Category Archives: 2021 Vol 33 March

A REVIEW ON MALAYSIAN SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL CERTIFICATION PROCESS AMONG INDEPENDENT OIL PALM SMALLHOLDERS

In recent years, palm oil faces various issues on the global market. Therefore, Malaysia launched Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification as the national scheme to systematically certify palm oil industry in Malaysia as an effort towards sustainable production as well to address some of the issues raised on the global market such as the requirement by importing countries for a completely certified sustainable palm oil supply chain. Various strategies have been developed to effectively certify independent smallholders such as the establishment of Sustainable Palm Oil Clusters (SPOC). The aim of this article is to extend knowledge and experience gained towards MSPO certification approach among independent oil palm smallholders in Malaysia. It also provides a basis for operation frameworks towards certification approach for smallholders especially in developing countries. Apart from that, this article highlights the progress and national initiatives on the establishment of MSPO certification in Malaysia. It gives insight on the challenges and way forward of MSPO certification approach in Malaysia.

LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT OF PALM OIL CLINKER AS A BINDER AND AGGREGATE REPLACEMENT IN CONCRETE

Palm oil clinker (POC) is a by-product derived from crude palm oil (CPO) production. Many studies have examined POC in concrete and it has often been stated as being environmentally sustainable. However, evidence to support these claims are not abundant in the literature. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the environmental impact of POC using a comparative, midpoints life cycle assessment approach based on 13 impact categories from ReCiPe2016. The use of POC as a binder replacement, fine aggregate and coarse aggregate was considered. Only production of cement, sand, gravel, POC and transportation were included in the system boundary. The construction, service and end-of-life phases were excluded. A volume of 1 m3 mortar or concrete with similar compressive strength was used as the functional unit. Life cycle inventory data was obtained from the literature, Malaysia Life Cycle Inventory Database (MY-LCID) and Ecoinvent database. Economic and mass allocation factors were calculated for POC. Calculations indicated that the use of POC in mortar and concrete showed reductions in all impact categories when economically allocated. When mass allocated, POC contributed minimally to all impact categories except ‘Freshwater Eutrophication’ and ‘Human Toxicity’. Despite these drawbacks, results show that use of POC resulted in an overall improvement for the environmental sustainability.

PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF A MOTORISED PALM OIL EXTRACTOR WITH QUALITY ASSESSMENT OF THE PALM OIL EXTRACTED IN COMPARISON WITH A MANUAL VERTICAL PRESS

Traditional methods of palm oil extraction from palm fruits (Elaeis guineensis) produce low quality and quantity of oil. This study sought to design, construct and test a motorised palm oil extractor with evaluation of the oil extracted in comparison with a manual vertical press. The performance parameters tested were oil extraction ratio (OER), oil extraction efficiency (OEE), machine discharge efficiency (MDE) and oil extraction losses (OEL) while the tested physiochemical parameters were free fatty acids (FFA), iodine value (IV), saponification value (SV) and peroxide value (PV). There were significant differences (p≤0.05) in OER (16.20% and 13.53%), OEE (77.13% and 64.44%) and OEL (18.30% and 24.76%) while the MDE (81.70% and 73.13%) were not significantly different (p>0.05) for the motorised and vertical press, respectively. No significant differences were observed for IV and SV while FFA showed significant differences (p≤0.05). The PV was not detected for both methods. A motorised palm oil extractor produced oil of higher quality and had higher performance efficiencies as compared to the manual vertical press. The novelty of this work was in producing an efficient equipment that is affordable to a smallholder farmer which extracts palm oil of high quality.

USING TERRAIN ALGORITHMS ON A DIGITAL ELEVATION MODEL TO EVALUATE YIELD VARIABILITY IN OIL PALM

Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) plantations face strong pressure to improve fertiliser-use efficiency. Digital soil mapping methods based on topographic analysis using globally-available digital elevation models (DEM) provide an efficient means of quantifying topography-driven variability of soil properties within oil palm plantations. The shutter radar topography mission (SRTM) global digital elevation model (GDEM) was used as the basis for modeling topography across an individual oil palm plantation. Terrain algorithms were used to model terrain attributes and generate continuous soil property maps along topographic soil classes in conjunction with georeferenced soil samples as model inputs. The resulting raster layers of soil property values were evaluated for mean error and their correlation to yield variability across the plantation. Modified catchment area (MCA), an iterative measure of a landscape position represented by a grid cell’s propensity to lose or gain soil water, was found to have a strong effect on yield, suggesting that soil moisture distribution was an important driver of yield variability in this system

ECONOMIC INJURY LEVEL OF OIL PALM BUNCH MOTH, Tirathaba mundella WALKER FOR PEST MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS IN OIL PALM PRODUCTION

