Volume 8, Issue No 3-2, October 2021
A special issue from the
First UMS Colloquium on Fundamental Research and Application 2020, UMS-CoFA 2020.
17 August 2021. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

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Issues in Volume 8
I No 1 II No 2 II No 3 II No 3-2 (this issue) II No 3-3 II No 4 I

Cover Page and Table of Contents

Agriculture, Food and Bio-technology

A Short Review on the Potential of Fruits for the Production of Vinegar with Functional Properties
Hui Yin Fan; Lee Jau Shya; Mansoor Abdul Hamid; Hasmadi Mamat; Jahurul Haque Akanda; Siti Faridah Mohd. Amin. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 159 - 163.
Abstract Vinegar is known for its functional properties due to its health-conferring benefits. Vinegar is a natural food product that is produced from carbohydrate sources via alcoholic and acetic fermentation. Fruits are of great interest to be used in the making of vinegar due to their high contents of carbohydrates and health-associated compounds. This paper reviews the production of fruit vinegar as potential functional foods. Recent studies found that the fermentation of various fruits produced vinegar with reduced sugar content and increased acidity containing acetic acid predominantly. Results also revealed the enhanced antioxidant capacities and antimicrobial properties of some fruit vinegar. Hence, the use of fruits offers potential in the production of vinegar with functional properties.
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Effect of Garlic and Turmeric Powders on In Vitro Digestibility of the Cooked Rice
Ai Ling Ho; Chen Er Wong; Chee Kiong Siew. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 164 - 171.
Abstract Consumers nowadays are interested in foods with low glycemic index (GI) and high indigestible carbohydrate content. In Asia, white rice is the staple food and is generally considered as a readily digestible and high GI food. Occasionally, white rice is cooked by mixing with other ingredients such as herbs and spices. This study is carried out to determine the total phenolic content and the effect of in vitro digestibility on cooked white rice with added garlic and turmeric powders. Rice cooked with addition of turmeric powder (3 % w/w) showed the highest total phenolic content (92.02 mg GAE/100 g) among all the cooked rice samples. The effect of incorporating garlic powder (3 % w/w) and turmeric powder (3 % w/w) into the rice preparation was determined using an in vitro digestion protocol. Results show that by incorporating either garlic or turmeric powder into the rice, starch digestibility was significantly reduced. Rice with added turmeric powder showed a greater reduction in digestibility with significantly lower fraction of rapidly digestible starch (41.5 %; white rice 57.6 %) beside higher fraction of slowly digestible starch (36.1 %; white rice 28.4 %) and resistant starch fraction (22.6 %; white rice 14%). Overall, both spices were able to inhibit starch digestion which can be considered as a potential ingredient in lowering starch digestibility in the cooked rice.
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Sensory Evaluation and Nutrient Composition of Noodles Enriched with Wood Ear Mushroom (Auricularia polytricha) Powder
Dg Nur Shafanadirah Ag Sulaiman; Muhd Kamil Zakaria; Ramlah George; Patricia Matanjun. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 172-177.
Abstract Edible mushrooms are highly nutritious and have been regarded as a functional ingredient to improve the nutritional value of consumer food product including noodles. The objective of this study is to explore the feasibility of incorporating different levels of wood ear mushrooms (Auricularia polytricha) powder into noodles formulations and to assess the sensory properties and nutritional value of the final formulation. Six formulations of noodles containing different percentages of wood ear mushroom (WEM) powder, 0% (F1), 5% (F2), 10% (F3), 15% (F4), 20% (F5), and 25% (F6) were prepared. Sensory evaluation was conducted to determine the best formulation of noodles enriched with mushroom. Nutrient composition consisted of proximate and mineral analyses were determined for the best formulation. The F2 was the best formulation based on the highest score in all five sensory attributes such as colour, aroma, taste, texture, and overall acceptance. The addition of 5% of WEM powder had significantly (P<0.05) increased the protein and ash content of the noodles. The mineral content of F2 with 5% WEM powder resulted in significantly (P<0.05) higher potassium, magnesium and iron content, significantly (P<0.05) lower zinc content while sodium and calcium content were insignificantly (P>0.05) different from control. In conclusion, WEM powder can be incorporated to improve the nutritional value of noodles and 5% additions of WEM powder sensory attributes were found to be acceptable.
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Effect of Banana Peel Flour Incorporation (Musa acuminata) on Physicochemical and Sensory Profile of Chicken Sausage
Hana Binti Mohd Zaini; Mohd. Dona Bin Sintang; Suryani Binti Saalah; Noorakmar Ab. Wahab; Jumardi Bin Roslan; Wolyna Pindi. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 178 - 183.
