and diacylglycerol (DAG) oil. In this study, the efficacy of four commercial lipases (Lipase A, Lipase AY, Lipozyme RM IM and Lipozyme TL IM) and one phospholipase (Lecitase Ultra) in hydrolysis of palm olein was investigated. Lecitase Ultra and Lipozyme RM IM were the most selective enzymes towards hydrolysis of saturated fatty acids. Lipozyme TL IM was found to be selective towards unsaturated fatty acids. Lipase A and Lipase AY were almost non-selective. At optimum hydrolysis condition, FFA and DAG oil yields of 55.0%-94.5% and 5.5%-45.0% were obtained, respectively. The highest FFA or DAG oil yields were obtained using Lecitase Ultra (94.5%) and Lipase AY (45.0%), respectively. The DAG oils contained 39.0%-42.2% DAG and had higher slip melting point, solid fat content and iodine value, and lower content of saturated fatty acids than palm olein. Totally, Lecitase Ultra may be of importance due to its high FFA yield and saturated fatty acid selectivity. However, when a high yield of DAG oil is of interest, Lipase AY will be the best choice.

CONVERSION OF FATTY ACID FEEDSTOCKS TO 2-OXAZOLINE

A sustainable and clean synthesis of 2-oxazolines from different fatty acids is described in this article. Various small (C6 and C8), medium (C10 and C12) and long chain (C16 and C18) fatty acids were reacted with 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol in the presence of Hβ-zeolite under microwave irradiation. The Hβ-zeolite was used both as a catalyst and a support to facilitate the cyclisation and dehydration reactions leading to 2-oxazoline formation. Yields of the corresponding 2-oxazolines were 68%-94%. The work-up and purification method presented here is safe, and high yielding. Experimental results also indicated that smaller aliphatic acids viz, acetic acid, butyric acid, and valeric acid did not yield the expected products as they are too small to be retained inside the cavity of Hβ-zeolite.

1,3-DIPALMITOYL-2-OLEOYLGLYCEROL, 1,3-DISTEAROYL-2-OLEOYLGLYCEROL AND TRIOLEOYLGLYCEROL DO NOT DIFFER IN THEIR EFFECTS ON POSTPRANDIAL LEVELS OF PLASMINOGEN ACTIVATOR INHIBITOR-1 AND MARKERS OF INFLAMMATION IN HEALTHY MALAYSIAN ADULTS

The 1,3-dipalmitoyl-2-oleoylglycerol (POP), 1,3-distearoyl-2-oleoylglycerol (SOS) and trioleoylglycerol (OOO)- type of fats have different melting characteristics that may affect postprandial haemostatic and inflammatory marker concentrations. We tested the hypothesis that the predominance of either palmitic acid (16:0), stearic
acid (18:0) or oleic acid (18:1) at the sn-1 and sn-3 positions of edible fats has different effects on postprandial haemostatic and inflammatory responses. Each of the 36 healthy adults (18 males, 18 females) received three different test muffins [each containing 53 g of test fat, i.e. palm mid-fraction (PMF; POP-rich), shea stearin(SS; SOS-rich) or high-oleic sunflower oil (HOSF; OOO-rich)] on different mornings in random order separated by two weeks. During a postprandial test, each subject was provided with a test muffin plus a low-fat milkshake (total 3.67 MJ or 876 kcal) in the morning and blood samples were collected at half-hourly intervals until 4.0 hr. Overall, no significant difference (p>0.017) was observed between the three test meals for postprandial responses in plasma PAI-1, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumour necrosis factor–α (TNF-α)levels. The POP-SOS and OOO- type of tests fats induced similar postprandial responses in haemostatic and inflammatory markers measured in the present subjects.

DETERMINATION OF VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS IN PALM-BASED POLYURETHANE FOAMS USING STATIC HEADSPACE GAS CHROMATOGRAPHY MASS SPECTROMETER

Volatile organic compounds (VOC), in combination with other environmental factors, are potential health and environmental hazards. Studies have shown that an abundance of VOC were released from home and personal care products, building and transportation materials. A direct method employing a static headspace sampler (HS), a gas chromatography (GC) and a mass spectrometer detector (MS) has been developed and validated for semi-quantitative analysis of VOC emitted from palm-based polyurethane (PU) foams. In this method, PU foams were heated and the volatiles were extracted and then analysed by GC-MS. The conditions of the HS-GC-MS system were optimised to achieve high recovery and sensitivity. Method validation was performed and it demonstrated an average recovery of 95% and 89% for DABCO 33LV and NIAX A1 (volatile amines), respectively. The limit of detection was 0.66 ppm while the limit of quantitation was 1.32 ppm. Analyses performed on commercial and palm-based PU foams showed that the concentration of overall VOC detected did not exceed the limits set by car manufacturers (maximum at 50 ppm). The VOC detected were mainly DABCO 33LV and NIAX A1. The method developed was found to be effective and considered rapid without laborious sample preparation and can be used by PU manufacturers to monitor the level of VOC in their products.

