Category Archives: 2016 Vol 28 Sept

EFFECTS OF SUBSTITUTING PALM OLEIN WITH CARBOHYDRATES ON INSULIN SENSITIVITY: A REVIEW – Review Article

The role of palm olein on insulin resistance, which predisposes to disease progression of type 2 diabetes, is unclear. This article summarises the effects of substituting palm olein with carbohydrates on insulin sensitivity. Two intervention studies have reported conflicting findings. The RISCK (Reading, Imperial, Surreys, Cambridge and King’s) study suggested that saturated fat-enriched diet consisting of mainly palm oil and milk fat did not differ from both high and low glycemic carbohydrates on insulin sensitivity in subjects at risk of developing metabolic syndrome. However, another study reported reduced insulin sensitivity after a diet enriched with palm olein and butter compared with high carbohydrate intake. No epidemiological data exists in this context. More clinical trials using solely palm olein in this area are needed. Further well-controlled large scale studies are needed to furnish the information on palm olein replacement with carbohydrates in diabetes prevention.

COMPARISON OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF BASTA, BIALAPHOS AND GLUFOSINATE AMMONIUM FOR SELECTING TRANSFORMED OIL PALM TISSUES

One of the important requirements for producing transgenic plants is the ability to isolate true transformed cells and regenerate into complete plants without chimera and escapes. Therefore, an efficient selection process is essential. In this study, three different selection agents, namely Basta, bialaphos and glufosinate ammonium were evaluated on embryogenic calli and embryoids, for their effectiveness on selecting transformed oil palm tissues. Untransformed tissues were used in this study as the minimal concentrations which inhibit the growth of the tissues would be the optimum concentrations for selecting the transformed cells. Based on this study, the growth of embryogenic calli was shown to be fully inhibited at 10 mg litre-1 of Basta. Meanwhile, only 3 mg litre-1 of bialaphos and glufosinate ammonium are needed to inhibit the embryogenic calli. For oil palm embryoid cultures, the minimal concentration for Basta was determined at 20 mg litre-1 as compared to 5 mg litre-1 for bialaphos and glufosinate ammonium. This result indicated that a higher concentration of Basta is needed to completely inhibit the growth of oil palm tissues as compared to bialaphos and glufosinate ammonium. Furthermore, these observations revealed that embryogenic calli are more sensitive to the three selection agents as compared to embryoids. The information gained from this study will be used as a guideline to increase the efficiency for selecting transformed oil palm cells and producing transgenic oil palm.

INFECTIVITY OF Oryctes NUDIVIRUS PRODUCED ON CELL CULTURE DSIR HA-1179 AGAINST LARVAE AND ITS EFFECTS ON FEEDING OF NEONATES OF RHINOCEROS BEETLE, Oryctes rhinoceros

The Oryctes nudivirus (OrNV) is a classical biocontrol agent for a major oil palm insect pest the rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros. The infectivity of three Malaysian indigenous types of OrNV types A, B and C were tested on larvae and neonates. On larvae, the peroral inoculation test technique indicated that the highest mortality of 100% was achieved using type A produced from cell culture DSIR-HA-1179, while the highest infectivity of 41.7% was recorded for type A prepared from infected guts. No differences in infectivity were observed on other treatments, which ranged from 13.1% to 41.7%. In the substrate contamination inoculation test technique, results showed that the level of infectivity was even lower in all OrNV treatments, ranging as low as 6.7% to only 15.0%. Low infectivity was mainly due to inactivation of virus inocula in the larval food substrates. Based on the results for both inoculation methods, the OrNV type C prepared from cell culture DSIR-HA-1179 was found more effective in controlling the L3 larvae than the other types of OrNV. The impact of OrNV infection on food consumption by the neonates was studied. The feeding of inoculated neonates with OrNV reduced rapidly, especially at the early stage of the experiment between eight days after treatment (DAT) to 16 DAT. At this period, the food consumption by all tested OrNV was rapidly reduced and maintained low until the experiment ended at 60 DAT. The highest feeding reduction rate was on neonates treated by type A (-0.074x) followed by neonates treated by type C (-0.053x) and type B (-0.035x). Therefore, it was suggested that besides on highly virulent, the selection of OrNV for field release should also based on high reduction rate on food consumption by the infected insects on plant hosts.

