The combination of superheated steam (SHS) with ligninolytic enzyme laccase pretreatment together with size reduction was conducted in order to enhance the enzymatic hydrolysis of oil palm biomass into glucose. The oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) and oil palm mesocarp fiber (OPMF) were pretreated with SHS and ground using a hammer mill to sizes of 2, 1, 0.5 and 0.25 mm before pretreatment using laccase to remove lignin. This study showed that reduction of size from raw to 0.25 mm plays important role in lignin degradation by laccase that removed 38.7% and 39.6% of the lignin from OPEFB and OPMF, respectively. The subsequent saccharification process of these pretreated OPEFB and OPMF generates glucose yields of 71.5% and 63.0%, which represent a 4.6 and 4.8-fold increase, respectively, as compared to untreated samples. This study showed that the combination of SHS with laccase pretreatment together with size reduction could enhance the glucose yield.
Oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB), contains abundant cellulose and hemicelluloses and can be used as a renewable resource for fuel and chemical production. This study, as the first attempt, aims to convert OPEFB derived sugars to polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). OPEFB collected from a Malaysia palm oil refinery plant was chemically pretreated and enzymatically hydrolyzed by an in-house prepared cellulase cocktail. The PHB producer, Bacillus megaterium R11, was isolated in Singapore and could accumulate PHB up to 51.3% of its cell dry weight (CDW) from both glucose and xylose. Tryptone was identified as its best nitrogen source. PHB content and production reached 58.5% and 9.32 g/L, respectively, for an overall OPEFB sugar concentration of 45 g/L. These respectively reached 51.6% and 12.48 g/L for OPEFB hydrolysate containing 60 g/L sugar with a productivity of 0.260 g/L/h.
There are increasing applications of diazotrophic rhizobacteria in the sustainable agriculture system. A field experiment on young immature oil palm was conducted to quantify the uptake of N derived from N₂ fixation by the diazotroph Bacillus sphaericus strain UPMB-10, using the ¹⁵N isotope dilution method. Eight months after ¹⁵N application, young immature oil palms that received 67% of standard N fertilizer application together with B. sphaericus inoculation had significantly lower ¹⁵N enrichment than uninoculated palms that received similar N fertilizers. The dilution of labeled N served as a marker for the occurrence of biological N₂ fixation. The proportion of N uptake that was derived from the atmosphere was estimated as 63% on the whole plant basis. The inoculation process increased the N and dry matter yields of the palm leaflets and rachis significantly. Field planting of young, immature oil palm in soil inoculated with B. sphaericus UPMB-10 might mitigate inorganic fertilizer-N application through supplementation by biological nitrogen fixation. This could be a new and important source of nitrogen biofertilizer in the early phase of oil palm cultivation in the field.
The oil palm sector is one of the major plantation industries in Malaysia. Palm kernel cake is a byproduct of extracted palm kernel oil. Mostly palm kernel cake is wasted or is mixed with other nutrients and used as animal feed, especially for ruminant animals. Recently, palm kernel cake has been identified as an important ingredient for the formulation of animal feed, and it is also exported especially to Europe, South Korea, and Japan. It can barely be consumed by nonruminant (monogastric) animals owing to the high percentages of hemicellulose and cellulose contents. Palm kernel cake must undergo suitable pretreatment in order to decrease the percentage of hemicellulose and cellulose. One of the methods employed in this study is fermentation with microorganisms, particularly fungi, to partially degrade the hemicellulose and cellulose content. This work focused on the production of enzymes by Aspergillus niger and profiling using palm kernel cake as carbon source.
MAIN CONCLUSION: X-ray microtomography results revealed that delignification process damaged the oil palm fibers, which correlated well with reduction of lignin components and increase of the phenolic content. Biodegradation investigation of natural fibers normally focuses on physico-chemical analysis, with less emphasis on physical aspect like fiber structures affect from microbial activity. In this work, the performance of Pycnoporus sanguineus to delignify oil palm empty fruit bunch fibers through solid-state fermentation utilizing various ratio of POME sludge was reported. In addition to tensile testing, physico-chemical and X-ray microtomography (µ-CT) analyses on the oil palm fibers were conducted to determine the effectiveness of the degradation process. The best ratio of fiber to fungi (60:40) was chosen based on the highest lignin loss and total phenolic content values and further investigation was performed to obtain fermentation kinetics data of both laccase and manganese peroxidase. µ-CT results revealed that delignification process damaged the pre-treated and untreated fibers structure, as evident from volume reduction after degradation process. This is correlated with reduction of lignin component and increase of the phenolic content, as well as lower stress-strain curves of the pre-treated fibers compared to the untreated ones (from tensile testing). It is suggested that P. sanguineus preferred to consume the outer layer of the fiber, before it penetrates through the cellular structure of the inner fiber.