Oil palm bunch moth, Tirathaba mundella Walker is a notorious bunch feeding pest typically among oil
palm aged three 3-7 year-old planted on peat. In order to manage the pest, an economic injury level (EIL)
for the pest needs to be determined which could assist in decision making if a control tactic is justified.
In order to determine the EIL, the percentage of fertile oil palm fruitlets and oil to bunch content were
determined for fruit bunches with different pest infestation severity. The severity was characterised based on
the mean larvae present in fruit bunches and male inflorescences. The study found that the mean larvae count
was positively correlated with the economic losses and number of parthenocarpic fruitlets. The overall oil
extraction rate (OER) of moderate and severely infested fruit bunches was significantly reduced as compared
to clean fruit bunches. Based on average crude palm oil (CPO) market price and production per hectare, an
EIL for Tirathaba mundella (T. mundella) was able to be estimated. This study suggested the EIL at 10%
of oil palms per hectare moderately or severely infested. The finding of this study would benefit future pest
management practice in oil palm plantation established on peatland.

PALM TOCOTRIENOLS CAUSE CLEAVAGE OF POLY-(ADP)-RIBOSE POLYMERASE ENZYME AND DOWN-REGULATION OF CYCLOOXYGENASE-2 PROTEIN LEVEL IN HUMAN BREAST CANCER CELLS

Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women globally. The anti-cancer effects of various forms of vitamin E from palm oil [tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF): natural form of vitamin E complex in palm oil, tocotrienol-enriched fraction (TEF), and major vitamin E homologues in palm oil: a-tocopherol (aToc) and tocotrienols (T3) (a, d or g)] were tested on two human breast cancer cell lines [MDA-MB-231 (triple negative) and MCF-7 (oestrogen-dependent)]. Chronic inflammation plays a key role in tumourigenesis. Both cell lines used express high levels of poly-(ADP)-ribose polymerase (PARP-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX- 2), which are key mediators of inflammation. Tocotrienols exerted marked anti-proliferative by promoting apoptosis in both MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. In addition, T3 also induced time-dependent inactivation of PARP-1 as well as inhibited expression of COX-2 in both MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. The rate of T3 uptake was found to be comparable to the anti-proliferative and apoptotic activities observed. In conclusion, T3 induced marked anti-proliferative (p<0.05) and pro-apoptotic (p<0.05) effects, which were most l

LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PALM BIODIESEL

A gate-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA) for the production of palm biodiesel was performed. The LCA study was conducted using SimaPro software version 8.5, and the impact assessment was performed according to ReCiPe 2016 methodology. A three-year (2015-2017) inventory data was obtained from five commercial palm biodiesel producers in Malaysia. Methanol, acids and sodium methoxide (catalyst) were identified as three major contributors to the environmental impacts. Impact assessment showed that replacement of fossilbased methanol with biomethanol produced from biogas is the most preferred option, saving up to 63% fossil resources and 22% reduction in global warming impact. Allocation based on economic value was found more suitable compared to mass or energy content. This is because both palm biodiesel and crude glycerol differ in terms of economic value and being used in different applications

POST-TREATMENT OF PALM OIL MILL EFFLUENT USING ZEOLITE AND WASTEWATER

The palm oil mill effluent (POME) is one of the most important ecosystems hazard and can become a crucial environmental burden if discharged without any treatment to nature. The present study aimed to develop a fast method for post-treatment of POME. To enhance treatment process, the domestic wastewater (DWW) and zeolite were added to the sequencing batch reactor (SBR) as the available microbial source and new adsorbent, respectively. The results indicate that the chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), ammonia nitrogen (AN) and colour removal rates were in the range of 95.34%-98.31%, 88.79%-91.44%, 95.47%-98.95%, 96.19%-98.30% and 56.94%-81.64%, respectively. Moreover, SBR with both DWW and zeolite addition was able to remove high percentage of all pollution compared to only DWW addition (with a removal percentage of 77% TSS, 74% COD, 76% colour and 90% AN) or zeolite (23% TSS, 10% COD, 9.6% colour and 80% AN). The response surface methodology (RSM) was used to elucidate response surface and optimise the independent variables. The highest desirability of POME treatment (0.988) was achieved in optimum operation conditions. Under these conditions, COD, BOD, colour, AN and TSS removal rates were 96.80%, 90.1%, 69.90%, 98.20% and 97.20%, respectively.