EVALUATION OF COLD TOLERANT HIGH YIELDING OIL PALM GERMPLASM IN GUANGDONG PROVINCE OF SOUTH CHINA, A NORTHERN TROPICAL REGION

An evaluation of the vegetative growth, yield components and cold resistance traits from 38 pre-selected individual oil palm plants grown in six regions (populations) at the latitude (LAT) range between 20°N and 23°N in Guangdong Province, China was carried out during the period from April 2010 to April 2015. Analysis of variance showed significant differences in traits between the individual palms or the populations [except sex-ratio of female inflorescence and fruit bunch to female inflorescence, male inflorescence and fruit bunch (%) (SR)]. Phenotypic correlation analysis showed that bunch number (NB) was positively correlated with fresh fruit bunch (FFB), but not significantly with average bunch weight (ABW). For the individual palms, it was found that the higher the LAT the lower the frond production (FP) and LT50 and the higher fruit compaction rate (FCR), and the higher the LT50 the lower the ABW. For the populations, the higher the LAT the higher the ABW and the lower the abortion ratio of female inflorescence to female inflorescence and fruit bunch (%) (RAFM). Path coefficient analysis further revealed that for the individual palms ABW was the major determinant in both FFB and NB, and mainly determined by normal fruit higher per bunch (kg) (ANFW) and percent of ANFW to ABW (%) (F/B). For the populations, the major determining factors were ratio of aborted fruit bunch to fruit bunch (%) (ABR) for FFB and NB, and inflorescence (male, female, bisexual and non-anthesis) and fruit bunch numbers per year (No.) NIB and LT50 for ABW. MM5 palm and Huazhou population were selected based on the major determining factors as high-yielding cold tolerant palm and population, respectively, which was consistent with the results of analysis of variance.

DIFFERENCES IN PROKARYOTIC SPECIES BETWEEN PRIMARY AND LOGGED-OVER DEEP PEAT FOREST IN SARAWAK, MALAYSIA

Peatland has an important role in environmental sustainability which can be used for agricultural purposes. However, deforestation in the logged-over forest may disrupt the diversity of microbial population in peat soil. Therefore, this study focuses on the differences of microbial populations in Maludam primary forest and Cermat Ceria logged-over forest in Sarawak, Malaysia. The prokaryotic 16S rDNA region was amplified followed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (16S PCR-DGGE) analysis. Berger-Parker and Shannon-Weaver Biodiversity Index showed that Maludam (0.11, 7.75) was more diverse compared to Cermat Ceria (0.19, 7.63). Sequence analysis showed that the bacterial community in Maludam and Cermat Ceria were dominated by unclassified bacteria, followed by Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and α-Proteobacteria. Based on the findings, the distinct species that can be found in Maludam were Acidobacterium capsulatum, Solibacter sp., Mycobacterium intracellulare, Rhodoplanes sp., Clostridia bacterium, Exiguobacterium sp. and Lysinibacillus fusiformis. While, the distinct species that can be found in Cermat Ceria were Telmatobacter, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Bacillus tequilensis. Overall, the findings showed that microbial population in the logged-over forest are less diverse compared to primary forest. Higher prokaryotic diversity identified in the primary forest compared to logged-over forest showed that deforestation might cause prokaryotic population changes to both ecosystems.

DIVERSITY AND ACTIVITY OF INSECT NATURAL ENEMIES OF THE BAGWORM (Lepidoptera: Psychidae) WITHIN AN OIL PALM PLANTATION IN PERAK, MALAYSIA