Malaysia is the second largest palm oil producer in the world and this industry generates more than 80 million tonnes of biomass every year. When considering the potential of this biomass to be used as a fermentation feedstock, many studies have been conducted to develop a complete process for sugar production. One of the essential processes is the pre-treatment to modify the lignocellulosic components by altering the structural arrangement and/or removing lignin component to expose the internal structure of cellulose and hemicellulose for cellulases to digest it into sugars. Each of the pre-treatment processes that were developed has their own advantages and disadvantages, which are reviewed in this study.
We evaluated 38 dura x pisifera (DP) oil palm progenies in four locations in Malaysia for genotype by environment interaction and genotypic stability studies. The DP progenies derived from crosses between pisifera palms of AVROS, Serdang S27B, Serdang 29/36, and Lever Cameroon were chosen to be the males' parent and Deli dura palms designated as females' parent. All the locations differed in terms of soil physical and chemical properties, and the soil types ranged from coastal clay to inland soils. The genotype by environment interaction and stability of the individual genotypes were analyzed for oil yield trait using several stability techniques. A genotype by environment interaction was detected for oil yield and it had a larger variance component than genotypic variance (σ(2)(gl)/σ(2)(g) = 139.7%). Genotype by environment interaction of oil yield was largely explained by a non-linear relationship between genotypic and environmental values. Overall assessment of individual genotypic stability showed that seven genotypes were highly stable and had consistent performance over the environments for the oil yield trait [total individual genotype stability scored more than 10 and mean oil yielded above the average of the environment (genotype means are more than 34.37 kg·palm(-1)·year(-1))]. These genotypes will be useful for oil palm breeding and tissue culture programs for developing high oil yielding planting materials with stable performance.
Adsorption capacity of an agricultural waste, palm-tree fruit stones (date stones), for phenolic compounds such as phenol (Ph) and p-nitro phenol (PNPh) at different temperatures was investigated. The characteristics of such waste biomass were determined and found to have a surface area and iodine number of 495.71 m2/g and 475.88 mg/g, respectively. The effects of pH (2-12), adsorbent dose (0.6-0.8 g/L) and contact time (0-150 min) on the adsorptive removal process were studied. Maximum removal percentages of 89.95% and 92.11% were achieved for Ph and PNPh, respectively. Experimental equilibrium data for adsorption of both components were analyzed by the Langmuir, Freundlich and Tempkin isotherm models. The results show that the best fit was achieved with the Langmuir isotherm equation with maximum adsorption capacities of 132.37 and 161.44 mg/g for Ph and PNPh, respectively. The kinetic data were fitted to pseudo-first order, pseudo-second order and intraparticle diffusion models, and was found to follow closely the pseudo-second order model for both components. The calculated thermodynamic parameters, namely ΔG, ΔH, and ΔS showed that adsorption of Ph and PNPh was spontaneous and endothermic under examined conditions.
In this study, we report the molecular characterization of clone Eg707 isolated from cell suspension culture of the oil palm. The deduced polypeptide of clone Eg707 is highly similar to an unknown protein from Arabidopsis thaliana. The presence of an Ald-Xan-dh-C2 superfamily domain in the deduced protein sequence suggested that Eg707 protein might be involved in abscisic acid biosynthesis. Eg707 might be present as a single copy gene in the oil palm genome. This gene is highly expressed in tissue cultured materials compared to vegetative and reproductive tissues, suggesting a role of this gene during oil palm somatic embryogenesis or at the early stages of embryo development. Expression analysis of Eg707 by RNA in situ hybridization showed that Eg707 transcripts were present throughout somatic embryo development starting from proembryo formation at the embryogenic callus stages till the maturing embryo stages. Since proembryo formation within the embryogenic callus is one of the first key factors in oil palm somatic embryo development, it is suggested that Eg707 could be used as a reliable molecular marker for detecting early stage of oil palm somatic embryogenesis.
Optimizing the production of microporous activated carbon from waste palm shell was done by applying experimental design methodology. The product, palm shell activated carbon was tested for removal of SO2 gas from flue gas. The activated carbon production was mathematically described as a function of parameters such as flow rate, activation time and activation temperature of carbonization. These parameters were modeled using response surface methodology. The experiments were carried out as a central composite design consisting of 32 experiments. Quadratic models were developed for surface area, total pore volume, and microporosity in term of micropore fraction. The models were used to obtain the optimum process condition for the production of microporous palm shell activated carbon useful for SO2 removal. The optimized palm shell activated carbon with surface area of 973 m(2)/g, total pore volume of 0.78 cc/g and micropore fraction of 70.5% showed an excellent agreement with the amount predicted by the statistical analysis. Palm shell activated carbon with higher surface area and microporosity fraction showed good adsorption affinity for SO2 removal.
