The combination of plant oils and 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV) precursors were evaluated for the biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) copolymers containing 3HV monomers by Cupriavidus necator H16. Among various mixtures of plant oils and 3HV-precursors, the mixture of palm kernel oil and sodium propionate was suitable for the biosynthesis of high concentration of PHA (6.8gL(-1)) containing 7mol% of 3HV. The 3HV monomer composition can be regulated in the range of 0-23mol% by changing culture parameters such as the initial pH, and the nitrogen source and its concentration. PHA copolymers with high weight-average molecular weights (Mw) ranging from 1,400,000 to 3,100,000Da were successfully produced from mixtures of plant oils and 3HV-precursors. The mixture of plant oils and sodium propionate resulted in PHA copolymers with higher M(w) compared to the mixture of plant oils and sodium valerate. DSC analysis on the PHA containing 3HV monomers showed the presence of two distinct melting temperature (Tm), which indicated that the PHA synthesized might be a blend of P(3HB) and P(3HB-co-3HV). Sodium propionate appears to be the better precursor of 3HV than sodium valerate.
In Malaysia, there has been interest in the utilization of palm oil and oil palm biomass for the production of environmental friendly biofuels. A biorefinery based on palm oil and oil palm biomass for the production of biofuels has been proposed. The catalytic technology plays major role in the different processing stages in a biorefinery for the production of liquid as well as gaseous biofuels. There are number of challenges to find suitable catalytic technology to be used in a typical biorefinery. These challenges include (1) economic barriers, (2) catalysts that facilitate highly selective conversion of substrate to desired products and (3) the issues related to design, operation and control of catalytic reactor. Therefore, the catalytic technology is one of the critical factors that control the successful operation of biorefinery. There are number of catalytic processes in a biorefinery which convert the renewable feedstocks into the desired biofuels. These include biodiesel production from palm oil, catalytic cracking of palm oil for the production of biofuels, the production of hydrogen as well as syngas from biomass gasification, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) for the conversion of syngas into liquid fuels and upgrading of liquid/gas fuels obtained from liquefaction/pyrolysis of biomass. The selection of catalysts for these processes is essential in determining the product distribution (olefins, paraffins and oxygenated products). The integration of catalytic technology with compatible separation processes is a key challenge for biorefinery operation from the economic point of view. This paper focuses on different types of catalysts and their role in the catalytic processes for the production of biofuels in a typical palm oil and oil palm biomass-based biorefinery.
This paper reports on the extraction of Moringa oleifera (MO) oil by using aqueous enzymatic extraction (AEE) method. The effect of different process parameters on the oil recovery was discovered by using statistical optimization, besides the effect of selected parameters on the formation of its oil-in-water cream emulsions. Within the pre-determined ranges, the use of pH 4.5, moisture/kernel ratio of 8:1 (w/w), and 300stroke/min shaking speed at 40°C for 1h incubation time resulted in highest oil recovery of approximately 70% (goil/g solvent-extracted oil). These optimized parameters also result in a very thin emulsion layer, indicating minute amount of emulsion formed. Zero oil recovery with thick emulsion were observed when the used aqueous phase was re-utilized for another AEE process. The findings suggest that the critical selection of AEE parameters is key to high oil recovery with minimum emulsion formation thereby lowering the load on the de-emulsification step.
The culture conditions for gibberellic acid (GA3) production by the fungus Penicillium variable (P. variable) was optimized using a statistical tool, response surface methodology (RSM). Interactions of culture conditions and optimization of the system were studied using Box-Behnken design (BBD) with three levels of three variables in a batch flask reactor. Experimentation showed that the model developed based on RSM and BBD had predicted GA3 production with R(2) = 0.987. The predicted GA3 production was optimum (31.57 mg GA3/kg substrate) when the culture conditions were at 7 days of incubation period, 21% v/w of inoculum size, and 2% v/w of olive oil concentration as a natural precursor. The results indicated that RSM and BBD methods were effective for optimizing the culture conditions of GA3 production by P. variable mycelia.