Bagworms (Lepidoptera: Psychidae) are one of the important leaf-eating pests of oil palm in Malaysia and Indonesia. Crop losses, due to the extensive defoliation by a serious bagworm attack are inevitable. The establishment and propagation of the bagworm’s parasitoids, depend very much on species of flowering plants as sources of nectar. Cassia cobanensis, was proven suitable due to its attractiveness to most bagworm parasitoids. A study to assess the diversity of bagworm’s natural enemies (hymenopterous parasitoids and reduuvid predatory bugs) on the C. cobanensis plant and within the undergrowth of the oil palm planting block was evaluated by sweep net and sticky trap sampling. Environmental parameters such as light intensity, temperature and relative humidity were also recorded during the sampling to determine their possible range of influence towards the activity of the insect natural enemies. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index of insect natural enemies occurring on the C. cobanensis plant was 2.32. Among the dominant parasitoids observed on C. cobanensis plants are chalcids (Brachymeria lugubris and Brachymeria carinata) and braconids (Dolichogenidea metesae and Apanteles aluella), besides the reduuvid predator, Cosmolestes picticeps. In contrast, within the oil palm planting block, the undergrowth within the non-harvesting path only recorded a much lower diversity index of 1.09 and 1.12 each, in a block with C. cobanensis at the roadside and without, respectively. However, C. picticeps was shown to be much more dominant within both oil palm planting blocks, up to two- to three-fold, with much lesser numbers of hymenopterous parasitoids (less than five individuals). This indicates the important contribution of C. cobanensis plant towards enriching the diversity of the parasitoids, which are normally not found within the oil palm block, due to much less intense sunlight. In terms of insect activity, they are significantly more active in the moderate or medium light intensities (<8000 fc), medium humidity levels (50%-69%) and medium temperatures (30°C-34°C).

OSMOTIC, OXIDATIVE AND SALINITY STRESSES UPREGULATE THE EXPRESSIONS OF THIAMINE (vitamin B1) BIOSYNTHESIS GENES (THIC and THI1/THI4) IN OIL PALM (Elaeis guineensis)

Thiamine or vitamin B1 comprises a pyrimidine moiety and a thiazole moiety. Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), the active form of thiamine, acts as a cofactor for various major enzymes for example transketolase (TK), α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (KGDH) and pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH). In this study, the gene transcripts of first two enzymes in thiamine biosynthesis pathway, THIC and THI1/THI4 were identified and amplified from oil palm tissues. Primers were designed based on sequence comparison of the genes from Arabidopsis thaliana, Zea mays, Oryza sativa and Alnus glutinosa. The oil palm’s response in terms of the expression profiles of these two thiamine biosynthesis genes to osmotic stress, salinity stress and oxidative stress were analysed in this project. This is due to the suggestion that TPP plays another important role, which is protecting plants against abiotic and biotic stresses. Both THIC and THI1/THI4 gene transcripts were successfully amplified and the expressions of the gene transcripts were detected using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The levels of expressions were measured and the results showed that the expression of THIC gene transcripts showed increase in gene expression in conjunction with increase concentration of stress inducer.

MICROBIAL ASSISTED PHYTOREMEDIATION OF PALM OIL MILL FINAL DISCHARGE (POMFD) WASTEWATER

This study assesses microbial assisted phytoremediation of palm oil mill final discharge (POMFD) wastewater using three local macrophyte species: Leersia oryzoides, Pistia stratiotes and Ludwigia peploides. It was found respectively that BOD5, COD, NH3-N removal efficiencies of 84.7%, 22.3%, and 73.5% were achieved for P. stratiotes; 88.1%, 18% and 69.2% for L. peploides; and 86.1%, 11.7% and 69.3% for L. oryzoides. The level of C, H and N in the tissue were influenced by macrophyte species and organs (p < 0.05). The bioconcentration factors (BCF) of various metals such as Mg, Ca, K, Na, Fe and Zn of the three macrophytes were 10-1 to 100 with Fe being highly accumulated in roots of all the macrophytes (BCF=102). The translocation factors (TF) of most metals from root to shoot tissues were in a range of 10-3 to 100. In comparison with other metals, K was capable to be efficiently translocated from root to shoots in all the macrophyte species (TF=100). In this study, Bacillus megaterium, Pseudomonas spp. and Bacillus cereus that are usually involved in denitrification were identified in P. stratiotes, L. pepoides and L. oryzoides roots respectively. This confirms the macrophyte-microorganism interaction in remediation of POMFD wastewater.