Abstract Edible mushrooms are highly nutritious and have been regarded as a functional ingredient to improve the nutritional value of consumer food product including noodles. The objective of this study is to explore the feasibility of incorporating different levels of wood ear mushrooms (Auricularia polytricha) powder into noodles formulations and to assess the sensory properties and nutritional value of the final formulation. Six formulations of noodles containing different percentages of wood ear mushroom (WEM) powder, 0% (F1), 5% (F2), 10% (F3), 15% (F4), 20% (F5), and 25% (F6) were prepared. Sensory evaluation was conducted to determine the best formulation of noodles enriched with mushroom. Nutrient composition consisted of proximate and mineral analyses were determined for the best formulation. The F2 was the best formulation based on the highest score in all five sensory attributes such as colour, aroma, taste, texture, and overall acceptance. The addition of 5% of WEM powder had significantly (P<0.05) increased the protein and ash content of the noodles. The mineral content of F2 with 5% WEM powder resulted in significantly (P<0.05) higher potassium, magnesium and iron content, significantly (P<0.05) lower zinc content while sodium and calcium content were insignificantly (P>0.05) different from control. In conclusion, WEM powder can be incorporated to improve the nutritional value of noodles and 5% additions of WEM powder sensory attributes were found to be acceptable.
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A Short Review of Honey Supplementation on Bone Metabolism Markers and Sports Performance
Chee Ping Fadzel Wong. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 184 - 190.
Abstract Bee product such as honey has been used thousands of years ago as a healthy supplement among human being. Honey is a nutritious supplement and contains fructose, glucose amino acids and multivitamins-minerals. It is well documented that honey has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-mutagenic properties. An antioxidant agent is proven able to prevent several acute and chronic disorders such as inflammatory, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular and cancer. It is believed that honey is beneficial on bone health and sports performance but it is lacking solid scientific evidences to prove its efficacy. This article summarizes current evidences on the effects of honey supplementation on bone metabolism markers and sports performance.
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Physicochemical Properties and Heat Stability of Whey Protein Isolate-Lactose Conjugates Formed by Dry-Heating
Norliza Julmohammad; Don Otter; Yacine Hemar; Umi Hartina Mohd Razali; Sarizan Sabari. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 191 - 198.
Abstract Conjugation via MR consider as the safest and potential method in food industry. However, it is important to control the extent of conjugation via MR since the browning effect could lead to the health issues. There is great interest to understand the chemistry of MR, to improve the physicochemical properties, and to discover the potential of Maillard products with various functionalities. Whey protein isolate (WPI) has become an important source of functional ingredients in various health-promoting foods. However, WPI have problem with thermal instability that present during food processing. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the effect of dry-heating at different incubation time, then monitor the physicochemical properties and heat stability of WPI-Lactose conjugates. Conjugation of WPI with lactose was achieved by dry‐heating with the ratio of lactose to WPI 1:0.4 (wt/wt). Incubation time varying from 0 to 10 days at 40°C and water activity Aw = 0.79. o-pthaldialdehyde (OPA) assay was used to monitor the extent of conjugation. An incubation time of 3 days was selected as the standard conjugation time based on conjugation rates and the degree of Maillard browning. The result revealed that WPI-Lactose conjugates at 3 days incubation has slightly improved heat stability of protein. Thus, a new approach of WPI-Lactose conjugates has potential to produce better heat resistance milk protein products in the future.
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Isolation of Yeasts from Grapes for Rice Wine Starter Culture Preparation
Rovellyn Lawrence Odong; Fan Hui Yin; Zarina Amin; Rachel Fran Mansa; Clemente Michael Wong Vui Ling. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 199 - 202.
Abstract Rice wine is an alcoholic drink produced by fermentation of glutinous rice. It is a famous traditional drink in East Malaysia. The starter culture origins, which consisted of a yeast mixture determines the wine taste and alcohol content percentage. Most of the rice wine producers relied on the yeast starter culture sold in the market or from the leftover stock from the previous rice wine preparation which may not have proper quality control. Very often the content and composition of microbes in the yeast starter culture are unknown. Hence, rice wine produced is not consistent. Sometimes it is tasty and sweet, and sometimes it is sour, and this can be an issue if one wishes to market it as a product. Therefore, there is a need to formulate good quality yeast starter cultures to address the issues of product consistency and product quality. There is a long history of using grape yeasts to ferment grapes for wine production. Nevertheless, information on the fermentation of glutinous rice or starch using grape yeasts is sparse. Hence, the objectives of this project were to isolate yeast present during the grape must spontaneous fermentation, for the formulation of starter cultures. Different types of growth medium such as Yeast Potato Dextrose (YPD) and potato dextrose agar media were used to isolate the yeast. Fifteen yeast isolates, GY1 to GY15 were successfully isolated and purified. The fifteen isolates were combined and freeze-dried to form the starter culture for batch fermentation of glutinous rice. The colony-forming units (cfu) of the starter culture were 1 x105 which formed a good starter culture.
