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  1. Wan Mahari WA, Azwar E, Li Y, Wang Y, Peng W, Ma NL, et al.
    Sci Total Environ, 2020 Nov 10;742:140681.
    PMID: 33167298 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140681
    The deforestation and burning of the Amazon and other rainforests is having a cascade of effects on global climate, biodiversity, human health and local and regional socioeconomics. This challenging situation demands a sustainable exploitation of the region's resources in accordance with the United Nations (UNs) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to meet Good Environmental Status and reduce poverty. The management of forests sustainability spans across at least eight of the 17 UN SDGs mainly to combat desertification, halt biodiversity loss, and reverse land degradation. Significant changes are needed if we are to sustain the world's rainforests and thereby the global climate and biodiversity. These measures and mitigations are of global responsibility requiring both developed and developing nations such as the United States, EU, and China to change their policies and stand regarding their high demand for meat and hardwood. When possible, non-profit tree-planting internet browsers should be implemented by governments and institutions. So far, there is a lack of active use of the UN SDGs and the countries must therefore need to fully adopt the UN SDGs in order to help the situation. One way to enforce this could be through imposing economic penalties to governments and national institutions that do not adhere to for example publishing open access of data and other important information relevant for the mission of the UN SDGs.
  2. Lam SS, Wan Mahari WA, Ma NL, Azwar E, Kwon EE, Peng W, et al.
    Chemosphere, 2019 Sep;230:294-302.
    PMID: 31108440 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.05.054
    Used baby diaper consists of a combination of decomposable cellulose, non-biodegradable plastic materials (e.g. polyolefins) and super-absorbent polymer materials, thus making it difficult to be sorted and separated for recycling. Microwave pyrolysis was examined for its potential as an approach to transform used baby diapers into value-added products. Influence of the key operating parameters comprising process temperature and microwave power were investigated. The pyrolysis showed a rapid heating process (up to 43 °C/min of heating rate) and quick reaction time (20-40 min) in valorizing the used diapers to generate pyrolysis products comprising up to 43 wt% production of liquid oil, 29 wt% gases and 28 wt% char product. Microwave power and operating temperature were observed to have impacts on the heating rate, process time, production and characteristics of the liquid oil and solid char. The liquid oil contained alkanes, alkenes and esters that can potentially be used as chemical additives, cosmetic products and fuel. The solid char contained high carbon, low nitrogen and free of sulphur, thus showing potential for use as adsorbents and soil additives. These observations demonstrate that microwave pyrolysis has great prospect in transforming used baby diaper into liquid oil and char products that can be utilised in several applications.
  3. Yan S, Ren T, Wan Mahari WA, Feng H, Xu C, Yun F, et al.
    Sci Total Environ, 2021 Aug 24;802:149835.
    PMID: 34461468 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149835
    Soil carbon supplementation is known to stimulate plant growth by improving soil fertility and plant nutrient uptake. However, the underlying process and chemical mechanism that could explain the interrelationship between soil carbon supplementation, soil micro-ecology, and the growth and quality of plant remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the influence and mechanism of soil carbon supplementation on the bacterial community, chemical cycling, mineral nutrition absorption, growth and properties of tobacco leaves. The soil carbon supplementation increased amino acid, carbohydrates, chemical energy metabolism, and bacterial richness in the soil. This led to increased content of sugar (23.75%), starch (13.25%), and chlorophyll (10.56%) in tobacco leaves. Linear discriminant analysis revealed 49 key phylotypes and significant increment of some of the Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) genera (Bacillus, Novosphingobium, Pseudomonas, Sphingomonas) in the rhizosphere, which can influence the tobacco growth. Partial Least Squares Path Modeling (PLS-PM) showed that soil carbon supplementation positively affected the sugar and starch contents in tobacco leaves by possibly altering the photosynthesis pathway towards increasing the aroma of the leaves, thus contributing to enhanced tobacco flavor. These findings are useful for understanding the influence of soil carbon supplementation on bacterial community for improving the yields and quality of tobacco in industrial plantation.