Bisulfite pretreatment is a proven effective method for improving the enzymatic hydrolysis of empty fruit bunch (EFB) from oil palm for bioethanol production. In this study, we set out to determine the changes that occur in the structure and properties of EFB materials and fractions of hemicellulose and lignin during the bisulfite pretreatment process. The results showed that the crystallinity of cellulose in EFB increased after bisulfite pretreatment, whereas the EFB surface was damaged to various degrees. The orderly structure of EFB, which was maintained by hydrogen bonds, was destroyed by bisulfite pretreatment. Bisulfite pretreatment also hydrolyzed the glycosidic bonds of the xylan backbone of hemicellulose, thereby decreasing the molecular weight and shortening the xylan chains. The lignin fractions obtained from EFB and pretreated EFB were typically G-S lignin, and with low content of H units. Meanwhile, de-etherification occurred at the β-O-4 linkage, which was accompanied by polymerization and demethoxylation as a result of bisulfite pretreatment. The adsorption ability of cellulase differed for the various lignin fractions, and the water-soluble lignin fractions had higher adsorption capacity on cellulase than the milled wood lignin. In general, the changes in the structure and properties of EFB provided insight into the benefits of bisulfite pretreatment.
Palm kernel cake (PKC) is the main byproduct from the palm oil industry in several tropical countries that contains considerable amounts of oligosaccharide. We earlier demonstrated beneficial prebiotic effects of oligosaccharides extract of PKC (OligoPKC) in starter and finisher broiler birds. This study was envisaged to elucidate the effects of in ovo and/or oral administration of the OligoPKC on prenatal and post-hatched broiler chicks. A total of 140 broiler (Cobb500) eggs were randomly divided into two groups (n = 70 each), and on day 12 of incubation, eggs in one group received in ovo injection of 0.1 mL (containing 20 mg) of OligoPKC, while those in the other group received 0.1 mL of saline (placebo) solution. Of these in ovo placebo or OligoPKC injected eggs, after hatching, six chicks from each group were sampled for day-one analysis, while 48 chicks from each group were randomly allocated to two dietary regimes involving either no feeding or feeding of OligoPKC through basal diet for a 14 days experiment forming the experimental groups as: (i) saline-injected (Control, C), (ii) OligoPKC-injected (PREBovo), (iii) saline-injected, but fed 1% OligoPKC (PREBd), and (iv) OligoPKC-injected and also 1% OligoPKC (PREBovo+d). In ovo injection of prebiotic OligoPKC had no effect on body weight and serum immunoglobulins concentrations of day old chicks, except for IgG, which was increased significantly (P<0.05). Body weight and feed conversion ratio of 14 days old chicks were neither affected by in ovo injection nor feeding of OligoPKC. However, populations of cecal total bacteria and major beneficial bacteria of the chicks were markedly enhanced by feeding of OligoPKC (PREBd and PREBovo+d > C and PREBovo), but lesser influenced by in ovo OligoPKC injection. Irrespective of its prior in ovo exposure, chicks fed OligoPKC diets had lower population of pathogenic bacteria. Overall serum immunoglobulin status of birds was improved by feeding of OligoPKC but in ovo OligoPKC injection had minor effect on that. In most cases, in ovo OligoPKC injection and feeding of OligoPKC reduced the expression of nutrient transporters in the intestine and improved antioxidant capacity of liver and serum. It is concluded that in ovo injection of OligoPKC increased IgG production and antioxidant capacity in serum and liver of prenatal chicks and had limited carrying-over effects on the post-hatched chicks comparing to the supplementary feeding of OligoPKC.
Proteomics technologies were first applied in the oil palm research back in 2008. Since proteins are the gene products that are directly correspond to phenotypic traits, proteomic tools hold a strong advantage above other molecular tools to comprehend the biological and molecular mechanisms in the oil palm system. These emerging technologies have been used as non-overlapping tools to link genome-wide transcriptomics and metabolomics-based studies to enhance the oil palm yield and quality through sustainable plant breeding. Many efforts have also been made using the proteomics technologies to address the oil palm's Ganoderma disease; the cause and management. At present, the high-throughput screening technologies are being applied to identify potential biomarkers involved in metabolism and cellular development through determination of protein expression changes that correlate with oil production and disease. This review highlights key elements in proteomics pipeline, challenges and some examples of their implementations in plant studies in the context of oil palm in particular. We foresee that the proteomics technologies will play more significant role to address diverse issues related to the oil palm in the effort to improve the oil crop.
