Category Archives: InPress

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.

PHYSICOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES AND SENSORY EVALUATION OF FERMENTED AND ACIDIFIED MILK BEVERAGES IN MALAYSIAN MARKET-REFERENCE FOR PALM-BASED ACIDIFIED MILK BEVERAGE

In this study, 11 commercial samples in Malaysian market consisted of 10 fermented milk beverage and 1 acidified milk beverage were analysed for their proximate analysis, pH, titratable acidity (TA), brix, viscosity, colour, particle size and sensory evaluation. This study was conducted to get an overview on the physicochemical properties and sensory evaluation of the fermented and acidified milk beverages in order to produce palm-based acidified milk beverage. Energy content of these samples were ranged between 33.50-73.00 kcal/100 g. Fat, carbohydrate and protein contents were ranged between 0.00-2.54 g/100 g, 7.52-15.75 g/100 g and 1.98-2.10 g/100 g, respectively. All of the commercial samples were observed to be insignificant in sugar and ash content. pH, TA and brix of the samples varied from 3.50%-4.20%, 0.27%- 0.72% and 9.40-18.90°B, accordingly. Colour (L*, a* and b*) varied significantly among the commercial samples. Viscosity and particle size were ranged between 0.022-0.063 Pa.s and 0.45-20.11 μm, respectively. Preferred sample based on sensory evaluation was commercial sample D (fermented). The characteristics of commercial samples B, D and E can be used as guidelines in formulating palm-based acidified milk beverage.

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.

ISOLATION AND CHARACTERISATION OF GIBBERELLIN 2-OXIDASE 6 GENE FROM OIL PALM (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.)

To increase our understanding on the role of Gibberellin (GA) metabolism in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), a gene encoding enzyme in GA catabolic pathways was identified and isolated. The oligonucleotide primers were constructed and used to amplify the EgGA2ox6 gene from oil palm. The sequence analysis of EgGA2ox6 gene provided a complete open reading frame (ORF) of 1014 bp which encodes 337 deduced amino acid residues. Homology sequence analysis has shown a 50%-70% sequence similarity to GA from other plant species. Based on this sequence motif analysis, the EgGA2ox6 is classified into C19-GA2ox group. Expression studies on 13 different oil palm tissues showed that the highest expression profile of the gene was observed in the mesocarp tissue. Further expression analysis was conducted on the development stages of mesocarp using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) showed that the gene was predominantly expressed in the early stages of mesocarp development at four weeks after anthesis (WAA). Then, the expression of EgGA2ox6 gene was gradually reduced as the fruit ripened. This preliminary study provides valuable resources to further elucidate the roles of GA2ox6 gene during oil palm fruit development.

SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION PRACTICES AMONG THE INDEPENDENT OIL PALM SMALLHOLDERS IN BETONG AND SARATOK, SARAWAK, MALAYSIA

Soil and water conservation practices (SWC) which are included in the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for oil palm production are essential to be adopted by oil palm growers in order to maintain the quality of natural resources and adhere to the environmental conservation. At present, no scientific study has been carried out to indicate the level of knowledge and adoption of SWC among the independent oil palm smallholders (ISH). This study was aimed to evaluate the knowledge and current adoption of SWC among members of the Saratok Sustainable Oil Palm Growers Cooperative. The quantitative and qualitative research methods applied to evaluate the level of SWC knowledge and adoption by oil palm smallholders were based on the checklist in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO). The data collected were via in-situ observation and face-to-face interviews with respondents. The results of the study indicated that the level of smallholders’ knowledge on SWC practices is high, however, the adoption level is still low. Recommendations based on the research affirmed that incentive/assistance scheme from the government is necessary to help and encourage ISH and the MSPO certification becomes mandatory for the cooperatives to ensure that the SWC is adopted by ISH for their long-term benefit.

GROWTH PERFORMANCE AND CARCASS TRAITS OF GOATS FED WITH OIL PALM BYPRODUCTS BASED FEED PELLET

The study was conducted to develop a nutrient-balanced goat feed pellet from oil palm by-products and to assess the effects of the feed pellet on growth performance and carcass traits of Katjang goats. Treatment groups consisted of oil palm by-products based (OPB), control without addition of oil palm by-products control (CNT), and commercial (COM) pellets. Twelve 12-months-old Katjang goats were assigned to the three treatment groups and subjected to 14-weeks of feeding trial. Each group was offered 1.5% body weight (BW) of respective pellets and ad libitum supply of Napier grass. Feed intake (FI) was recorded daily and the BW of the goats was recorded weekly. At the end of the feeding trial, all goats were slaughtered for carcass traits study. All treatment groups showed no significant difference in BW increment (p=0.51) and average daily gain (ADG) (p=0.94). There were no significant differences (p>0.05) between the treatment groups for carcass traits parameters. As a conclusion, the OPB pellet has shown to contain complete nutrient for goat’s diet and was comparable to the COM feed pellet in terms of growth performance of Katjang goat. The inclusion of oil palm by-products in the feed formulation did not adversely affect the carcass traits of the goats.