  4. Wan Mahari WA, Awang S, Zahariman NAZ, Peng W, Man M, Park YK, et al.
    J Hazard Mater, 2022 Feb 05;423(Pt A):127096.
    PMID: 34523477 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.127096
    Microwave co-pyrolysis was examined as an approach for simultaneous reduction and treatment of environmentally hazardous hospital plastic waste (HPW), lignocellulosic (palm kernel shell, PKS) and triglycerides (waste vegetable oil, WVO) biowaste as co-feedstock. The co-pyrolysis demonstrated faster heating rate (16-43 °C/min) compared to microwave pyrolysis of single feedstock (9-17 °C/min). Microwave co-pyrolysis of HPW/WVO performed at 1:1 ratio produced a higher yield (80.5 wt%) of hydrocarbon liquid fuel compared to HPW/PKS (78.2 wt%). The liquid oil possessed a low nitrogen content (< 4 wt%) and free of sulfur that could reduce the release of hazardous pollutants during its use as fuel in combustion. In particular, the liquid oil obtained from co-pyrolysis of HPW/WVO has low oxygenated compounds (< 16%) leading to reduction in generation of potentially hazardous sludge or problematic acidic tar during oil storage. Insignificant amount of benzene derivatives (< 1%) was also found in the liquid oil, indicating the desirable feature of this pyrolysis approach to suppress the formation of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Microwave co-pyrolysis of HPW/WVO improved the yield and properties of liquid oil for potential use as a cleaner fuel, whereas the liquid oil from co-pyrolysis of HPW/PKS is applicable in the synthesis of phenolic resin.
  5. Azwar E, Wan Mahari WA, Rastegari H, Tabatabaei M, Peng W, Tsang YF, et al.
    Bioresour Technol, 2022 Jan;344(Pt A):126202.
    PMID: 34710598 DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2021.126202
    Rapid growth of aquatic weeds in treatment pond poses undesirable challenge to shellfish aquaculture, requiring the farmers to dispose these weeds on a regular basis. This article reviews the potential and application of various aquatic weeds for generation of biofuels using recent thermochemical technologies (torrefaction, hydrothermal carbonization/liquefaction, pyrolysis, gasification). The influence of key operational parameters for optimising the aquatic weed conversion efficiency was discussed, including the advantages, drawbacks and techno-economic aspects of the thermochemical technologies, and their viability for large-scale application. Via extensive study in small and large scale operation, and the economic benefits derived, pyrolysis is identified as a promising thermochemical technology for aquatic weed conversion. The perspectives, challenges and future directions in thermochemical conversion of aquatic weeds to biofuels were also reviewed. This review provides useful information to promote circular economy by integrating shellfish aquaculture with thermochemical biorefinery of aquatic weeds rather than disposing them in landfills.
  6. Yek PNY, Peng W, Wong CC, Liew RK, Ho YL, Wan Mahari WA, et al.
    J Hazard Mater, 2020 08 05;395:122636.
    PMID: 32298946 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.122636
    We developed an innovative single-step pyrolysis approach that combines microwave heating and activation by CO2 or steam to transform orange peel waste (OPW) into microwave activated biochar (MAB). This involves carbonization and activation simultaneously under an inert environment. Using CO2 demonstrates dual functions in this approach, acting as purging gas to provide an inert environment for pyrolysis while activating highly porous MAB. This approach demonstrates rapid heating rate (15-120 °C/min), higher temperature (> 800 °C) and shorter process time (15 min) compared to conventional method using furnace (> 1 h). The MAB shows higher mass yield (31-44 wt %), high content of fixed carbon (58.6-61.2 wt %), Brunauer Emmett Teller (BET) surface area (158.5-305.1 m2/g), low ratio of H/C (0.3) and O/C (0.2). Activation with CO2 produces more micropores than using steam that generates more mesopores. Steam-activated MAB records a higher adsorption efficiency (136 mg/g) compared to CO2 activation (91 mg/g), achieving 89-93 % removal of Congo Red dye. The microwave pyrolysis coupled with steam or CO2 activation thereby represents a promising approach to transform fruit-peel waste to microwave-activated biochar that remove hazardous dye.
