As we move towards the knowledge (K) era, the challenge in R&D is to focus on the development of original K-based products that can compete in the global market. The development of commercially viable, patented K-based products within a university environment require an innovation system and innovation policies in place and a change in the paradigm towards the approach to research. A crucial agent towards the success of the innovation system is development and training of the human capital that would be the future drivers of the K-industry. Awareness of intellectual property rights, the need for original research, entrepreneurship as well as the development and strengthening of self-confidence and leadership are among the factors needed towards the training of K-workers facing the new economy.
A study of heavy metal contents in freshwater snails from rice fields have been made. The results indicate that the levels of heavy metals, Pb, Cu, Zn and Cd, are low and within the permissible limit of Malaysian Food Regulations. The results can serve as background data for further reference.
This study was initiated to determine the mechanism of iron-uptake in Salmonella typhi. When stressed for iron, microorganisms produce siderophores to obtain the necessary nutrient. Generally two types of siderophores exist: the phenolate-type predominantly produced by bacteria and the hydroxamate-type commonly secreted by fungi. Results of this investigation showed that S. typhi produced siderophores of the phenolate-type since culture supernatant of the organism grown under iron-deprivation supported the growth of the phenolate-dependent auxotroph. The culture supernatant when extracted for phenolate siderophores, also supported the growth of the phenolate auxotroph but not the hydroxamate auxotroph. Production of phenolate-type siderophores were further confirmed using biochemical assays. These results showed that S. typhi utilized the high-affinity iron transport system to obtain the necessary iron.
Analysis of diarrhoeal disease patterns in Malaysia from 1981-1986 suggested that infectious hepatitis ranked as the most predominant diarrhoeal disease followed by typhoid, food poisoning, dysentery and cholera. Although these five major food and water-borne diseases are still endemic in this country, diarrhoeal diseases per se no longer become an important public health problem in Malaysia. Enforcement of the cholera control program brought the incidence of the disease to a minimal. Unfortunately, this fatal form of diarrhoeal disease caused the greatest mortality compared to the others. Seasonal influence also played a part in controlling the occurrence of the disease. There was a preponderance of diarrhoeal diseases during the rainy season implicating contaminated water as a source of transmission. Although greater than half of the population has been supplied with piped water and sanitary latrines, a lot more has to be done before diarrhoeal diseases could be eliminated from this country.
For effective management of typhoid, diagnosis of the disease must be done with speed and accuracy. Development of such a test would require antigens that are specific for typhoid diagnosis. Attempts at finding the specific antigen have been carried out throughout the years. The finding of such an antigen can lead to carrier detection as well. Candidate antigens have been used in the development of antigen or antibody detection tests with variation in sensitivity and specificity. Further characterization and understanding of the candidate antigens combined with use of innovative technologies will allow for the ideal test for typhoid and typhoid carriers to be within reach.
The concentrations of cadmium, copper, zinc and lead, in the total soft tissues of green-lipped mussel Perna viridis of a wide range of sizes (2-11 cm), were determined from a population at Pasir Panjang. The metal contents (μg per individual) and concentrations (μg per g) of cadmium, lead, copper and zinc were studied in P. viridis to find the relationships with body sizes. Smaller and younger mussels showed higher concentrations (μg per g) of Cd, Pb and Zn than the larger and older ones. The results of the present study showed that the plotting of the metal content, against dry body flesh weight on a double logarithmic basis, gave good positive straight lines; this observation is in agreement with Boyden’s formula (1977). This indicated that P. viridis showed a different physiological strategy for each metal being studied, which is related to age.
This study evaluated and compared the antioxidant capacity between freshly prepared and lactic fermented Malaysian herbal teas. Herbal teas are rich in antioxidants. Fermentation has been known to be the oldest and cost effective method with the ability to preserve or improve food nutritional qualities. Information on the antioxidant capacity of lactic fermented food or beverage is still lacking. Hence, the objective of this study is to determine the changes in the antioxidant properties of Malaysian herbal teas after being subjected to lactic fermentation. Commercially available local herbal teas were used for this study. Herbal teas such as “Allspice”, “Scaphium”, “Gora” and “Cinnamon” were purchased from the local store in Malaysia and were subjected to 24-hour lactic fermentation. Lactic fermented herbal teas were analyzed for their total phenolic, total flavonoid and antioxidant properties via DPPH, FRAP, and β-carotene linoleate bleaching assay. All lactic fermented herbal teas exhibited higher phenolic contents, flavonoid contents and antioxidant properties compared to the freshly-prepared herbal teas with majority showing significant changes (p < 0.05) in FRAP and β-carotene bleaching assay. Lactic fermented herbal teas also showed an increase in antioxidant capacity in DPPH assay, however non-significant changes were observed.