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Growth and Lipid Production of Isochrysis galbana in an Upscale Cultivation System
Erma Rizah Abdul Sani; Wilson Thau Lym Yong; Grace Joy Wei Lie Chin; Mailin Misson. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 203 - 209.
Abstract Microalgae for biofuel production require further research and development to be economically viable, especially in terms of cost and biomass production. These include the need to optimize the favorable growth conditions for low-cost but large-scale cultivation. This study aims to determine the best initial biomass concentration of Isochrysis galbana on a pilot scale cultivation system. Isochrysis galbana was cultured for 69 days in an upscaled 2-liter Erlemenmeyer flask with a variety of initial biomass concentrations using the previously established stock culture (250 ml) at 25°C room temperature, 16:8 light/dark cycle, and 135 µmol/m2/s light intensity. The initial biomass concentration was optimized from a range of 103 cells/ml to 104 cells/ml, 105 cells/ml, and 106 cells/ml. The cell density was calculated every three days to determine the growth curve, and the lipid content was measured weekly throughout the cultivation cycle. The results show that the 106 cells/ml initial concentrations produced the highest growth, but the 104 cells/ml initial concentration produced the highest lipid content. This finding indicates that a higher initial concentration might be better for cell growth in upscale cultivation, but not for lipid production, which may be due to the presence of threshold nutrients.
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Tomato - Characteristics, Processing and Future Trends in Automation for Smallholder Processing Industry: A Short Review
Zykamilia Kamin; Chiam Chel Ken; SM Anisuzzaman; Nurhamizah Abdul Ghani; Mohammad Abdullah; Mohd Hardyianto Vai Bahrun; Awang Bono. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 210 - 219.
Abstract Tomato is one of a globally important warm-season vegetable crop. Overall, the whole fruit is edible. It contains sorbitol, phenylalanine, putrescine and vitamins such as B1, B2, and B3. Tomato also contains carotenoids such as α‐carotene, β‐carotene, lycopene, and xanthophylls. In addition, they also contain phytosterol, essential oils (terpenes geraniol and farnesol), flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin) and alkaloids (saponins). Since the processing of tomatoes affecting the content of nutrients, it is important to understand the details on how tomatoes are being processed. Tomato farming in Malaysia is mainly concentrated in the highlands. Kundasang, Sabah is one of the few areas where smallholder-farming tomatoes are planted due to its suitable environment and temperature. Although tomatoes from smallholder farmers are usually for direct consumption, stockpiling occurred recently due to movement-controlled order enforced in Malaysia to control COVID-19 transmission, affecting the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Kundasang mainly due to logistics issues. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to review on tomato, its nutrients content, and processing technology giving importance on aspect of nutrient retention by monitoring and controlling process parameters using low-cost IoT-based automation and its future directions for smallholder tomato farmers.
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Computer Modelling and Assessment

A New Splitting for Gauss-Seidel Iteration in Solving One-Dimensional Porous Medium Equations
Jackel Vui Lung Chew; Jumat Sulaiman. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 220 - 224.
Abstract This paper proposes a new matrix splitting technique to improve the Gauss-Seidel iteration to solve one-dimensional porous medium equations. The new splitting uniquely decomposes the coefficient matrix generated from a linear system by further splitting the diagonal part of the matrix into two parts. An unconditionally stable discretization, the implicit finite difference method, is used in the approximation equation formulation. The formulated nonlinear approximation equation is then linearized using the Newton method. The generated system of linear equations is large-sized and sparse, and the coefficient matrix has tridiagonal nonzero entries. A Gauss-Seidel iteration is derived to obtain the solution of the system of linear equations. As a contribution of the paper, the Gauss-Seidel iterative formula is extended to a new method of iteration, known as the Split Gauss-Seidel iteration. The performance comparison between the Gauss-Seidel method and the proposed Split Gauss-Seidel method is conducted by solving several examples of one-dimensional porous medium equations. The experiments compare the number of iterations, the computer time to complete the iteration process and the maximum absolute errors by the two methods. The numerical result shows that the Split Gauss-Seidel method needs fewer iterations and shorter computer time than the Gauss-Seidel method in computing the solutions of the selected examples. Besides that, the accuracy of the solutions has improved when the new matrix splitting technique is implemented. The paper shows that introducing a new matrix splitting technique to the Gauss-Seidel iteration can be a promising numerical matrix method to solve nonlinear parabolic partial differential equations. The theoretical convergence of the method will be studied in the future.
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Assessment of Airwell Performance in Single-Storey Terraced Houses
Mohd Suffian Misaran Misran; Heng Jin Tham; Christopher Chi Ming Chu; Djamila Harimi. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 225 - 238.