EFFECT OF CATALYSTS ON THE YIELD AND PROPERTIES OF LIGNIN FROM MICROWAVEASSISTED ACETOSOLV EXTRACTION OF OIL PALM EMPTY FRUIT BUNCH FIBRES

Acetosolv is an enhancement organosolv technique utilising acetic acid as solvent and produces high purity of lignin. However, the limitation of this technique in the conventional heating method is the high energy consumption during a long reaction time. Therefore, the employment of microwave is used to overcome this limitation with the expectation of a lower power consumption and short reaction time. In this study, three types of catalysts, sulphuric acid (H2SO4), aluminium choride (AlCl3), and chromium nitrate [Cr(NO3)3] were used to investigate the lignin extraction performance and its properties from microwave-assisted acetosolv (MWA) treatment of oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFB). The highest yields of lignin (76.98%) were obtained using an aqueous solution of acetic acid combined with 3.0% of H2SO4 under 110°C for 30 min. Meanwhile, AlCl3 performed almost similar to H2SO4, providing lignin yield of 71.57% at the highest temperature of 110°C. The usage of microwave-assisted technique also produces a high yield and high purity of lignin. It is also proven that AlCl3 can be a substitute to Bronsted acid for lignin extraction. However, Cr(NO3)3 was found not suitable for the lignin’s extraction despite having a high potential for cellulose extraction.

POPULATION DENSITY OF Elaeidobius kamerunicus Faust IN DIFFERENT SPIKELET POSITION AT ANTHESISING MALE INFLORESCENCE OF Elaeis guineensis Jacq. IN SABAH AND SARAWAK, MALAYSIA

The oil palm male inflorescences provide food source and breeding sites for the pollinating weevil, Elaeidobius kamerunicus (E. kamerunicus). The present study examined the difference in the formation of the oil palm male inflorescences on different soil types, and how the differences affect the population density of E. kamerunicus. Samplings of adult E. kamerunicus and the spikelets of fully-anthesising oil palm male inflorescences were conducted monthly for a period of 18 months at four oil palm plantations on peat and mineral soils in East Malaysia. E. kamerunicus population density in peat soil areas was found to be lower than those in mineral soils (P<0.05). It was also found that the male inflorescences spikelet length in the study sites on peat soil areas were less uniform; spikelets on the upper part of the inflorescence were significantly shorter (= 12.80 cm) compared to the spikelets sampled from the bottom part of the inflorescence (= 14.91 cm, P< 0.05, P= 0.000-0.031). In addition, compared to the lower part of the inflorescence, significantly fewer weevils were found lodged on the spikelets sampled from the upper part of the inflorescence (Site 1Top = 8 adult weevils spikelet-1; Site 2Top = 12 adult weevils spikelet-1; Site 1bottom = 18 adult weevils spikelet-1; Site 2bottom= 17 adult weevils spikelet-1). However, no significant correlation was found between the length of the spikelet and the weevil density on each spikelet (r= 0.021-0.181). The result from this study demonstrates the influence of the soil types on the formation of the inflorescence, which requires further investigation.

FRYING OIL QUALITY IN FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS IN EAST COAST MALAYSIA: A PRELIMINARY SURVEY

Fresh, in-use regardless the days of frying and discarded oils were collected from fast food restaurants in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia to investigate the quality of the frying oil used in the commercial frying industries. The fresh oils used in these restaurants were palm olein and/or palm oil. Oxidative stability index (OSI), smoke point, colour, free fatty acid (FFA), polar compound, peroxide value (PV) and ρ-anisidine value (ρ-AV) were evaluated. The fresh oils showed quality that is within specification of standards and references. The in-use oils showed a high degree of deterioration by having a lower OSI, smoke point, and darker colour. High levels of FFA showed that 42.9% of in-use oils and 100% of discarded oils had exceeded the maximum limit of 1%. Polar compound of 42.9% of the in-use oils and 50% of the discarded oils had exceeded the maximum limit (>27%). As high as 81% of the in-use oils and 75% of the discarded oil collected having ρ-AV of more than 10 which suggests that inspection by the local authority should be carried out to monitor the quality of the cooking oil used in the fast food restaurants.

HERBICIDE EFFECTS ON Ganoderma boninense INFECTION IN OIL PALM SEEDLINGS

The use of herbicides for weed management is a common practice in oil palm plantation. However, previous studies have shown that herbicide can reduce plant susceptibility and could also cause physiological injury to plant parts such as roots which will ultimately provide entry points for pathogens. This study aimed to investigate the effect of commonly used herbicides in the oil palm plantation as a predisposing factor to Ganoderma disease development. In vitro study on eleven commercial herbicides with four different dosages have shown that the highest percentage inhibition of radial growth (PIRG) of Ganoderma boninense was recorded by paraquat dichloride treatment (100%) followed by diuron (87%) and monosodium methyl arsenate (MSMA) (79%) at concentration of 100 μg ml-1. Based on nursery trial, oil palm seedlings inoculated with G. boninense and treated with diuron showed the highest Ganoderma disease progression at 92.73% followed by seedlings treated with metsulfuron-methyl and glyphosate monoammonium (83.27%) and by glyphosate glyphosate isopropylammonium with (73.81%). These findings will help the oil palm industry in Malaysia to choose the best herbicides in order to mitigate the development of Ganoderma disease incidence.