The aim of this study was to develop an economical bioprocess to produce the fermentable sugars at laboratory scales Using Oil Palm Frond (OPF) as substrate in Solid State Fermentation (SSF). OPF waste generated by oil palm plantations is a major problem in terms of waste management. However, this lignocellulosic waste material is a cheap source of cellulose. We used OPF as substrate to produce fermentable sugars. The high content of cellulose in OPF promises the high fermentable sugars production in SSF. Saccharification of OPF waste by A. niger USMAI1 generates fermentable sugars and was evaluated through a solid state fermentation. Physical parameters, e.g., inoculum size, initial substrate moisture, initial pH, incubation temperature and the size of substrate were optimized to obtain the maximum fermentable sugars from oil palm fronds. Up to 77 mg of fermentable sugars per gram substrate was produced under the optimal physical parameter conditions. Lower productivity of fermentable sugars, 32 mg fermentable sugars per gram substrate was obtained under non optimized conditions. The results indicated that about 140.6% increase in fermentable sugar production after optimization of the physical parameters. Glucose was the major end component amongst the fermentable sugars obtained. This study indicated that under optimum physical parameter conditions, the OPF waste can be utilized to produce fermentable sugars which then convert into other products such as alcohol.
Lower concentration of glucose was often obtained from enzymatic hydrolysis process of agricultural residue due to complexity of the biomass structure and properties. High substrate load feed into the hydrolysis system might solve this problem but has several other drawbacks such as low rate of reaction. In the present study, we have attempted to enhance glucose recovery from agricultural waste, namely, "sago hampas," through three cycles of enzymatic hydrolysis process. The substrate load at 7% (w/v) was seen to be suitable for the hydrolysis process with respect to the gelatinization reaction as well as sufficient mixture of the suspension for saccharification process. However, this study was focused on hydrolyzing starch of sago hampas, and thus to enhance concentration of glucose from 7% substrate load would be impossible. Thus, an alternative method termed as cycles I, II, and III which involved reusing the hydrolysate for subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis process was introduced. Greater improvement of glucose concentration (138.45 g/L) and better conversion yield (52.72%) were achieved with the completion of three cycles of hydrolysis. In comparison, cycle I and cycle II had glucose concentration of 27.79 g/L and 73.00 g/L, respectively. The glucose obtained was subsequently tested as substrate for bioethanol production using commercial baker's yeast. The fermentation process produced 40.30 g/L of ethanol after 16 h, which was equivalent to 93.29% of theoretical yield based on total glucose existing in fermentation media.
Oil palm is one of the most productive oil producing crops and can store up to 90% oil in its fruit mesocarp. However, the biosynthetic regulation and drivers of palm mesocarp development are still not well understood. Multiplatform metabolomics technology was used to profile palm metabolites during six critical stages of fruit development in order to better understand lipid biosynthesis. Significantly higher amino acid levels were observed in palm mesocarp preceding lipid biosynthesis. Nucleosides were found to be in high concentration during lipid biosynthesis, whereas levels of metabolites involved in the tricarboxylic acid cycle were more concentrated during early fruit development. Apart from insights into the regulation of metabolites during fruit development in oil palm, these results provide potentially useful metabolite yield markers and genes of interest for use in breeding programs.
Developmental biochemical information is a vital base for the elucidation of seed physiology and metabolism. However, no data regarding the biochemical profile of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) seed development has been reported thus far. In this study, the biochemical changes in the developing oil palm seed were investigated to study their developmental pattern. The biochemical composition found in the seed differed significantly among the developmental stages. During early seed development, the water, hexose (glucose and fructose), calcium and manganese contents were present in significantly high levels compared to the late developmental stage. Remarkable changes in the biochemical composition were observed at 10 weeks after anthesis (WAA): the dry weight and sucrose content increased significantly, whereas the water content and hexose content declined. The switch from a high to low hexose/sucrose ratio could be used to identify the onset of the maturation phase. At the late stage, dramatic water loss occurred, whereas the content of storage reserves increased progressively. Lauric acid was the most abundant fatty acid found in oil palm seed starting from 10 WAA.