Solubility and matrix play an important role in the gut lumen in delivering bioactive compounds to the absorptive surface of enterocytes. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of certain commonly consumed lipids, soybean, olive and corn oil, on the transport and conjugation of flavonols (myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol and galangin) using the conjugation-competent co-cultured Caco-2/HT29-MTX intestinal cell monolayer model. To enable identification and quantification of conjugates, each flavonol was enzymatically glucuronidated or sulphated, then analysed by HPLC with triple quadrupole mass spectrometric detection. Quantification showed large differences in mass spectrometric peak area response factors between the aglycones and many of the conjugates, with galangin-sulphate for example ionising ∼15-fold better than galangin. Flavonol aglycones and conjugates were transported to the basolateral side of Caco-2/HT29-MTX co-cultures. The total amount of methyl, sulphate and glucuronide conjugates was in the order: galangin > quercetin > kaempferol > myricetin. All oils inhibited the transport and conjugation of galangin, the most hydrophobic flavonol, whereas they increased the sulphation, and to some extent glucuronidation, of quercetin and kaempferol. The results show that the lipid matrix has the potential to modify both transport and conjugation of dietary flavonols, but that the effect depends upon the structure and hydrophobicity.
The composting of lignocellulosic oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) with continuous addition of palm oil mill (POME) anaerobic sludge which contained nutrients and indigenous microbes was studied. In comparison to the conventional OPEFB composting which took 60-90 days, the rapid composting in this study can be completed in 40 days with final C/N ratio of 12.4 and nitrogen (2.5%), phosphorus (1.4%), and potassium (2.8%), respectively. Twenty-seven cellulolytic bacterial strains of which 23 strains were closely related to Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus firmus, Thermobifida fusca, Thermomonospora spp., Cellulomonas sp., Ureibacillus thermosphaericus, Paenibacillus barengoltzii, Paenibacillus campinasensis, Geobacillus thermodenitrificans, Pseudoxanthomonas byssovorax which were known as lignocellulose degrading bacteria and commonly involved in lignocellulose degradation. Four isolated strains related to Exiguobacterium acetylicum and Rhizobium sp., with cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic activities. The rapid composting period achieved in this study can thus be attributed to the naturally occurring cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic strains identified.
Optimization of the enzymatic synthesis of palm fatty hydrazide by the response surface methodology (RSM) was conducted using the Design-Expert 6 software. The palm fatty hydrazide was synthesized from refined, bleached and deodorized palm olein (RBDPOo) and neutralized hydrazine monohydrate in the presence of Rhizomucor miehei lipase, Lipozyme RMIM, an immobilized lipase in n-hexane. The reaction conditions such as the percentage of enzyme, reaction temperature, stirring speed and reaction time were selected as independent variables or studied factors, while the amount of crude palm fatty hydrazide obtained was selected as a dependent variable or response. The study was conducted using a central composite design (CCD) at five coded levels and the experimental data were analyzed using a quadratic model. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicates that the model was significant at 95% confidence level with Prob>F of 0.0033, where the regression coefficient value, R² was 0.8415 and lack-of-fit of 0.0984. A percentage of enzyme of 6%, a reaction temperature of 40°C, a stirring speed of 350 rpm and a reaction time of 18 h were found to be the optimum conditions for the conversion of RBDPOo into palm fatty hydrazide.
This paper investigates the degradation of polyhydroxyalkanoates and its biofiber composites in both soil and lake environment. Time-dependent changes in the weight loss of films were monitored. The rate of degradation of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB)], poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB-co-23 mol% 4HB)] and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB-co-9 mol% 3HV-co-19 mol% 4HB)] were investigated. The rate of degradation in the lake is higher compared to that in the soil. The highest rate of degradation in lake environment (15.6% w/w week(-1)) was observed with P(3HB-co-3HV-co-4HB) terpolymer. Additionally, the rate of degradation of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) [P(3HB-co-38 mol% 3HV)] was compared to PHBV biofiber composites containing compatibilizers and empty fruit bunch (EFB). Here, composites with 30% EFB displayed the highest rate of degradation both in the lake (25.6% w/w week(-1)) and soil (15.6% w/w week(-1)) environment.