MECHANISING OIL PALM LOOSE FRUITS COLLECTION – A REVIEW

The presence of oil palm loose fruits (LF) on the ground is one of the indicators that the Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) is ready to be harvested. LF are also present when the bunch falls to the ground during the cutting operation, and these fruits need to be collected together to maximise the oil content during processing. Even after a century since this crop was first planted commercially in Malaysia, no major changes have been made in terms of how LF are being collected in the plantation. The collection is done manually by hand picking or by using a raking device and the LF are eventually placed into a bag or directly into a container or trailer. This activity involves frequent bending movement which causes backache to the worker. To minimise this problem and to increase the collection productivity, various tools and machines, from using a simple mechanical picking mechanism to vacuum-type collecting machines were developed. Recently, the focus was concentrated towards the unmanned collection concept. This article reviews most of the developing technologies related to mechanised oil palm LF collection and their technical limitations. Design, working system and cost considerations for the future development of LF collecting machine are also described.

EXTRACTION AND PURIFICATION OF PHYTOSTEROLS MIXTURE FROM PALM FATTY ACID DISTILLATE (PFAD) USING MULTISTAGE EXTRACTION PROCESSES

Phytosterols are among the bioactive compounds naturally present in vegetable oils and their by-products or derivatives. A phytosterol resource (PSR), solid by-product from the extraction of vitamin E in palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD), contains 2%-4% (w/w) total sterols. Therefore, the extraction of phytosterols from the PSR in a mini-pilot scale involving multistage extraction processes was developed to recover the valuable minor component. The multistage extraction and purification processes comprised of solid-liquid extraction (SLE) with hexane at 35°C in 1 hr, saponification reaction at the reflux temperature of 80°C for 1 hr, liquidliquid extraction (LLE) with hexane and water, and crystallisation and vacuum filtration at -5°C for 20 hr. On average, gas chromatographic (GC) analysis showed the phytosterols recovered from the extraction and purification process had more than 80% purity. The recovery of total sterols from the PSR was 84% composed of β-sitosterol (21%-22%), campesterol (13%-20%) and stigmasterol (59%-64%). This extraction process is technically feasible to extract and produce crude phytosterols from a PFAD by-product.

ESTIMATING THE YIELD LOSS OF OIL PALM DUE TO Ganoderma BASAL STEM ROT DISEASE BY USING BAYESIAN MODEL AVERAGING

It is very crucial to planters to estimate the yield loss due to Ganoderma Basal Stem Rot (BSR) disease in oil palm. However, currently there is a limited mathematical model available that can be used for that purpose. Therefore, this empirical study was conducted to build a mathematical model which can be used for yield loss estimation due to the disease. Three commercial oil palm plots with different production phase (i.e. steep ascent phase, plateau phase, and declining phase) were selected as the study sites. The yield and disease severity of the selected palms in the three study sites were recorded for the duration of twelve months. Model averaging approach using Bayes theorem was used to build the model. This is also known as Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA). The BMA model revealed that planting preparation technique was the most important predictor of oil palm yield loss, followed by disease progress (measured using area under the disease-progress curve, AUDPC), disease severity, number of infected neighbouring palms, and two interaction terms. By using the developed BMA model, it was estimated that the economic loss can be up to 68% compared to the attainable yields of all the infected palms.

A RAPID AND EFFICIENT DNA EXTRACTION PROTOCOL FOR Ganoderma zonatum, A BASAL AND UPPER STEM ROT PATHOGEN OF OIL PALM IN MALAYSIA

Ganoderma zonatum (G. zonatum) is associated with both the basal and upper stem rot diseases in oil palm. Despite the severity of these diseases, there is only limited information on the molecular characteristics of this oil palm pathogen. Most of the studies on G. zonatum related to oil palm are focused on the epidemiology and genetic diversity of the organism. In other palm species, G. zonatum has also been identified as the causal agent of bud rot disease. To further characterize the organism using molecular techniques, the ability to isolate good quality DNA samples is important. In this study, seven DNA extraction protocols were evaluated and the best protocol, Boehm protocol, had the highest yield of good quality DNA. The protocol was able to yield 208.95 ± 4.52 μg DNA per gram of sample with purities above 1.80 for A260/280 and 2.0 for A260/230. This extraction protocol is a rapid and efficient protocol that employs cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), β-mercaptoethanol and Proteinase K in the lysis buffer. The Boehm protocol was further tested on three other Ganoderma species found in the oil palm plantations and a medicinal fungus, G. lucidum. It was noted that the protocol was efficient, with high yields for G. zonatum when compared to the other four species. This is probably due to the fact that extraction protocols for each organism requires specific optimization to obtain optimal yield and purity. In conclusion, the Boehm protocol was best suited for genomic DNA extraction of G. zonatum and found suitable for downstream applications such as PacBio sequencing