Termites are the major decomposers in tropical region but yet their occurrences in oil palm plantation especially in peat soil are generally treated as pest. Study of termite species in peat land was conducted in selected oil palm plantations in North Sarawak with 5-7 years old palms and South Sarawak with 13-15 years old palms with two sites in each area. Results of quadrate (25 x 25 x 30 cm) sampling showed termite was significantly higher in relative density with increasing depth of soil (0-10 = 21.23, 10-20 = 42.52 and 20-30 cm = 81.12%) which could be advantaged from being predated by ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) which were higher in density from soil surface to 10 cm soil depth with relative density of 31.84%. Modified transect sampling (50x6 m) had successfully sampled 18 species of termites from 2 families (Rhinotermitidae and Termitidae), 5 subfamilies (Rhinotermitinae, Coptotermitinae, Termitinae, Macrotermitinae and Nasutitermitinae) and 11 genera (Coptotermes, Schedorhinotermes, Termes, Macrotermes, Nasutitermes, Globitermes, Amitermes, Parrhinotermes, Pericapritermes, Havilanditermes and Prohamitermes). Both plantation sites have termite dominantly feeding on rotten wood as a result of abundant dead woods. However, Coptotermes curvignathus Holmgren was identified to feed on the living tissues of oil palm causing damage or death of the tree. Study showed higher encounter of soil-feeding termite in longer established plantation. It indicates the gradually shifting of soil condition towards a stabilized environment which favors the successful settlement of soil feeder termite species. Termite control should be more targets specific to avoid harming beneficial termites.
A split plot 3 by 3 experiment was designed to investigate the relationships among production of primary metabolites (soluble sugar and starch), secondary metabolites (total flavonoids, TF; total phenolics, TP), phenylalanine lyase (PAL) activity (EC 18.104.22.168), protein and antioxidant activity (FRAP) of three progenies of oil palm seedlings, namely Deli AVROS, Deli Yangambi and Deli URT, under three levels of CO₂ enrichment (400, 800 and 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹) for 15 weeks of exposure. During the study, the treatment effects were solely contributed by CO₂ enrichment levels; no progenies and interaction effects were observed. As CO₂ levels increased from 400 to 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹, the production of carbohydrate increased steadily, especially for starch more than soluble sugar. The production of total flavonoids and phenolics contents, were the highest under 1,200 and lowest at 400 μmol·mol⁻¹. It was found that PAL activity was peaked under 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹ followed by 800 μmol·mol⁻¹ and 400 μmol·mol⁻¹. However, soluble protein was highest under 400 μmol·mol⁻¹ and lowest under 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹. The sucrose/starch ratio, i.e., the indication of sucrose phosphate synthase actvity (EC 22.214.171.124) was found to be lowest as CO₂ concentration increased from 400 > 800 > 1,200 μmol·mol⁻¹. The antioxidant activity, as determined by the ferric reducing/antioxidant potential (FRAP) activity, increased with increasing CO₂ levels, and was significantly lower than vitamin C and α-tocopherol but higher than butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Correlation analysis revealed that nitrogen has a significant negative correlation with carbohydrate, secondary metabolites and FRAP activity indicating up-regulation of production of carbohydrate, secondary metabolites and antioxidant activity of oil palm seedling under elevated CO₂ was due to reduction in nitrogen content in oil palm seedling expose to high CO₂ levels.
Polyhydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV) is a polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastic group with thermoplastic properties is thus high in quality and can be degradable. PHBV can be produced by bacteria, but the process is not economically competitive with polymers produced from petrochemicals. To overcome this problem, research on transgenic plants has been carried out as one of the solutions to produce PHBV in economically sound alternative manner. Four different genes encoded with the enzymes necessary to catalyze PHBV are bktB, phaB, phaC and tdcB. All the genes came with modified CaMV 35S promoters (except for the tdcB gene, which was promoted by the native CaMV 35S promoter), nos terminator sequences and plastid sequences in order to target the genes into the plastids. Subcloning resulted in the generation of two different orientations of the tdcB, pLMIN (left) and pRMIN (right), both 17.557 and 19.967 kb in sizes. Both plasmids were transformed in immature embryos (IE) of oil palm via Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Assays of GUS were performed on one-week-old calli and 90% of the calli turned completely blue. This preliminary test showed positive results of integration. Six-months-old calli were harvested and RNA of the calli were isolated. RT-PCR was used to confirm the transient expression of PHBV transgenes in the calli. The bands were 258, 260, 315 and 200 bp in size for bktB, phaB, phaC and tdcB transgenes respectively. The data obtained showed that the bktB, phaB, phaC and tdcB genes were successfully integrated and expressed in the oil palm genome.