Abstract Single-storey terraced housing in Malaysia does not provide thermal comfort to its occupants due to poor dissipation of heat from solar irradiation unless mechanical cooling is installed, which adds to the urban heating island problem. This study is a simple assessment of natural ventilation performance of terrace houses which by law are built with an airwell and sized according to regulations. A typical room of 3 m x 4 m x 3 m with an adjacent airwell has been investigated by CFD simulation assuming ambient temperature of 30°C and atmospheric pressure of 101.3 kPa. The results show that with an airwell-chimney of 2.55 m above the roof the test room air velocity could reach 0.6 ms-1 for thermal comfort; while without the protruded chimney adverse cold inflow set in, and the indoor air flow velocity ranged from as low as 0.08 ms-1 to 0.21 ms-1. However, when the protruded chimney was not installed, but with a wiremesh-based blocker of adverse cold inflow installed on the airwell outlet, the indoor air flow velocity consistently reached 0.2-0.3 ms-1, which was about 45% higher than that without the blocker, and was within the recommended range for thermal comfort. The wiremesh blocker of adverse cold inflow could be an option to ventilate effectively single-storey terrace houses without the need of installing tall chimneys.
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Ultrasonic Atomiser System Performance Characterisation Study for Water Purification System Development
Wai Heng Choong; Muhamad Nizam Bin Nasip. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 239 - 244.
Abstract This paper presents a study in characterising the ultrasonic atomiser system performance for water purification system development. An experiment facility is developed for performing the water atomisation and condensation process for characterising the system performance. Ultrasonic atomiser utilised for atomising the storage water to become fine droplet or mist. The mist flowed into the mist trap to be condensed as the system product yield. The system performance characteristics (atomisation rate, yield rate, and efficiency) increased with the increment of atomiser units. System setup with four atomisers is more efficient than the system with a lesser unit of atomiser, where the system efficiency at 74.3 % with the capability of atomisation rate at 72.3 g/hr and production yield at 30.25 g/hr. The system efficiency may be affected by the system incapable of wholly diverted the mist to the mist trap for the condensation process and condensation process. Overall, the ultrasonic atomiser showed the potential in water purifying applications.
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Optimization of Antioxidant Extraction on Banana Peels Using Response Surface Methodology
Mohd Hafiz Abd. Majid; Hafeza Abu Bakar; Siti Nurfarina Ismail. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 245 - 251.
Abstract Banana peels are known as waste in the industry. Unutilized banana peels for other valuable purposes is also a disadvantage because banana peels contain a significant content of antioxidants. The purpose of the study is to produce antioxidants extract from banana peel waste. It also investigates the optimized condition for the extraction of antioxidants in banana peels under different parameters, which were ethanol concentration (20% to 80%), extraction period (5 min to 35 min) and extraction temperature (30°C to 50°C). The antioxidant activity of banana peel extract was assessed using DPPH radical scavenging assay. Results show that the highest antioxidant activity observed was 88.68%, and the lowest was 35.25% by experiment. The optimized conditions evaluated by Response Surface Methodology (RSM) are an ethanol concentration of 39.78%, an extraction period of 10.75 minutes and an extraction temperature of 43.99%. Under these optimized conditions, the antioxidant activity content was 89.82%, a 1.14% higher than the estimated value (88.68%). The parameters’ effect study shows a relationship where a lower concentration of ethanol, a longer extraction period, and a high extraction temperature increase antioxidant activity. The IC50 concentration of banana peel extract is 0.0646 mg/mL. In conclusion, banana peel extracts had shown to have a good potential of antioxidant content.
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Comparison on Experimental and Simulation Result on Drag Reducing Effect of Low Concentration Chitosan in Turbulent Flow
Mohd Asyraf Asidin; Emma Suali; Farhana Abd. Lahin. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 252 - 259.
Abstract Polymeric drag reducing agent (DRA) is widely used in various industries due to its ability to enhance fluid flow inside a pipe. The drag reduction (DR) caused by the addition of chitosan extracted from shrimp shell has been recently discovered and shows a promising potential as DRA. In this study, the drag reducing effect of low concentration chitosan was observed and compared with a simulation done using HYSIS software. The experiment is conducted in a closed loop circulation system where water is the transporting medium. The pipe system consists of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes with 0.013 m, 0.025 m and 0.038 m diameter. The chitosan was tested in five different concentrations. It was found that the highest DR obtained from experiment and simulation are 32% and 29% respectively which both obtained from the 0.038 m pipe with 30 ppm concentration. Both experimental and simulation results on DR show similar pattern with slight difference in value. In overall, it was found that low concentration DRA can reduce the formation of drag. The drag reduction increased as the concentration of chitosan increased and larger pipe diameter produced higher percentage of drag reduction.
