Volume 7, Issue No 3-2
Science and Natural Resources 2020

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Issues in Volume 7
I No 1 II No 2 II No 3 II No 3-2 (this issue) II No 4 I

Cover Page and Table of Contents

Original Articles

Effects of Different Plasticizer Concentration on Characteristics of Biofilms Made from Semi-Refined Carrageenan (Kappaphycus alvarezii)
Evon Chia Hui Jun; Eunice Lua Hanry; Noumie Surugau. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 113 - 120.
Abstract Kappaphycus alvarezii is a carrageenan-rich seaweed, which has good potential as a substitute for biodegradable biofilms. Due to brittleness of seaweed biofilms, plasticizer agent(s) is added to improve their elasticity. This study investigates the effects of various concentrations (10 – 30%, w/w) of glycerol and sorbitol as combined plasticizers on the physio-chemical properties of biofilms made from semi-refined carrageenan (SRC) extracted from seaweed (Kappaphycus alvarezii) obtained from Semporna, Sabah. The results showed that FTIR spectra showed no significant difference in all the biofilms. Biofilm with combined glycerol and sorbitol at 1:1 ratio has the highest tensile strength at 10.9 ± 1.8 MPa, but with lower elongation at break of 4.5 ± 1.1%. Increasing the concentration of the combined plasticizers caused anti-plasticization effects. The SEM results showed morphology of the biofilms with combined plasticizers were smoother and structurally better arranged. The concentration of the combined plasticizers did not significantly affect the swell ability and biodegradability of the biofilms as they are hydrophilic polymers in nature. All biofilms were completely degraded after one day of burial tests. Although the tensile strength of the SRC biofilms was still lower for heavy duty like carrier plastic, nevertheless they show promising potential as "green" food wrapping due to its high biodegradability.
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Moisture Equilibration on Germinability and Seedling Performance of Cacao (Theobroma cacao) Seed
Shafeeqa Shahruddin; Mohammad Mohd Lassim; Azwan Awang; Haya Ramba; Elisa Azura Azman. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 121 - 126.
Abstract Cacao (Theobroma cacao) produces abundant fruits regularly. Thus, little attention is given to the storing of seeds. The recalcitrant nature of cacao seeds further poses challenges to the growers in ensuring the availability of high-quality seeds when required. In the scope of cacao seeds desiccation-sensitivity, the appropriate hydrated storage could minimize the loss of seed quality. This study aimed to evaluate the responses of moisture equilibration on the germinability and seedling performance of cacao seeds stored at different temperature and relative humidity (RH) conditions. Seeds from ripened cacao pods of PBC 123 clone were extracted, demucilaged and placed in zip-lock polyethylene bags to be stored at (i) 16°C, 40% RH, (ii) 16°C, 80% RH, (iii) air-conditioned room temperature, RT (25±2°C, 55±5% RH), and (iv) control (seeds freshly extracted from pods). Seeds were sampled every 24 hours over for 144 hours and evaluated for moisture content (MC), leachate conductivity (LC), germinability, and seedling performance. Seeds with higher MC had a significantly lower germination rate index (GRI) (r = -0.49). Seeds stored at RT and 16oC, 40% RH showed minimal fluctuations of MC (45 to 52%), a minimal decrease of seedling dry biomass (MASS), with higher GRI. However, seeds stored at RT germinated more and were fungi invaded during storage. Seeds stored at 16oC, 80% RH equilibrated at higher MC (49 to 56%) showed the lowest GRI and decreased of MASS after 96 hours of storage. Regardless of the RH, seeds stored at 16oC showed increase LC over time, which might enhance their deterioration. Despite the deterioration associated with seed aging, the storage condition of 16oC, 40% RH showed some promise in minimizing the loss of cacao seed quality within 144 hours of storage durations.
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Salinity Effect on the Growth and Yield of TR9 Rice Variety
Joyce Zhen Ting Looi; Mok Sam Lum. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 127 - 136.
Abstract Rice, being a major staple food, is crucial to more than half of the world’s population. However, the ever-increasing problem of salinity had reduced the productivity of rice in many paddy fields around the world. In this study, the growth and yield performance of TR9 rice variety were compared at different salinity levels to determine the salt tolerance of the rice. A pot experiment was conducted in the net house of Faculty of Sustainable Agriculture (FSA), Universiti Malaysia Sabah. The experimental design used was completely randomized design (CRD) and each treatment consisted of five replicates. The salinity treatments used were different concentrations of seawater of 0% (control), 2.5%, 5%, 7.5% and 10% which were applied throughout the planting process. The data was analyzed using One-way ANOVA and LSD was applied to compare means. No significant difference (P>0.05) were observed in flag leaf length, number of unfilled grains per panicle, 100-grains weight, number of panicles per plant and free proline content in roots. Conversely, plant height, number of tillers per hill, percentage of productive tillers, panicle length, number of grains per panicle, number of filled grains per panicle, harvest index and free proline content in leaves shown significant difference (P<0.05) between the treatments. It was concluded that the rice performance under treatment S1 (control) was better compared to the rice plants treated under treatment S2 (2.5% seawater). The rice yield obtained in treatment S1 was 2.88 tons/ha more than in treatment S2. Further studies on the effects of various salinity levels and stress duration on TR9 rice variety should be conducted for better yield.