The granulation process in palm oil mill effluent using calcium oxide-cement kiln dust (CaO-CKD) provides an attractive and cost effective treatment option. In this study the efficiency of CaO-CKD at doses of 1.5-20 g/l was tested in batch experiments and found that 10 g of CaO/l caused the greatest degradation of VFA, butyrate and acetate. An upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor was operated continuously at 35°C for 150 days to investigate the effect of CaO-CKD on sludge granulation and methanogenesis during start-up. The treatment of POME emphasized the influence of varying organic loading rates (OLR). Up to 94.9% of COD was removed when the reactor was fed with the 15.5-65.5 g-CODg/l at an OLR of 4.5-12.5 kg-COD/m(3)d, suggesting the feasibility of using CaO in an UASB process to treat POME. The ratio of volatile solids/total solids (VS/TS) and volatile fatty acids in the anaerobic sludge in the UASB reactor decreased significantly after long-term operation due to the precipitation of calcium carbonate in the granules. Granulation and methanogenesis decreased with an increase in the influent CaO-CKD concentration.
Acidolysis to incorporate oleic acid into refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD) palm olein (IV 56) using various lipases (enzymes) as catalysts to increase the oleic content of the oil was investigated. Immobilised lipases (lipase PLG, Lipozyme TL IM, Lipozyme RM IM and Novozym 435) and non-immobilised lipase (lipase PL) were used in this study to compare the effectiveness of the selected lipases in catalyzing the reaction to produce a high oleic oil. The results showed that the TAG of OLO/OOL content was increased at least 4 fold and OOO content was increased at least 3 fold when a 5% enzyme load was used. Lipase PL showed the greatest increase in tri-unsaturated triacylglycerols (TAGs) content. A pilot scale experiment conducted using TL IM enzyme, followed by recovery of the oil and fractionation allows the production of oils with varying oleic contents. A high oleic content of 56% was achievable.
Large volumes of untreated palm oil mill effluent (POME) pose threat to aquatic environment due to the presence of very high organic content. The present investigation involved two pilot-scale anaerobic expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) reactors, continuously operated for 1 year to treat POME. Setting HRT at 9.8 d, the anaerobic EGSB reactors reduced COD from 71179 mg/L to 12341 mg/L and recycled half of sludge by a dissolved air flotation (DAF). The average effluent COD was 3587 mg/L with the consistent COD removal efficiency of 94.89%. Adding cationic polymer (PAM) dose of 30 mg/L to DAF unit and recycling its half of sludge caused granulation of anaerobic sludge. Bacilli and small coccid bacteria were the dominant microbial species of the reactor. The reactor produced 27.65 m(3) of biogas per m(3) of POME which was utilized for electricity generation.
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is a potential substitute for some petrochemical-based plastics. This biodegradable plastic is derived from microbial fermentation using various carbon substrates. Since carbon source has been identified as one of the major cost-absorbing factors in PHA production, cheap and renewable substrates are currently being investigated as substitutes for existing sugar-based feedstock. Plant oils have been found to result in high-yield PHA production. Malaysia, being the world's second largest producer of palm oil, is able to ensure continuous supply of palm oil products for sustainable PHA production. The biosynthesis and characterization of various types of PHA using palm oil products have been described in detail in this review. Besides, by-products and waste stream from palm oil industry have also demonstrated promising results as carbon sources for PHA biosynthesis. Some new applications in cosmetic and wastewater treatment show the diversity of PHA usage. With proper management practices and efficient milling processes, it may be possible to supply enough palm oil-based raw materials for human consumption and other biotechnological applications such as production of PHA in a sustainable manner.
Genetic engineering remains a major challenge in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) because particle bombardment and Agrobacterium-mediated transformation are laborious and/or inefficient in this species, often producing chimeric plants and escapes. Protoplasts are beneficial as a starting material for genetic engineering because they are totipotent, and chimeras are avoided by regenerating transgenic plants from single cells. Novel approaches for the transformation of oil palm protoplasts could therefore offer a new and efficient strategy for the development of transgenic oil palm plants.