A SIMPLE AND RAPID PROTOCOL FOR ISOLATION OF GENOMIC DNA FROM OIL PALM LEAF TISSUE

Molecular genetic studies in oil palm require a cost and time effective method to extract sufficient amount of genomic DNA from a large number of samples. A simplified protocol was developed to isolate high quality DNA from immature spear leaves of Elaeis guineensis. The method was modified from a previously described protocol. The modifications involved increasing the amount of starting material to 2g, grinding the samples in liquid nitrogen, and inclusion of 2% PVP-40, ascorbic acid, DIECA, and 1% β-mercaptoethanol into the lysis buffer. The RNAse treatment was also included to improve the quality of DNA. This method successfully yielded higher amount of DNA that was similar in quality to that prepared using the conventional protocol. The DNA was also suitable for simple sequence repeat (SSR) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses.

INFLUENCE OF pH ON THE ACYLATION OF L-HYDROXYPROLINE WITH PALMITOYL CHLORIDE IN AN AQUEOUS ACETONE MEDIUM

Acylation reactions under Schotten-Bauman condition depend largely on the pH of the reaction medium. When the pH of the reaction medium was 9.0-10.0, the acylation of 0.1 mol of hydroxyproline with 2.5 mol of palmitoyl chloride in an aqueous acetone medium gave O-palmitoyl hydroxyproline and palmitic acid. In another reaction at a pH of 10.5-13.0, a small portion of the formed O-palmitoyl hydroxyproline was converted into N,O-di-palmitoyl hydroxyproline which is only between the range of 4.79% to 10.78%. However, at more higher pH values, the N-acylation reaction competed with hydrolysis of the formed O-palmitoyl hydroxyproline to regenerate palmitic acid and L-hydroxyproline which resulted in the reduction of percentage of N,O-di-palmitoyl hydroxyproline of 9.00%.

MOLECULAR TECHNIQUE IDENTIFICATION OF THE MICROBIAL POPULATION IN PALM OIL MILL EFFLUENT (POME)

Bioconversion of palm oil mill effluent (POME) to generate methane gas via anaerobic digestion involves a consortium of microbes which are responsible in several steps of the biodegradation process. In this study, the microbial community from a selected POME was characterised via molecular techniques and through culture-based plating in order to determine their composition, and subsequently understand their function in the anaerobic community. Genomic DNA of the microbial community was extracted using direct extraction technique, followed by PCR targeting the 16S rDNA region. Distinct fragments of approximately 1100 bp in sizes were successfully amplified using PCR and cloned onto Escherichia coli XL-1 Blue. Upon sequencing of the fragments, BLAST queries identified the bacteria as Thermoanaerobacterium sp. In addition, two other bacterial species were successfully isolated from the POME by culturing on DVS agar. The sequencing result of these bacterial isolates showed both isolates belonged to the Bacillus genus. By understanding the bacterial community present in the POME, this will lead to the improvement of the anaerobic digestion process to enhance the production of biogas such as methane.

PALM DIHYDROXYSTEARIC ACID (DHSA): A MULTIFUNCTIONAL INGREDIENT FOR VARIOUS APPLICATIONS — Review Article

Palm dihydroxystearic acid (DHSA) is derived by catalytic reaction from palm oil-based or palm kernel oil-based oleic acid, vegetal renewable sources of many interesting ingredients. Once crystallised, the product is off-white in colour, tasteless with a slight acid smell and is non-irritant to the skin. The DHSA structure is peculiar as it contains a carboxyl group and two hydroxyl groups at the 9 and 10 positions of the C18 carbon chain. Such structure leads to many interesting applications. When used in cosmetics, it significantly changes the properties of oily phases and wax gels. It can also interact strongly with the solid surfaces of pigments and inorganic fillers, leading to better colour development, long lasting skin adhesion- and better pay-off properties. Such a combination of properties and effects lead to many interesting applications particularly for cosmetics. As an additive in a transparent soap formulation, DHSA has been found to enhance the transparency of the soap. Besides, DHSA is also a potential feedstock for various derivatives through substitution reactions onto one, two or all three reactive sites. Some alkyl esters from DHSA have been studied, which show exceptional skin feel and powder binding capability. Metallic soaps of DHSA have shown pigment coating capability and a set of different properties when compared to the usual metallic stearates. Many more derivatives such as monoglycerides, estolides, alkanoamides, have been derived from DHSA to exploit all the possible derivatisation potential of DHSA. Hence, the aim of this article is to review all the works on palm DHSA that have been done so far in the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) under the purview of the value addition strategy.