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Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry-based High-Throughput, Unbiased Profiling of Upland and Lowland Rice Varieties Cultivated in Sabah
Hui Jun Ang; Ken Heng Mak; Mok Sam Lum. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 137 - 146.
Abstract Oryza sativa L. commonly known as rice is one of the most cultivated cereal worldwide which sustained over 50% of the world’s population. Malaysian rice cultivated in 2 systems namely lowland (irrigated rice) and upland (rain-fed rice). Rice varieties adapted different growth systems differ substantially from each other agronomic traits. It is challenging to distinguish from each other’s using their morphological characteristics. Therefore, we aimed to propose a high-resolution mass spectrometry-based high-throughput, unbiased approach to distinguish rice species (upland or lowland cultivation) using the chemotaxonomy approach using whole rice (including barns). From our preliminary results, orthogonal partial least square discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA), a supervised pattern-recognition technique, successfully discriminates the differently cultivated rice species with R2X, R2Y, and Q2 as 0.309, 0.914, and 0.871, respectively. Dendrogram demonstrates rice species were discerned from another. There are some plant-related metabolites and phospholipids species significantly differed between the cultivated rice species. Among the identified metabolites, the upland whole rice demonstrated a higher ratio of linoleic acid esters and glycerolipids including diacylglycerol lipids (DG), monoacylglycerol lipds (MG), and phosphocholine lipids (PC) compared to lowland whole rice. Interestingly, triacylglycerolipids were reduced in the upland as compared to lowland whole rice. It is suspected the rice expressed different levels of lipids contents play essential roles in rice germinations at adopted lands. Throughout such an approach, a systematic, scientific, evident-based approach could be established and proved an insight for the researcher to distinguish rice species and avoid nutrition facts exaggeration of specific rice species over the others.
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Priming Effects on Seed Germination of Tadong Upland Rice Collected in Sabah, Malaysia
Evelyn Koay Shin Rou; Mok Sam Lum. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 147 - 158.
Abstract Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is a food crop cultivated worldwide and serves as a staple food for more than half of the world’s population. However, the rice production in Malaysia is still unable to reach full sufficiency level and incapable to ensure the national food security as the production levels are still low especially the rice farms in hilly areas. The current self-sufficiency level of rice in Malaysia is 72% and still lacking of 8% from the target of 80% by 2023. Seed priming is one of the techniques to enhance seed performance with respect to uniformity and rate of germination which results better yields in crops. The objective of this research was to determine the priming effects of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 6000 on seed germination of Tadong upland rice. Seed germination of Tadong upland rice was determined under different concentrations of PEG 6000. The experiment was laid out in a completely randomized design with three replications. The priming treatments were five concentrations of 0, -2, -4, -6, and -8 bars using PEG 6000. The data was analyzed using One-way ANOVA and LSD was applied to compare means. The grain size of Tadong upland rice is very long (length of 9.90 mm) and the shape is medium (length/breadth ratio of 2.77). The colour of rice grain with husk is brownish yellow while without husk is reddish black in colour. All the germination traits including germination percentage, germination index, germination rate, mean germination time, germination speed and germination energy showed significant effects among priming concentrations. The highest germination percentage (95.67%), germination index (51.26), germination rate (0.223), germination energy (93.00%) and shortest mean germination time (4.48 days) was found from priming with distilled water (0 bar) but germination speed (100.00%) was found highest when it was treated with -2 bar osmotic potential of PEG 6000. It can be concluded that the higher the PEG concentration (-8 bar), the lower the germination index (35.99), germination rate (0.206), germination speed (94.27%) and germination energy (87.67%) and the longer the mean germination time (4.83 days).
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In Vitro Antifungal Activity of Thiram Against Ganoderma boninense
Elleiancly Yuli; Jedol Dayou; Khim Phin Chong. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 159 - 164.