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Tourists’ Attitudinal Factor Towards Mangrove Conservation: A Case Study of Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, Langkawi, Malaysia
Nurliyana Aqilah Asri; Fazilah Musa. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 260 - 266.
Abstract Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, Langkawi, is a significant spot for mangroves and geological ecotourism in Malaysia. Structured well-planned management and conservation as a tool to support sustainable ecotourism in Kilim Karst Geoforest Park are very crucial to establishing and maintaining UNESCO's Global Geopark designation. In this context, community appreciation is one of the critical approaches to the conservation of mangroves and geological areas that require address the underlying attitudes towards conservation and the needs, aspirations, history, and cultural heritage of local people. This study explores the attitudes of tourists towards mangroves conservation at Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, Langkawi. To this end, the study involved the Choice Experiments Method combined with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) attitude measures, and a total of 150 survey participants were assigned and interviewed using the random sampling method. Findings have shown that domestic tourists recognize other living creatures' right to control the ecosystem and have faith in human technology and innovation. Meanwhile, foreign tourists are less likely to be anthropocentric in their behaviours, explaining their hesitancy to allow human activities to alter the natural environment. Factor Analysis determined the factors in the 15 NEP statements selected by the respondents, and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) showed that the "risk of overuse" factor had the highest eigenvalues followed by the "biocentric" and the "technocentric optimist" factors. In conclusion, a proactive campaign platform could significantly increase public support for the environmental protection of mangroves in Malaysia.
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Energy and Material

Solar Concentrator for Electro-Conversion of CO2 to Solid Carbon
Nancy Julius Siambun; Ooi Shen Ching; Melvin Gan Jet Hong; Chua Bih Lii. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 267 - 272.
Abstract Capturing CO2 gas and converting it to useful product offers an alternative in mitigating the CO2 gas emission in atmosphere. The process is through electrolysis process in molten salt electrolyte to capture CO2 gas and convert it to solid carbon. To avoid addition released of CO2 gas through usage of electricity that mostly generated through fossil fuel burning, green energy from solar has been used for melting the electrolyte and running the electrolysis process. Thus, work has been focused in designing and developing a solar contractor for melting electrolyte and coupled with solar PV panel for driving the electrolysis process. One of the highlighted designs of solar concentrator is its ability to control the molten salt electrolyte temperature using Fresnel lens configuration. The heat energy generated from the solar concentrator melted the salt mixture of Li2CO3-CaCO3-LiCl (salt melting temperature ~500 oC) and maintained at desired temperature of 550 oC. Electrolysis or electro-conversion process in 180g carbonate salt electrolyte with stainless steel electrodes, and using solar photovoltaic, PV, panel with 12V/17AH battery had successfully produced solid carbon.
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Morphology of Lightweight Metakaolin-based Geopolymer Polystyrene Composite Paste at Early Ages
Mohd Azrul Abdul Rajak; Nur Mizan Izzati Masran; Sazmal Effendi Arshad; Eddy Mohd Farid Mohd Yusslee. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 273 - 280.
Abstract The integration of polystyrene foams as the lightweight agent in geopolymer is an alternative to produce a lightweight metakaolin-based geopolymer. Meanwhile, the microstructure studies assist to provide better understanding towards the formation of lightweight geopolymer. Hence, the present study examined the morphological characteristics of lightweight metakaolin-based geopolymer polystyrene composite at an early age. The lightweight metakaolin-based geopolymer paste is prepared at ratio 0.7 by using sodium hydroxide as an alkaline activator and the addition of polystyrene foams at ratio of 0.3. The morphology of the lightweight metakaolin-based geopolymer polystyrene paste was analyzed through SEM analysis at 14 days curing ages. The lightweight geopolymer at early ages consisted of the unresponsive metakaolin and porous gel as it gave less dense and compact microstructure. Meanwhile, the analysis showed that the polystyrene foams blended-well in the geopolymer matrix. However, the high temperature during the curing process damages the texture of some of the polystyrene foams. Yet, the utilization of the polystyrene foams as lightweight agents is believed to produce a lightweight metakaolin-based geopolymer.
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Environmental and Management

Manufacturing of Beach Cleaning Machine at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Prototype Design and Analysis
Nurmin Bolong; Ismail Saad; Mohd Amran Madlan. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 281 - 289.
