Category Archives: In Press

PALM-BASED VITAMIN E (tocotrienol-rich fraction) HAS EXCELLENT STABILITY IN CHEWABLE TABLET AFTER ONE-YEAR OF STORAGE AT AMBIENT TEMPERATURE

Palm oil is a good source of micronutrients (sometimes called phytonutrients as they are plant-based). The micronutrients constitute about 1% of crude palm oil. Vitamin E is the most abundant micronutrient of palm oil. Other prevalent micronutrients found in palm oil are carotenes, phytosterols, squalene, coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone), phospholipids (lecithin) and polyphenols. Palm-based vitamin E, also known as tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) has been used as a dietary supplement in the form of soft gel capsules, but there is relatively little information about its contribution when processed into a chewable tablet. Stability of the micronutrient during storage is a critical factor to be considered. Based on the general instability of vitamins, endogenous and added vitamins can suffer substantial losses during storage prior to consumption. The retention of vitamin E in the palm-based TRF chewable tablet after one-year storage at ambient temperature was 92.6%. The excellent retention of vitamin E in the chewable tablet was most plausible due to the use of powdered (microencapsulated) palm-based TRF which managed to protect the bioactive component from direct exposure to chemical and physical reactions, thus protecting the bioactive ingredient from degradation. This study indicates that powdered palm-based TRF has good stability during storage and it can be effectively delivered via a chewable tablet form to consumers.

DEVELOPMENT OF ANALYTICAL METHOD FOR DETERMINATION OF THIOSULTAP-DISODIUM RESIDUE IN PALM OIL MATRIX

Thiosultap-disodium (thiosultap) has been identified to be the potential alternative to monocrotophos and methamidophos for controlling bagworms and leaf earting caterpillars infestation in oil palm plantations. This article reports a simple and fast method of determining thiosultap residue in palm oil matrix using liquid chromatography coupled to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. The proposed method has been inhouse validated . Method recoveries were found to be satisfactory within the range of 72% to 103%, method precision was good with a relative standard deviation (RSD) of 4% to 6% for repeatability and RSD of less than 12% for intermediate precision. Method limit of detection and determination were estimated from matrix matched calibration curves, the values were 2.9 ng ml-1 and 8.7 ng ml-1, respectively. The fact that no maximum residue limit has been set for thiosultap in palm oil internationally, suggesting that the default value of 0.01 mg kg-1 maximum allowable limit is to be enforced. An analytical method that will enable the determination of thiosultap residue at this default level therefore is required to facilitate the monitoring of potential thiosultap residue contamination in palm oil traded in Malaysia.

INFLUENCE OF SURFACTANT STRUCTURE ON PHYSICAL STABILITY AND PHYSICOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF INSECTICIDE EMULSIONS

A stable oil-in-water (o/w) emulsion to combat mosquitoes has been successfully formulated using palm methyl ester (PME) as carrier solvent, xanthan gum (XG) as thickener and plant-based non-ionic surfactants. The performance of castor oil-based surfactant, polyethylene glycol (20) glyceryl oleoricinoleate (PEG 20G), coupled with palm-based polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate (POE 20S) was compared with conventional palm-based surfactant, C12-C14 fatty alcohol ethoxylate (FAE), coupled with POE 20S. The effects of surfactant mixing ratios and total thickener concentrations on stability, droplet size, microstructure and viscosity of the resulting emulsions were investigated. Emulsions obtained with a mixture of the two palm-based surfactants exhibited superior emulsification efficiency and stability in comparison to emulsions obtained with a mixture of castor oil and palm-based surfactant. The results indicated that the molecular structure of palm-based surfactants positively affect surfactant packing conformation at the oil/aqueous phase interface. The present study opens the possibility of using palm-based surfactants in insecticide emulsions in an effort to curb the spread of mosquito-borne diseases around the world.

ENERGY CONSUMPTION DURING TRANSPORTATION ALONG THE PALM OIL SUPPLY CHAIN IN MALAYSIA

The Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) analysis on the energy consumption was based on the study of the transportation of palm oil (PO), refined, bleached and deodourised (RBD) palm olein (POo) and palm stearin (POs) throughout the PO supply chain beginning from the transportation of the oil palm pollinated bunches from the ‘mother palm’ to the transportation of the RBD PO and its fractionated products, namely RBD POo and RBD POs from refineries/fractionation plants to the ports and finally to the retailers. The LCI analysis found that based on the production of 1 t RBD PO, the transportation of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from plantations to mills consumed the highest energy followed by the transportation of POo from refineries to retailers and the transportation of crude palm oil (CPO) from PO mills to refineries, while the transportation of pollinated fruit bunches, germinated seeds and seedlings consumed the least amount of energy. The energy consumption on the basis of the production of 1 t RBD PO for the transportation of FFB from plantations to mills, RBD POo from refineries to retailers and CPO from mills to refineries were 197.12 MJ, 192.78 MJ and 151.50 MJ, respectively. Based on the actual production of the materials transported on an annual basis, it was estimated that the transportation of RBD PO, RBD POo and RBD POs along the palm oil supply chain consumed 7.025 billion MJ (0.168 Mtoe) energy per year.

IDENTIFICATION OF GENES PREFERENTIALLY EXPRESSED IN MESOCARP TISSUE OF OIL PALM USING in silico ANALYSIS OF TRANSCRIPTS

Strong demand for palm oil creates a huge challenge for the industry to produce more palm oil on the shrinking cultivable land mass. Genetic manipulation of oil synthesis in the mesocarp tissue of oil palm offers the opportunity to improve yield and quality of palm oil on the limited land resources. However, more than one mesocarp-specific promoters are required to effectively manipulate oil synthesis to avoid epigenetic silencing caused by the sequence homology in their promoter regions. This study was aimed at identifying genes that are specifically expressed in the mesocarp tissue through in silico analysis of transcriptome datasets from different oil palm tissues. From this analysis, transcripts XLOC_10, annotated as pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein was highly expressed in the mesocarp tissue. Gene expression analysis of PPR in 27 tissues of Elaeis guineensis indicated that this putative mesocarp-specific transcript was expressed in mesocarp and female inflorescence tissues only. Cis-acting elements that are present in the promoter region of PPR showed that PPR might be involved in the lipid biosynthesis and flowering regulation network in oil palm.

A DESCRIPTION OF OPEN TOP CHAMBER SYSTEM FOR OIL PALM CARBON DIOXIDE ENRICHMENT

Open Top Chamber (OTC) is one of the techniques to study plant responses to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. A study on the effects of CO2 enrichment on oil palm growth, physiology and yield using OTC method was conducted at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) Research Station in Kluang, Johor, Malaysia. Oil palm clones P164 were cultivated in four OTC each with 9 m diameter and 10 m high. The OTC consists of a concrete structure with transparent multi-wall sheets. It has a truncated top for air aversion and to prevent CO2 dilution within the chamber by outside air. The CO2 gas was injected from nozzles mounted on the inner wall. The OTC was able to maintain a higher CO2 level inside the OTC than ambient level. Air temperature inside the OTC was slightly higher than ambient, while relative humidity and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) inside the OTC were both slightly lower than ambient. A comparison of parameters measured inside the OTC and ambient provides a measure of the chamber effects. However, it could have either positive or negative effect on plant growth. The OTC method has some limitations and is only suitable for studying individual plant physiological responses to elevated CO2.