MALAYSIAN B5 IMPLEMENTATION AND ITS QUALITY

A quality survey of 80 samples of diesel fuels (B5) from 80 retail stations throughout Peninsular Malaysia was performed. The biodiesel contents in these B5 samples were in the range of 4.61 vol. % to 5.33 vol.%. The water contents of the samples were <200 mg kg-1, meeting the stringent water requirements recommended by the car manufacturers. In addition, all the samples exhibited superior lubricity as indicated by a much shorter wear scar diameter compared to neat diesel. More importantly, 98% of the samples passed the oxidation stability test (PetroOXY) with an induction period of >65 min. Overall, the B5 diesel fuel sold was in full compliance with the Malaysian diesel fuel standard specification.

CHEMICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MANGO (Mangifera indica L.) KERNEL OIL AND PALM OIL BLENDS FOR PROBABLE USE AS VANASPATI

Chemical characteristics of blends of palm oil and mango kernel oil for their probable use as vanaspati was studied. Crude mango kernel oil was blended with refined, bleached and deodorised palm oil from 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% (T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5) market vanaspati was used as control. Concentration of trans fatty acids in control was 22.7%, whereas, all the vanaspati samples were virtually trans-free. Slip melting points (°C) of control, T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 were 37.5, 37.3, 36.4, 35.6, 34.8 and 34. Free fatty acids of control and T5 were respectively 0.11, 0.12%. Polymer contents of control, T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 , after three heating cycles (180°C, for 8 hr) were 21.55%, 20.97%, 18.66%, 17.61% and 10.22%, respectively with lower solid fat index(p<0.05). Blends of mango kernel oil and palm oil can be used for the formulation of trans-free vanaspati.

ELUCIDATION OF TYPE OF MOLECULAR INTERACTIONS FOR THE IMPRINTING OF SHIKIMIC ACID

During the preparation of shikimic acid imprinted polymer, the effect of rebinding solution water content on the rebinding performance of shikimic acid (SA) imprinted polymer was studied. Result showed that the highest affinity toward SA was in a 100% aqueous rebinding solution, suggesting that the interactions occurred between SA and the polymer were ionic and/or hydrophobic in nature. Further study on the effect of rebinding solution pH to the SA imprinted polymer rebinding performance showed that the performance of the SA imprinted polymer depended on the rebinding solution pH and the highest affinity occurred at pH 4.0; this confirmed that ionic interaction played an important role in the rebinding of SA. Taking into account the deductions made from the combined results of the rebinding solution water content and effect of pH, together with observation of the red shift in the SA spectral during ultraviolet-visible spectroscopic titration experiments, suggest that the specificity shown by SA imprinted polymer in the aqueous solution was due to both ionic and π−π hydrophobic interactions.

QUANTIFICATION OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF CRUDE PALM KERNEL OIL – A CRADLE TO GATE STUDY

The Malaysian oil palm industry is one of the major economic backbones of the country. The industry as a whole brought in an export revenue of RM 63 billion just in the year 2015. In the past, the competiveness of palm products along the supply chain was based on direct economic comparison with other vegetable oil products. However, with increasing attention on sustainable development, the environmental performance of products are now defining issues in trade. This articles presents the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the production of crude palm kernel oil (CPKO). Crude palm oil (CPO) and CPKO both come from the oil palm fresh fruit bunch (FFB). CPO is obtained from the mesocarp of the fruit and the lauric CPKO comes from the kernel at the fruit’s core. CPO is produced in the palm oil mill while palm kernels which are the by-product of the production of CPO are transported to kernel crushing plants to be processed into CPKO. The objectives of this study are to quantify the GHG emissions for the production of CPKO and suggest the best solution to reduce the emissions if any. The system boundary starts from the production of oil palm seedlings at the nursery stage right till the production of CPKO at the kernel crushing plant which makes it a cradle to gate study. Inventory data for the production of CPKO was collected from 24 crushing plants which were located near the ports and two kernel crushing plants which were integrated with a palm oil mill. Weight allocation was performed at the kernel crushing plant. The largest GHG contribution came from upstream nursery and plantation with continued land use which amounts to 394.19 kg CO2 eq/t CPKO followed by emissions from biogas at the palm oil mill which amounts to 87.48 kg CO2 eq/t CPKO even though the scenario chosen is the biogas capture scenario. The third largest GHG emissions comes from the kernel crushing plant due to the processing of CPKO using the electricity from the grid which emits 74.33 kg CO2 eq/t CPKO. The GHG emissions from the consumption of electricity from the grid of the kernel crushing plant integrated with a palm oil mill reduced to only 7.59 kg CO2 eq/t CPKO. A sensitivity analysis on allocation was conducted. With weight allocation, the burden on CPKO was reduced compared to when economic allocation was conducted, where almost the whole burden was on CPKO. The allocation parameter seems to change the outcome of the study drastically because the volume of the palm kernel cake which is the by-product at the kernel crushing plant is high but has low economic value.