Abstract A beach cleaning machine that suits local Kota Kinabalu shoreline beach profiles is designed and developed in this paper. For a clean future, beach cleaning is essential to collect garbage from the beach with a simple and practical design and at the same time able to create an environmentally user-friendly influence. This work has developed a custom-made beach cleaner machine by incorporating local fabricator and mechanical equipment such as collector, conveyor, motor, and gears by applying walk-behind sifting-raking systems for a single man. The UMS-Beach Cleaning Machine (UMS-BCM) operation and implementation were studied at UMS Outdoor Development Centre (ODEC) beach, part of Teluk Likas beach at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The methodology involves operation and specification analysis of the prototype, testing on-site, and user surveys. Up to 88% of the users agree that the application of the UMS-BCM can ease and help clean the beach, and most of them (94%) giving positive feedback where they can operate the device efficiently as a single operator.
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Palm Kernel Shell Activated Carbon for Lead and Methylene Blue Removal
Decklary Jawing; Syahriadi Syahril; Mohd Hardyianto Vai Bahrun; Rachel Fran Mansa. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 290 - 304.
Abstract Palm kernel shell activated carbon (PKSAC) is a porous material with high surface area used in adsorption application. The abundance of palm kernel shells from palm oil mills attracted researchers to use them as a precursor for activated carbon. This research investigates the ability of PKSAC for lead ion (Pb2+) and methylene blue (MB) removal. Two size of PKSACs (0.4 mm and 1.4 mm) were prepared through chemical activation with 50w/w% potassium hydroxide, followed by activation in tube furnace at 800°C, and named as 0.4-50 PKSAC and 1.4-50 PKSAC, respectively. Morphology of PKS biochar and PKSACs were observed using field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) to observe the surface characteristics. The PKSACs were characterized for their ash and moisture content, iodine number, pH, and bulk density. Then, the response surface methodology (RSM) employing Box-Behnken design, with three independent variables were used to construct the experimental design for batch adsorption study, with percentage removal as the response. The independent variables were initial concentration (5 – 20 ppm for Pb2+, 50 – 250 ppm for MB), pH (4.5 – 7 for Pb2+, 4 – 10 for MB) and contact time (20 – 60 min for Pb2+, 60 – 120 min for MB). The interactive effect of the independent variables on the percentage removal of Pb2+ and MB by 0.4-50 PKSAC and 1.4-50 PKSAC were investigated using 3D surface plots. The highest experimental Pb2+ percentage removal by 0.4-50 PKSAC and 1.4-50 PKSAC was 98.20% and 95.48%, respectively, at conditions of initial concentration of 20 ppm, contact time of 60 min and pH 7. While the highest experimental MB percentage removal by 0.4-50 PKSAC and 1.4-50 PKSAC was 99.97% and 98.71%, respectively, at initial concentration of 50 ppm, contact time of 90 min and pH 10. Overall, the present study concludes the ability of PKSACs in removing Pb2+ and MB, with reported percentage removal of >95%.
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The Nonlinear Autoregressive Exogenous Neural Network Performance in Predicting Malaysia Air Pollutant Index
Rosminah Mustakim; Mazlina Mamat. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 305 - 310.
Abstract Predicting the air quality is important particularly in the areas where air pollution is becoming a major health problem. This paper presents and evaluates the Nonlinear Autoregressive Exogenous (NARX) Neural Network performance in predicting the Air Pollutant Index (API) at three industrial areas in Malaysia: Pasir Gudang, Larkin and TTDI Jaya. The NARX was implemented in an open loop feed-forward architecture and was trained to produce an hour ahead API prediction based on the past values of air quality and meteorological parameters. Six air quality parameters: CO, NO2, O3, PM2.5, PM10, SO2, and three meteorological parameters: wind direction, wind speed and ambient temperature were used as input while the API was set as the output. The prediction performance was measured by using the Coefficient of Determination (R2) and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) tests. Results show that the performance of NARX model was encouraging with R2 value above 0.97 and RMSE value around 1.21 based on the data collected in 2018 at the three monitoring stations.
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Removal of Trace Oil From Palm Oil Mill Effluent Using Polypropylene Nanofibers as Adsorbent
Mohd Hardyianto Vai Bahrun; Ernee De Vanesa Halun; Zykamilia Kamin; Awang Bono. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 311 - 316.
Abstract This paper aimed to investigate the removal of trace amount of oil from palm oil mill effluent (POME) by using polypropylene nanofibers (PPNF) as solid adsorbent. The potential on removing trace oil was carried out using synthetic POME in batch adsorption experiment. The investigation on surface morphology of PPNF revealed the lower density of fibrous and porous structure between fibers. The adsorption data of PPNF for removing trace oil were depicted by fitting it using Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. The adsorption isotherm plot revealed a linear behavior of oil onto PPNF at very low concentration. The Freundlich isotherm shows better fitting on the experimental data with R2 of 0.8983 and SSE of 0.0249, which suggest heterogeneity of adsorption process on PPNF. This suggest potential employability of PPNF to be used in removing trace amount of oil.