Abstract Basal stem rot (BSR) which is caused by Ganoderma boninense (GB) is the most serious disease faced by oil palm industry, especially in Malaysia. To date, there is no satisfactory control measure for this disease, and researchers are investigating different approaches in managing the disease. The current study investigates the antifungal properties of Tetramethylthiuram disulfide or commonly known as thiram, against GB. The in vitro antifungal activity of thiram were expressed in inhibition of GB mycelia growth on Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA) incorporated with different concentrations of thiram (0.010, 0.012, 0.014, 0.016, 0.018, 0.020, and 0.030 mg/ml). The lower concentrations of thiram, such as 0.010 mg/ml, failed to inhibit the growth of GB completely. However, higher concentrations of thiram (0.012 to 0.020 mg/ml) significantly slow the growth rate of GB in comparison to control (without thiram). The concentration of thiram at 0.030 mg/ml completely inhibits the growth of GB. To further evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment, the GB treated mycelia were examined for their ergosterol content using HPLC. The result shows that a higher amount of ergosterol content was found in less effective treatments, and no ergosterol was found in sample when GB is completely inhibited.
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On the Propagation of Ganoderma boninense Infection of Basal Stem Rot in Oil Palm With the Aid of Acoustics Computed Assisted Tomography
Marcella Lennie Michael; Khim Phin Chong; Suzelawati Zenian; Alvie Lo Sin Voi; Jidon Janaun; Jedol Dayou. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 165 - 171.
Abstract Ganoderma boninense (GB), a causal agent of basal stem rot (BSR) disease, remains as a threat in oil palm plantation as it caused a considerable amount of yield losses especially in South East Asia. Studies related to spread and transmission of the disease through roots and airborne have been reported by researchers but, knowledge on the propagation inside the oil palm however are still very limited. This paper is a hypothesis on the infection propagation of GB in oil palm with the help of acoustics computed tomography system. Three different characteristics of oil palm which consist of healthy, asymptomatic and severely infected palm were selected and tested using an acoustic device for tomogram image construction. Result of the acoustics tomography image from each samples obtained from the experiment have revealed the possibility of infection propagation in oil palm stem. Hypothesis of Ganoderma boninense infection mechanisms are outlined and concluded.
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The Impacts of Permanent Food Production Park Program on the Participants’ Knowledge, Attitude, Practice and Income: A Case Study in Tawau, Sabah
Masni Mustamin; Abdul Rahim Awang; Assis Kamu. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 172 - 177.
Abstract Permanent Food Production Park program (or in Malay called as program Taman Kekal Pengeluaran Makanan, TKPM) is a strategy under Third National Agricultural Policy (DPN3). Tawau TKPM was started in 2008 with financial provision from the Federal Government. The project site was allocated by the Sabah State Government. The total area of the project was 92.3 hectares and divided into 59 lots, planted with various food crops. Currently, there are 43 entrepreneurs or participants involve in the project. The main purpose of this study was to identify the impacts of the implementation of Tawau TKPM on the knowledge, attitude, practices and income of the participants. The data for the study consisted of primary and secondary data. The primary data were obtained through questionnaire, while the secondary data were obtained from the records and reports published by the Department of Agriculture Sabah. All of the participants in the TKPM project in Tawau were selected as the respondents. The results of the Pearson’s chi-square test revealed that The TKPM project has certainly given a significant impact to the participants’ knowledge, attitude, and practices toward the good agricultural practices. The project at some extent has also successfully improved the participants’ income. The study also found that the TKPM project requires certain duration of participation to be effective since the participants are dealing with different types of food crops. The findings of the study can be used as a reference to the authority to enhance the effectiveness of this project as well as other similar projects if to be implemented in the state in the future.
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Optimal Plant Density, Nutrient Concentration and Rootzone Temperature for Higher Growth and Yield of Brassica rapa L. ‘Curly Dwarf Pak Choy’ in Raft Hydroponic System Under Tropical Climate
Andrea Joyce Maludin; Mok Sam Lum; Mohammad Mohd Lassim; Januarius Gobilik. 2020. Transactions on Science and Technology, 7(3-2), 178 - 188.
Abstract Little is known on the optimal plant densities, nutrient concentrations, and rootzone temperatures for Curly Dwarf Pak Choy’ (CDP) production in raft hydroponic system in tropical climate. In this study, five experiments were carried out to assess the growth and yield of CDP at 40, 50 and 61 plants/m2 × 1.7, 2.2 and 2.8 mS/cm nutrient concentrations (EC). This experiment was followed with single plant experiments in EC 2.2 mS/cm at 25°C/25°C - 27°C versus not-controlled/25°C - 38°C (rootzone °C/ambient °C). The highest growth and yield were achieved at 50 plants/m2, EC 2.2 mS/cm, and 25°C rootzone temperature. Marketable size was also achieved in less than 30 days at the lower temperature. Growth and yield, however, were not depending on plant density × nutrient concentration. These three factors need to be optimized to achieve a higher Pak Choy yield in raft hydroponic system in tropical climate.
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