Lowland tropical forests are increasingly threatened with conversion to oil palm as global demand and high profit drives crop expansion throughout the world's tropical regions. Yet, landscapes are not homogeneous and regional constraints dictate land suitability for this crop. We conducted a regional study to investigate spatial and economic components of forest conversion to oil palm within a tropical floodplain in the Lower Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The Kinabatangan ecosystem harbours significant biodiversity with globally threatened species but has suffered forest loss and fragmentation. We mapped the oil palm and forested landscapes (using object-based-image analysis, classification and regression tree analysis and on-screen digitising of high-resolution imagery) and undertook economic modelling. Within the study region (520,269 ha), 250,617 ha is cultivated with oil palm with 77% having high Net-Present-Value (NPV) estimates ($413/ha-yr-$637/ha-yr); but 20.5% is under-producing. In fact 6.3% (15,810 ha) of oil palm is commercially redundant (with negative NPV of $-299/ha-yr-$-65/ha-yr) due to palm mortality from flood inundation. These areas would have been important riparian or flooded forest types. Moreover, 30,173 ha of unprotected forest remain and despite its value for connectivity and biodiversity 64% is allocated for future oil palm. However, we estimate that at minimum 54% of these forests are unsuitable for this crop due to inundation events. If conversion to oil palm occurs, we predict a further 16,207 ha will become commercially redundant. This means that over 32,000 ha of forest within the floodplain would have been converted for little or no financial gain yet with significant cost to the ecosystem. Our findings have globally relevant implications for similar floodplain landscapes undergoing forest transformation to agriculture such as oil palm. Understanding landscape level constraints to this crop, and transferring these into policy and practice, may provide conservation and economic opportunities within these seemingly high opportunity cost landscapes.
Oil palm tissues are rich in polyphenols, polysaccharides and secondary metabolites; these can co-precipitate with RNA, causing problems for downstream applications. We compared two different methods (one conventional and a kit-based method - Easy-Blue(TM) Total RNA Extraction Kit) to isolate total RNA from leaves, roots and shoot apical meristems of tissue culture derived truncated leaf syndrome somaclonal oil palm seedlings. The quality and quantity of total RNA were compared through spectrophotometry and formaldehyde gel electrophoresis. The specificity and applicability of the protocols were evaluated for downstream applications, including cDNA synthesis and RT-PCR analysis. We found that the conventional method gave higher yields of RNA but took longer, and it was contaminated with genomic DNA. This method required extra genomic DNA removal steps that further reduced the RNA yield. The kit-based method, on the other hand, produced good yields as well as well as good quality RNA, within a very short period of time from a small amount of starting material. Moreover, the RNA from the kit-based method was more suitable for synthesizing cDNA and RT-PCR amplification than the conventional method. Therefore, we conclude that the Easy-BlueTM Total RNA Extraction Kit method is suitable and superior for isolation of total RNA from oil palm leaf, root and shoot apical meristem.
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.
In this laboratory-scale study, earthworms were introduced as biodegraders of palm oil mill effluent (POME), which is a wastewater produced from the wet process of palm oil milling. POME was absorbed into amendments (soil or rice straw) in different ratios as feedstocks for the earthworm, Eudrilus eugeniae. The presence of earthworms led to significant increases in pH, electrical conductivity, and nutrient content but decreases in the C/N ratio (0.687-75.8%), soluble chemical oxygen demand (19.7-87.9%), and volatile solids (0.687-52.7%). However, earthworm growth was reduced in all treatments by the end of the treatment process. Rice straw was a better amendment/absorbent relative to soil, with a higher nutrient content and greater reduction in soluble chemical oxygen demand with a lower C/N ratio in the vermicompost. Among all treatments investigated, the treatment with 1 part rice straw and 3 parts POME (w/v) (RS1:3) produced the best quality vermicompost with high nutritional status.
Volumetric mass transfer coefficient (kLa) is an important parameter in bioreactors handling viscous fermentations such as xanthan gum production, as it affects the reactor performance and productivity. Published literatures showed that adding an organic phase such as hydrocarbons or vegetable oil could increase the kLa. The present study opted for palm oil as the organic phase as it is plentiful in Malaysia. Experiments were carried out to study the effect of viscosity, gas holdup, and kLa on the xanthan solution with different palm oil fractions by varying the agitation rate and aeration rate in a 5 L bench-top bioreactor fitted with twin Rushton turbines. Results showed that 10% (v/v) of palm oil raised the kLa of xanthan solution by 1.5 to 3 folds with the highest kLa value of 84.44 h(-1). It was also found that palm oil increased the gas holdup and viscosity of the xanthan solution. The kLa values obtained as a function of power input, superficial gas velocity, and palm oil fraction were validated by two different empirical equations. Similarly, the gas holdup obtained as a function of power input and superficial gas velocity was validated by another empirical equation. All correlations were found to fit well with higher determination coefficients.