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Effect of Physicochemical Properties of Oil-palm-waste-based Substrates on Mycelia Growth Rate of Pleurotus ostreatus
Aubrey Mei Li Lee; Clament Fui Seung Chin; Jaya Seelan Sathiya Seelan; Huei Hong Lee; Mohd Rashid Mohd Rakib. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 317 - 323.
Abstract Malaysia produces a large quantity of empty fruit bunch (EFB) and oil palm frond (OPF) every year, these wastes are not efficiently utilized, and causing disposal problems and pollute the environment. On the other hand, it has been reported that oyster mushrooms grown on oil palm by-products produced good yield. Thus, this study was carried out to investigate the effect of physical and chemical properties of the substrate on the mycelia growth rate of Pleurotus ostreatus on three treatments: namely, 100% EFB, 100% OPF, and the mixture of 50% EFB and 50% OPF. All treatments had five replicates and arranged in a completely randomized design (CRD). Chemical and physical properties; concentration of C, N, K, P, Cu, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, moisture content, ash content, volatile solids content, pH, electrical conductivity, wet bulk density, particle density, and porosity were measured. The number of days taken for mycelia to entirely colonized the substrate bag was recorded. It was found that pH, EC, and the concentration of C, N, P, Cu, Ca, Mg, and Zn were significantly affected by substrate formulations. It took 23-25 days for mycelia to entirely colonized the substrate in all treatments. However, the mycelia growth rate of P. ostreatus was not significantly affected by the physicochemical properties of substrate formulations.
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Isolation and Characterization of Multifunction Beneficial Bacteria From Dairy Farm Effluent Compost
Noor Khairani Mohamad Basri; Januarius Gobilik; Lum Mok Sam; Chong Khim Phin; Kimberly Ador; Mohamadu Boyie Jalloh; Clament Chin Fui Seung. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 324 - 330.
Abstract Compost is a good biomass reservoir of a broad range of microbial communities, with bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes being the main microorganisms groups reported in the literature. Some bacteria assigned as plant growth-promoting agents are capable of enhancing plant growth and improving soil fertility. In this study, bacteria with multiple beneficial traits for potential use in agriculture were screened and characterized from the dairy farm effluent (DFE) compost. A total of 160 bacterial colonies originally picked from 11 selective media were purified and used in this study. The variations among the isolates in plant growth beneficial traits were studied by agar plate and spectrophotometric assays. Results revealed 38 isolates exhibited multiple plant growth beneficial traits and there were nitrogen fixation, solubilization of potassium, zinc silicate, and organic and inorganic phosphorus, as well as production of iron-chelating siderophore, chitinase, protease, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC)-deaminase, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), and hydrogen cyanide (HCN). From the 160 isolates, 34.38% were label as high IAA production isolates, 33.75% were able to metabolize ACC, 8.13% were able to produce high HCN, and the remaining 23.82% isolates showed moderately low or absence of activities. These data suggested that DFE compost contains multifunction beneficial traits bacteria and its utilization on agricultural crops has the potentials to influence plant health and productivity in various ways. These include fixation of nitrogen, enhance mobilizing of insoluble soil minerals such as P and K, as well as provide basal protection against plant pathogens through HCN production and chitinase activity. As a summary, this study showed DFE compost is a potent plant growth booster with multiple effective microorganisms and has the potential application in novel bio-fertilizer formulations for the Malaysian agriculture sector.
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Education, Technology and Awareness

Consumers Readiness to do Away with Single-use Plastic Straws
Leoneeta Rozwen Hassan; DK Rafidzah AK Mohiddin; Nurul Afiqah Abd Rahman. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 331 - 334.
Abstract The negative impact plastic straw on the environment has led to the vast campaign and banning of straws to curb the usage of single-use straw, especially in food premise. Reusable straw made from stainless steel may offer the solution to the problem from getting worse. However, not everyone is willing to bring their straw every time they dine out. Eliminating the use of single-use plastic straw may prove to be effective in tackling this problem. Thus, the objective of this study is to determine consumers readiness not to use single-use plastic straw. The study was conducted on 422 respondents from Kuala Lumpur, specifically in the Golden Triangle area through convenience sampling. Data collected from questionnaires were then analyzed using descriptive analysis. Results showed most respondents are willing to do away with single-use plastic straw, especially when drinking cold beverage as well as using a recyclable or compostable straw. Overall, readiness of consumers in Kuala Lumpur to do away with single-use plastic straw is high. Therefore, initiatives to reduce the usage of single-use plastic straw should focus on strategies most preferred by respondents.
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Gamification for Tourist Guide Application
Elinne Yong; Aslina Baharum; Siti Hasnah Tanalol; Dinna @ Nina Mohd. Nizam; Farhana Diana Deris; Noorsidi Aizuddin Mat Noor. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 335 - 342.