  7. Ren T, Chen N, Wan Mahari WA, Xu C, Feng H, Ji X, et al.
    Environ Res, 2021 01;192:110273.
    PMID: 33002505 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110273
    Pot experiments were conducted to investigate the influence of biochar addition and the mechanisms that alleviate Cd stress in the growth of tobacco plant. Cadmium showed an inhibitory effect on tobacco growth at different post-transplantation times, and this increased with the increase in soil Cd concentration. The growth index decreased by more than 10%, and the photosynthetic pigment and photosynthetic characteristics of the tobacco leaf were significantly reduced, and the antioxidant enzyme activity was enhanced. Application of biochar effectively alleviated the inhibitory effect of Cd on tobacco growth, and the alleviation effect of treatments is more significant to the plants with a higher Cd concentration. The contents of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and carotenoids in the leaves of tobacco plants treated with biochar increased by 9.99%, 12.58%, and 10.32%, respectively, after 60 days of transplantation. The photosynthetic characteristics index of the net photosynthetic rate increased by 11.48%, stomatal conductance increased by 11.44%, and intercellular carbon dioxide concentration decreased to 0.92. Based on the treatments, during the growth period, the antioxidant enzyme activities of tobacco leaves comprising catalase, peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and malondialdehyde increased by 7.62%, 10.41%, 10.58%, and 12.57%, respectively, after the application of biochar. Our results show that biochar containing functional groups can effectively reduce the effect of Cd stress by intensifying the adsorption or passivation of Cd in the soil, thereby, significantly reducing the Cd content in plant leaves, and providing a theoretical basis and method to alleviate soil Cd pollution and effect soil remediation.
  8. Wan Mahari WA, Waiho K, Azwar E, Fazhan H, Peng W, Ishak SD, et al.
    Chemosphere, 2022 Feb;288(Pt 2):132559.
    PMID: 34655643 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.132559
    Global production of shellfish aquaculture is steadily increasing owing to the growing market demands for shellfish. The intensification of shellfish aquaculture to maximize production rate has led to increased generation of aquaculture waste streams, particularly the effluents and shellfish wastes. If not effectively managed, these wastes could pose serious threats to human health and the ecosystem while compromising the overall sustainability of the industry. The present work comprehensively reviews the source, composition, and environmental implications of shellfish wastes and aquaculture wastewater. Moreover, recent advancements in the valorization of shellfish wastes into value-added biochar via emerging thermochemical and modification techniques are scrutinized. The utilization of the produced biochar in removing emerging pollutants from aquaculture wastewater is also discussed. It was revealed that shellfish waste-derived biochar exhibits relatively higher adsorption capacities (300-1500 mg/g) compared to lignocellulose biochar (<200 mg/g). The shellfish waste-derived biochar can be effectively employed for the removal of various contaminants such as antibiotics, heavy metals, and excessive nutrients from aquaculture wastewater. Finally, future research priorities and challenges faced to improve the sustainability of the shellfish aquaculture industry to effectively support global food security are elaborated. This review envisages that future studies should focus on the biorefinery concept to extract more useful compounds (e.g., carotenoid, chitin) from shellfish wastes for promoting environmental-friendly aquaculture.
  9. Wan Mahari WA, Waiho K, Fazhan H, Necibi MC, Hafsa J, Mrid RB, et al.
    Chemosphere, 2022 Mar;291(Pt 2):133036.
    PMID: 34822867 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.133036
    The recurrent environmental and economic issues associated with the diminution of fossil fuels are the main impetus towards the conversion of agriculture, aquaculture and shellfish biomass and the wastes into alternative commodities in a sustainable approach. In this review, the recent progress on recovering and processing these biomass and waste feedstocks to produce a variety of value-added products via various valorisation technologies, including hydrolysis, extraction, pyrolysis, and chemical modifications are presented, analysed, and discussed. These technologies have gained widespread attention among researchers, industrialists and decision makers alike to provide markets with bio-based chemicals and materials at viable prices, leading to less emissions of CO2 and sustainable management of these resources. In order to echo the thriving research, development and innovation, bioresources and biomass from various origins were reviewed including agro-industrial, herbaceous, aquaculture, shellfish bioresources and microorganisms that possess a high content of starch, cellulose, lignin, lipid and chitin. Additionally, a variety of technologies and processes enabling the conversion of such highly available bioresources is thoroughly analysed, with a special focus on recent studies on designing, optimising and even innovating new processes to produce biochemicals and biomaterials. Despite all these efforts, there is still a need to determine the more cost-effective and efficient technologies to produce bio-based commodities.