GAMMA-TOCOTRIENOL DOES NOT COMPETE WITH MITOXANTRONE TO BE EFFLUXED FROM ABCG2 OVEREXPRESSING CELLS

The human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) subfamily G2 (ABCG2) half transporter of the G-subfamily that is involved in transportation of an extensive range of substrates, including xenobiotics and endogenous compounds. ABCG2 transporter upregulation in many cancerous tissues is often linked to multiple drug resistance (MDR) due to its involvement in efflux of various drugs. Gamma-tocotrienol (γT3) is an isoform of vitamin E that possesses promising anti-cancer effects via various mechanisms, however transportation of γT3 remains unknown and its therapeutic effects might be limited by MDR. This project thus sought to study the anti-cancer effect (i.e. anti-proliferative effect) of γT3 in an ABCG2-expressing breast cancer cell line (MCF7-MX) and the possibility of γT3 to be transported via ABCG2 transporter. It was demonstrated that after 72 hr treatment with γT3, cell proliferation of MCF7-MX cells was inhibited with IC50=43 μM. The co-administration of γT3 with mitoxantrone (MX), a substrate of ABCG2, has shown that γT3 is not a competitor for MX transport (p>0.05). The data confirms the anti-proliferative role of γT3 in ABCG2 expressing cells and suggests that ABCG2 might have a minimal role in γT3 transport. This result provides an essential basis for the further study of γT3 as an anti-cancer compound.

Syncephalastrum racemosum AND Rhizopus arrhizus ISOLATED FROM OIL PALM TRUNKS PRODUCE CHITOSANS THAT INHIBIT THE GROWTH OF Ganoderma boninense

Chitosan has been proposed as a treatment to suppress Ganoderma infection on oil palm. Syncephalastrum racemosum and Rhizopus arrhizus, growing on oil palm trunk, were examined on their ability to produce chitosan. Chitinous materials from both fungi were deproteinised and deacetylated using different concentrations of sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Chitosans from R. arrhizus (FuCsRa), S. racemosum (FuCsSr) were compared with crab shells’ chitosan (CrCs) through the Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis. The deacetylation degrees of different chitosan sources were also determined. FTIR analysis showed that chitosans produced by these fungi and crab shell’s chitosan had a similar pattern of FTIR spectrum, but differed in their deacetylation degrees. The next experiment examined the ability of these chitosans to suppress the growth of Ganoderma boninense (G. boninense) in vitro. The experiment consisted of 11 treatments: controls, media with CrCs (at 5000 ppm, 7500 ppm, 10 000 ppm), media with FuCsRa (at 5000 ppm, 7500 ppm, 10 000 ppm), media with FuCsSr (at 5000 ppm, 7500 ppm, 10 000 ppm), and antagonistic test (S. racemosum; R. arrhizus). The results showed that CrCS at 5000 ppm, 7500 ppm and 10 000 ppm enhanced the growth of G. boninense. A concentration of 10 000 ppm of CrCs nearly doubled the growth of Ganoderma compared to control. FuCsSc inhibited the growth of G. boninense at all concentrations from -28% to 31% compared to control. The in vitro antagonistic effect of S. racemosum showed a high effect at inhibiting the growth of G. boninense (-43% compared to control). This in vitro study demonstrated the ability of chitosan extracted from fungi growing on oil palm trunks to suppress Ganoderma growth.

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.