Five underutilized wild vegetables namely Limnophila aromaticoides, Ceratopetris thalictroides, Crassocephalum crepidioides, Etlingera elatoir and Monochoria vaginalis were analyzed for nutritional values, phenolic components and antioxidant activities. These wild greens were found to have high fibre (11.3-19.8 g/100g) and ash (13.0-17.6 g/100g) contents as compared to commercialized species, Brassica juncea. The iron content of Monochoria vaginalis is four times higher than Brassica juncea (33.1 mg/g dry weight). Crassocephalum crepidioides demonstrated remarkable lipid peroxidation inhibition (90.4%). The phenolic content of Etlingera elatoir is two times higher than Brassica juncea. Thus, it is of both great free radical scavenger and iron chelators with the lowest EC50 values of 1.8 mg/ml and 2.3 mg/ml respectively. As a conclusion, these wild vegetables could be potentially used in alleviating micronutrients deficiency especially for the rural populace and as a potent source of natural antioxidants.
Land development, especially construction works, increase storm water volumes and pollution loads into rivers and lakes. The temporary drainage system at construction sites, particularly during the construction stage discharges a large amount of pollutants that can damage the aquatic system of the receiving water bodies. The potential of vegetative swale to alleviate this problem was evaluated. The size of the constructed vegetative swale was 7cm deep, 400cm long and 15cm wide at the bottom, and 17cm wide at the top. The experiment was conducted batch wise by filling the storage tank with the run-off water from the construction site. The water was allowed to flow through a pipe into the retention basin to maintain uniform flow before it entered the swale. The study showed that the run-off infiltrated through the soil at a rate of 489.6 mm/hr. Samples of surface run-off and infiltration water were collected at the end and the bottom of the swale. The results indicate that chemical oxygen demand (COD), total suspended solid (TSS), turbidity, iron and zinc were reduced by 85.4%, 80.8%, 36.4%, 52.8% and 96.0%, respectively, by surface flow and 91.1%, 98.8%, 58.2% 55.5% and 98.1%, respectively, by infiltration. Removal of nitrate and phosphorus by the planted vegetation was 69.4% and 21.1%, respectively, by infiltration. However, nutrient removal by surface flow was negligible. In conclusion, the vegetative swale was able to improve the water quality of the storm water run-off from the construction site from Class V to Class III, according to the Interim National Water Quality Standards for Malaysia.
FTIR spectroscopy in combination with multivariate calibrations, i.e. partial least square (PLS) and principle component regression (PCR) was developed for quantitative analysis of cod liver oil (CLO) in binary mixture with corn oil (CO). The spectra of CLO, CO and their blends with certain concentrations were scanned using horizontal attenuated total reflectance (HATR) accessory at mid infrared (MIR) region of 4,000 – 650 cm-1. The optimal spectral treatments selected for calibration models were based on its ability to provide the highest values of coefficient of determination (R2) and the lowest values of root mean error of calibration (RMSEC). PLS was slightly well suited for quantitative analysis of CLO compared to PCR. FTIR spectroscopy in combination with multivariate calibration offers rapid, no excessive chemical reagent, and easy in operational to be applied for determination of CLO in binary mixture with other oils.
In this study, the Hg levels in eight parts of Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anderson collected from 14 sites were determined using a Mercury Atomizer MA-1S and a Mercury Detector MD-1. It was found that the ranges for all the parts were 3.21-18.2 μg/kg dry weight for flowers, 1.29-11.2 μg/kg dry weight for stalks, 0.32- 29.4 μg/kg dry weight for seeds, 0.87-10.2 μg/kg dry weight for pericarps, 1.45-18.1 μg/kg dry weight for remainders, 11.8-68.2 μg/kg dry weight for leaves, 0.73-20.9 μg/kg dry weight for stems, and 3.40-33.1 μg/kg dry weight for roots. The overall Hg accumulation pattern in decreasing concentrations was leaf > root > flower > flower remains > stalk > stem > pericarp > seed. This study provided the background levels of Hg in this non-native invasive weed species in Malaysia. However, further studies are needed to confirm it as a biomonitors of Hg in this region.