THE CATALYTIC PERFORMANCE OF Mg-A1 CATALYST IN TRANSESTERIFICATION OF GLYCEROL WITH ETHYLENE CARBONATE

The development of heterogeneous catalysts for oleochemical reactions is becoming very important, because such catalysts possess well defined catalytic active sites, which will increase catalytic activity and process efficiency. The use of hydrotalcites as heterogeneous catalyst has shown potentials in transesterification reaction due to their physico-chemical properties, such as good thermalstability, good mesoporous material, bigger surface area, good memory effect, and even balanced basicity/acidity active points. The catalytic performance of the calcined Mg-Al catalyst in the green process was developed for the conversion of glycerol to glyceryl carbonate using ethylene carbonate. The X-ray diffraction confirmed the calcined materials exhibit hydrotalcite pattern structure with surface area of 179 m2 g-1. The HT3.0c comprised of Mg:Al composition of 3:1 was the best catalyst. The catalyst is robust and reusable.

DEVELOPMENT OF CARRAGEENAN HYDROGEL AS A SUSTAINED RELEASE MATRIX CONTAINING TOCOTRIENOL-RICH PALM-BASED VITAMIN E

Topically applied hydrogel system as a general therapeutic mask for transdermal delivery of hydrophobic actives is not efficient due to the differences in polarity between the actives and the polymer network. This work presents a study on developing hydrogels based on carrageenan as a matrix for the delivery of a hydrophobic type of active, i.e. tocotrienol-rich palm-based vitamin E (TRPE) into the skin. The strength and flexibility of the hydrogel were increased by the inclusion of guar gum, potassium citrate and glycerine. The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) results indicated a higher quantity of water in the hydrogel with glycerine while differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) showed three types of water molecules existed in the hydrogel. The hydrogel was non-irritating according to OECD Test Guideline No. 439 for in vitro skin irritation test. The hydrogel with TRPE fluids was able to permeate the polysulfone membrane and bioavailability of TRPE improved with the inclusion of PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil mixture. Therefore, a carrageenan-based hydrogel with locust bean, guar gum, glycerine, potassium citrate and TRPE was successfully developed with good strength and flexibility and without any potential irritancy. The good bioavailability of TRPE-loaded in the hydrogel can be used for skin care application.

A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE ECOTOXICITY OF PALM-BASED METHYL ESTER SULPHONATES (MES) TO TILAPIA AND Daphnia magna

Methyl ester sulphonates (MES) is a surfactant derived from plant resources, suitable as active ingredient in detergents. MES possesses good surface-active properties, good detergency and tolerant to water hardness. In this study, the ecotoxicity of MES was evaluated through the 48 hr Daphnia magna immobilisation test and the 96 hr fish acute toxicity test with Tilapia. MES samples with different alkyl chain lengths (C14, C16 and C16:18) produced by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and commercial MES (C16:18) were tested. Results from all tests indicated that Daphnia was more sensitive to toxic effects from MES than was Tilapia. There is also significant difference in ecotoxicity responses for palm-based MES of various chain lengths regardless of the species tested. The ecotoxicity increased as the hydrophobicity of the MES increased due to increase of alkyl chain length. However, less than 30% of MES is used in detergent products and will not pose environmental effects on aquatic organisms. MES is therefore suitable for environmental compatible cleaning products in view of its ecotoxicity that is on par to the widely used anionic surfactants, such as linear alkylbenzene sulphonate (LAS). The use of MES in cleaning products may help the industry to fulfil its social responsibility to a cleaner and better environment.