SHORT COMMUNICATION: OPTIMISATION OF THE BOMBARDMENT PARAMETERS FOR TRANSFORMATION AND REGENERATION OF STABLE OIL PALM TRANSFORMANTS

Genetic transformation approaches by using particle bombardment have been an integral part in efforts to improve palm oil quality. The bombardment parameters were previously evaluated to efficiently deliver deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) during bombardment. However, the evaluation was carried out at transient stage and therefore the results may not be very precise. In order to improve the DNA delivery and regeneration of the oil palm carrying transgenes, a study at stable stage was performed and discussed in this paper. Oil palm embryogenic calli were bombarded at several parameters using pAHC25 plasmid. Selection on media containing 1 mg litre-1 of bialaphos was initiated after one month of bombardment. Then, the concentration of bialaphos was increased to 2 mg litre-1 and subsequently to 3 mg litre-1 to effectively eliminate the regeneration of untransformed cells. Generated shoots were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. The best bombardment condition was determined based on the highest number of shoots carrying the transgene. The bombardment at 1100 psi helium pressure with 7.5 cm distance between stopping plate to tissue and one time bombardment using 2.0 μg DNA per bombardment was obtained as the best condition for DNA delivery and also minimised tissue damage. Hence, the results of this study will be useful as a guideline to generate transformed oil palm.

POTENTIAL OF FEEDING CRUDE PALM OIL AND CO-PRODUCTS OF PALM OIL MILLING ON LAYING HENS` PERFORMANCE AND EGG QUALITY: A REVIEW

Crude palm oil (CPO) and the main co-products of palm oil milling, namely palm kernel cake (PKC) and palm oil mill effluent (POME) have considerable potential nutritive value for laying hens. This review was conducted to study the effect of CPO, PKC and POME as feed ingredients on growth performance of laying hens and egg quality traits. CPO provides high caloric levels, and its inclusion in laying rations enhances the absorption of oil-soluble vitamins. High carotenoids (500-700 ppm) content in CPO improves egg quality by increasing the fatty acid content and colour intensity of egg yolk. Laying hens can tolerate up to 20%-30% PKC in the diet with no adverse effects on growth performance or egg quality traits. POME can be used as a feed ingredient for laying hens, and the recommended optimal level of inclusion is 10% of the total ration. However, due to high levels of fibrous matter in PKC and POME, further biotechnology treatments are needed for better utilisation in laying hens’ rations to yield optimum egg production. Replacement of the conventional feed ingredient in the laying ration with PKC and POME were found to be cost-effective in improving layer performance and egg quality.

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

INFLUENCE OF SULPHURIC ACID CONCENTRATION ON THE PHYSICO-CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF MICROFIBRILLATED CELLULOSE FROM OIL PALM EMPTY FRUIT BUNCH FIBRE

The interest for microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) has been present within the academic sector since the 1980s, but recently this material has become commercially available as it is growing significantly in the industrial sector. Therefore, in this study the oil palm empty fruit bunch fibre was selected to be synthesised into MFC. This study focused on the effect of acid concentrations on the isolation of MFC from oil palm empty fruit bunch fibre (OPEFB-fibre) using the acid hydrolysis method, followed by ultrasonication. The important parameter studied was the concentration of sulphuric acid (10% to 40%) while reaction time and temperature were kept constant. The resulting MFC was analysed using fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), x-ray diffractometer (XRD) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). Based on the FTIR results, it was found that the structure of cellulose was retained after undergoing the acid hydrolysis process. The highest thermal stability was obtained when MFC was treated with 20% H2SO4 which was determined by using TGA. The XRD method was used to study the structural property of the MFC and the result showed that the MFC produced had 60% of crystallinity index. The morphological features were identified using SEM. The results showed that the particle size of MFC ranged between 10 μm to 200 μm. As a result, the parameters used tend to influence the physico-chemical properties of MFC produced and it has the potential to facilitate filler increase in wood free papers industry.

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.

CODE OF GOOD MILLING PRACTICE IN ENHANCING SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL PRODUCTION

Fresh fruit bunches (FFB) are continuously being produced throughout the year, hence the mill also needs to operate continuously to process them. Compared to other oil crops, oil palm is more productive and produces the highest oil yield per hectare. However, like any other industry, palm oil processing can also have adverse impact on the environment. Therefore, this article focuses on the operation of palm oil mill by addressing the impact on quality, food safety and some sustainability elements as measurable parameters when gauging the impacts of the processing operation. This article also emphasises the implementation of Malaysian Palm Oil Board Code of Good Milling Practices (MPOB CoPM) as a guideline for the mills in readiness for sustainability certification under Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO)/ Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Under sustainability, the three well-established elements will be examined and they are environmental protection, social responsibility and economic practice. The palm oil processing plant should produce palm oil that can be classified as sustainable palm oil, otherwise it may not be able to enjoy global marketability.

STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION OF OIL PALM MESOCARP FIBRE (OPMF) IN WATER AT SUBCRITICAL STATE

Effect of subcritical water (sub-CW) on oil palm mesocarp fibre (OPMF) structure and cellulose conversion to obtain useful components was studied to reduce production of mesocarp fibre as waste in excessive amount. The decomposition of OPMF was carried out at temperatures ranging from 200°C-300°C and with a constant reaction time of 5 min using a batch stainless-steel tube reactor (reactor volume: 7.3 cm3). The pressure inside reactor was equal to the saturated vapour pressure at the experimental temperature. Microscope images indicated sub-CW broke down the OPMF walls becoming smaller particles. Scanning electron microcopy (SEM) images showed that the particle size of OPMF was highly porous when treated at 240°C but was disrupted when treated above 250°C. From sugar analysis using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the highest amount of monosaccharides was 22.2 mg g-1-dry OPMF at 240°C. The yield of sugar was reduced to 2.5 mg g-1-dry OPMF at 300°C as cellulose and hemicellulose were degraded due to pyrolysis. The particle size of OPMF, when subjected to sub-CW, showed a good relationship with the yield of sugars. The OPMF particle became disrupted above 260°C due to the pyrolysis activity. The solid residue from OPMF was reduced significantly using sub-CW.

EXTRACTION AND CHARACTERISATION OF CELLULOSE FROM THE RESIDUE OF OIL PALM EMPTY FRUIT BUNCH-XYLAN EXTRACTION

Cellulosic solid residual, which is the by-product of oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB)-xylan extraction process, was evaluated in terms of cellulose recovery by eco-friendly approach. The OPEFB-fibre was initially treated with alkaline for xylan extraction. The resulting solid residue was dried before treated with mild concentration of bleaching agents of 20% (v/v) formic acid and 5% (v/v) hydrogen peroxide at 85°C for the extraction of cellulose. α-cellulose content of 84.16±0.4% was achieved. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis showed that the products obtained have the standard cellulose structure and functional group. The crystalline nature of the extracted cellulose, as proven by X-ray diffractometer (XRD) has crystallinity index and crystalline size of 54.4% and 5.5 nm, respectively, whereas the thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) indicates the sample purity in terms of thermal stability at 370°C by comparing the results to commercially available cellulose. Meanwhile, scanning electron microscope (SEM) observation showed that the extracted cellulose morphology is in the form of separated fibrils. In terms of impurities, trace elemental analysis showed the presence of phosphorus (P) as the major element but the quantity of fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I) and sulphur (S) detected on the cellulose was insignificant.

ECOTOXICOLOGICAL BEHAVIOUR OF POORLY WATER SOLUBLE FATTY ALCOHOL ETHOXYLATES IN FRESHWATER ENVIRONMENT

Fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAEO) are widely used for a wide range of applications. Due to their excessive and widespread use, the ecotoxicological behaviour of FAEO in aquatic environment is crucial in managing the environmental sustainability. The objective of this study is to determine the ecotoxicology behaviour, i.e. biodegradation and ecotoxicity, of poorly water soluble lauryl alcohol ethoxylates (C12) with different ethoxylate numbers (EO), i.e. EO3, EO5, EO6, EO7 and EO10. For ecotoxicity test, OECD 209, activated sludge, respiration inhibition test method was used. This method was selected as a rapid screening test to identify substances that have unfavourable influence on microorganisms in sewage treatment plant and also to identify non-inhibitory concentration of test substances applicable for biodegradation test. Meanwhile, the biodegradation test was performed using OECD 301C, MITI (I) (Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Japan) test method. The biodegradability of this surfactant was monitored for 28 days. The results of OECD 209 showed only FAEO (EO3) with a maximum concentration of 1000 mg litre-1 inhibited more than 50% respiration of activated sludge, while other FAEO samples inhibited less than 50% after 3 hr of exposure. The 3-hr of half maximal effective concentration (EC50) for FAEO (EO3) for activated sludge was 423 mg litre-1 while, for other FAEO samples was > 1000 mg litre-1. The toxicity effect decreased with increasing EO number. For biodegradation test, the results indicated that FAEO were readily biodegraded in OECD 301C where their biodegradability surpassed the 60% pass level as stated in the standard method and can be considered as readily biodegradable in the environment. As the EO chain length increased, the hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) of FAEO tended to increase while the hydrophobicity tended to decrease. The reduction in hydrophobicity level increases its solubility in water, thus promotes rapid biodegradation in aquatic environment.