Several organisms have been used as indicators, bio-monitoring agents or test organisms in ecotoxicological studies. A close relative of the well established Japanese medaka, the Java medaka (Oryzias javanicus), has the potential to be a test organism. The fish is native to the estuaries of the Malaysian Peninsula, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. In this study, newly fertilised eggs were exposed to different concentrations of Cd and Hg. Observations were done on the development of the embryos. Exposure to low levels of Cd and Hg (0.01-0.05 ppm) resulted in several developmental disorders that led to death. Exposure to ≥1.0 ppm Cd resulted in immediate developmental arrest. The embryos of Java medaka showed tolerance to a certain extent when exposed to ≥1.0 ppm Hg compared to Cd. Based on the sensitivity of the embryos, Java medaka is a suitable test organism for ecotoxicology in the tropical region.
Bioactive peptides, as products of hydrolysis of diverse food proteins, are the focus of current research. They exert various biological roles, one of the most crucial of which is the antioxidant activity. Reverse relationship between antioxidant intake and diseases has been approved through plenty of studies. Antioxidant activity of bioactive peptides can be attributed to their radical scavenging, inhibition of lipid peroxidation and metal ion chelation properties of peptides. It also has been proposed that peptide structure and its amino acid sequence can affect its antioxidative properties. This paper reviews bioactive peptides from food sources concerning their antioxidant activities. Additionally, specific characteristics of antioxidative bioactive peptides, enzymatic production, methods to evaluate antioxidant capacity, bioavailability, and safety concerns of peptides are reviewed.
Membrane contactors using microporous membranes for acid gas removal have been extensively reviewed and discussed. The microporous membrane acts as a fixed interface between the gas and the liquid phase without dispersing one phase into another that offers a flexible modular and energy efficient device. The gas absorption process can offer a high selectivity and a high driving force for transport even at low concentrations. Using hollow fiber gas-liquid membrane contactors is a promising alternative to conventional gas absorption systems for acid gas capture from gas streams. Important aspects of membrane contactor as an efficient energy devise for acid gas removal including liquid absorbents, membrane characteristics, combination of membrane and absorbent, mass transfer, membrane modules, model development, advantages and disadvantages were critically discussed. In addition, current status and future potential in research and development of gas-liquid membrane contactors for acid gas removal were also briefly discussed.
The aim of this study was to determine the daidzein and genistein contents in Mangifera fruits. Three Mangifera species namely 'bacang' (Mangifera foetida), 'kuini' (M. odorata) and 'bambangan' (M. pajang) each from two different locations were selected. The extraction of isoflavones was carried out at 80oC for 30, 60 and 90 min. HPLC method was performed with a flow rate of 1.00 ml/min using three different separation columns to determine isoflavone contents. The Zorbax Eclipse RP C18 reverse-phase column was found to give the best resolution for isoflavone separation in Mangifera fruits. Moreover, extraction time of 90 min was found to increase the isoflavone aglycone contents. At optimised condition, 'kuini'' had relatively high daidzein (9.4-10.5 mg/100 g) and genistein (1.6-1.7 mg/100 g) contents. Daidzein content of 'bambangan' (8.3-8.7 mg/100 g) was higher than 'bacang', but the genistein content of 'bambangan' (0.4-0.6 mg/100 g) was similar to that of 'bacang' (0.4-0.8 mg/100 g). However, there was a variation in daidzein and genistein contents in Mangifera fruits between two geographical locations.
This study aims to evaluate the antioxidant activity (total antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities) of seaweeds commercially available in the Malaysian supermarket. Four types of seaweeds namely Nori (Porphyra sp.), Kumbu (Laminaria sp.), Wakame (Undaria sp.) and Hijiki (Hijikia sp.) were used in the study. The extracts were prepared with water and ethanol, respectively. The b-carotene bleaching and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assays were used to determine antioxidant properties of seaweeds by measuring the decrease in absorbance at 470 and 517 nm. In water extract, Kumbu showed the highest total antioxidant activity of 63% compared with other samples. Kumbu, Nori and Hijiki exhibited higher radical scavenging activity than Wakame when extracted with water. Wakame exhibited the highest antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities in ethanolic extract with 58% and EC50 = 0.42 mg/ml respectively. The results of ANOVA analysis show significant differences (p<0.05) in the means of total antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of the seaweeds. The results showed that processed commercial seaweeds exhibited varying degrees of antioxidant properties.