  10. Yek PNY, Wan Mahari WA, Kong SH, Foong SY, Peng W, Ting H, et al.
    Bioresour Technol, 2022 Mar;347:126687.
    PMID: 35007740 DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2022.126687
    Thermal co-processing of lignocellulosic and aquatic biomass, such as algae and shellfish waste, has shown synergistic effects in producing value-added energy products with higher process efficiency than the traditional method, highlighting the importance of scaling up to pilot-scale operations. This article discusses the design and operation of pilot-scale reactors for torrefaction, pyrolysis, and gasification, as well as the key parameters of co-processing biomass into targeted and improved quality products for use as fuel, agricultural application, and environmental remediation. Techno-economic analysis reveals that end product selling price, market dynamics, government policies, and biomass cost are crucial factors influencing the sustainability of thermal co-processing as a feasible approach to utilize the biomass. Because of its simplicity, pyrolysis allows greater energy recovery, while gasification has the highest net present value (profitability). Integration of liquefaction, hydrothermal, and fermentation pre-treatment technology has the potential to increase energy efficiency while reducing process residues.
  11. Wan Mahari WA, Nam WL, Sonne C, Peng W, Phang XY, Liew RK, et al.
    Bioresour Technol, 2020 Sep;312:123572.
    PMID: 32470829 DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2020.123572
    Microwave vacuum pyrolysis of palm kernel shell was examined to produce engineered biochar for application as additive in agriculture application. The pyrolysis approach, performed at 750 W of microwave power, produced higher yield of porous biochar (28 wt%) with high surface area (270 cm2/g) compared to the yield obtained by conventional approach (<23 wt%). Addition of the porous biochar in mushroom substrate showed increased moisture content (99%) compared to the substrate without biochar (96%). The mushroom substrate added with biochar (150 g) was optimal in shortening formation, growth, and full colonization of the mycelium within one month. Using 2.5% of the biochar in mushroom substrate desirably maintained the optimum pH level (6.8-7) during the mycelium colonization period, leading to high mycelium growth (up to 91%) and mushroom yield (up to 280 g). The engineered biochar shows great potential as moisture retention and neutralizing agent in mushroom cultivation.
  12. Wan Mahari WA, Peng W, Nam WL, Yang H, Lee XY, Lee YK, et al.
    J Hazard Mater, 2020 12 05;400:123156.
    PMID: 32574879 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123156
    A review of valorization of oyster mushroom species and waste generated in the mushroom cultivation is presented, with a focus on the cultivation and valorization techniques, conditions, current research status and particularly the hazard mitigation and value-added recovery of the waste mushroom substrate (WMS) - an abundant waste in mushroom cultivation industry. Based on the studies reviewed, the production rate of the present mushroom industry is inadequate to meet market demands. There is a need for the development of new mushroom cultivation methods that can guarantee an increase in mushroom productivity and quality (nutritional and medicinal properties). This review shows that the cylindrical baglog cultivation method is more advantageous compared with the wood tray cultivation method to improve the mushroom yield and cost efficiency. Approximately 5 kg of potentially hazardous WMS (spreading diseases in mushroom farm) is generated for production of 1 kg of mushroom. This encourages various valorization of WMS for use in agricultural and energy conversion applications, mainly as biocompost, plant growing media, and bioenergy. The use of WMS as biofertilizer has shown desirable performance compared to conventional chemical fertilizer, whilst the use of WMS as energy feedstock could produce cleaner bioenergy sources compared to conventional fuels.
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