Abstract Tourist Guide application is a mobile application that will be useful for all visitors for a holiday. This application (app) is proposed to provide visitor information about attractive places. Through the app, visitors easily find out the most attractive places by using the map as the app will recommend visitors the top destination to visit. Thus, it is important as they do not have to waste their time seeking information about the location's place and details. The less attractive of the current system affects the user engagement. Thus, the gamification elements that will be implemented in the app can provide a new way of interaction and engagement in a fun and rewarding way. The elements of gamification that will be implemented are point, reward and challenge. The challenge or mini-game, such as quizzes, will make visitors go to the location to find the answers. Not only that, but the visitors also may receive some reward based on the point they collect for each of the correct answers they give. Hence, the app was developed to provide information about the attractions to users and encourage and motivate the users who visit the places. The methodology used for developing the Tourist Guide app is prototyping. The software will be developed in a few phases, including an initial requirement, design, prototyping, customer evaluation, review and update, and final system development.
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Student Engagement in Learning: A Preliminary Study on Digital Educational Application
Suhaila Jaffar; Dinna Nina Mohd Nizam; Aslina Baharum; Nooralisa Binti Mohd Tuah; Farhana Diana Deris; Noorsidi Aizuddin Mat Noor. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 343 - 354.
Abstract In this modern age, more children are becoming frequent smartphone users. This research presents an approach to engage students with Digital Educational Games. The emergence of digital technologies has increased interest in education and the learning process. Particularly in e-learning, teachers face difficulties in promoting and engaging students in the learning process, and vice versa. However, thanks to new technology that incorporates new methods into the e-learning process overcomes these problems. The objectives of this study are to identify the features and guidelines for designing an engaging Digital Educational Games using qualitative method. A locally developed educational application was used in the preliminary study to identify the gamification elements on 15 participants, and seven elements were identified. A proposed guideline to encourage learning engagement from this study and literature review was suggested. This research shows gamification, which by hope future research can develop educational games that engages students to learn.
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Indigenous and Local Knowledge

Earthquake Vulnerability Index of Buildings in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Noor Sheena Herayani Harith; Nur Izzati Husna Hassan; Mohd Irwan Adiyanto; Ahmad Nurfaidhi Rizalman; Sk Muiz Bin Sk Abd Razak. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 355 - 362.
Abstract Sabah has experienced an increasing number of low to moderate seismic events throughout the years, owing to the presence of certain moderately active fault lines in the region. A significant earthquake struck in Ranau in 2015. Central and eastern Sabah, including Kota Kinabalu, were affected by the earthquake. Around 300 moderate magnitude earthquakes have occurred in this region during the last 150 years, ranging from MW 2.5 to MW 6.9. The majority of existing structures in Kota Kinabalu are based on wind and gravity loads, notably those built between the 1970s and 2000s. As a result, the inspection stages for building vulnerabilities are somewhat limited. The purpose of this study was to establish an earthquake vulnerability index for existing buildings in the city. The building databases contain information on the locations, structural and geometric properties of 247 structures that have been collected and analyzed. The obtained data is used to conduct an empirical assessment of the seismic vulnerability of existing buildings. Furthermore, this will be performed by employing a seismic vulnerability assessment with a score assignment, which is useful for analyzing a large number of buildings. Out of the total sampled buildings, the majority are classified as grade 3 and 4, suggesting a risk of severe structural damage. In comparison, only 5% of the population suffers from minor to no structural damage. In conclusion, the anticipated vulnerability index can be used to plan and carry out repair, reinforcing, and adaptation actions on existing structures that were designed and built without respect for earthquake loads. Such estimates may reveal weaknesses that should be avoided during the design and construction of new structures to avoid future earthquake damage.
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Water quality modelling using QUAL2K at Likas River, Sabah
Jason Lowell Jitolis; Awang Nasrizal Awang Ali; Nurmin Bolong. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 363 - 371.
Abstract Assessing water quality through modeling has the advantage of simplifying the tedious and complicated on-field investigations while reducing potential on-site risks, costs, and time. A combination of manual observation and simulation can predict water quality along the river, as the computer program can instantly generate reliable data based on the desired parameters. This technique also facilitates the river's data collection management for the selected points along the monitored river for any time and duration required. This work utilized the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from geospatial and satellite maps for obtaining the hydraulic parameters. Then the cross-section of the river has been generated based on the elevation data. The study collected samples from the Likas River and was characterized in the civil engineering environmental laboratory. The represented water quality data from 22nd December 2019 to 22nd February 2020, during the critical dry season, were used as input in the QUAL2K program to predict the selected Likas River's water quality model. The study found that the Likas River is possibly affected by effluent discharges from both the point and non-point sources of pollution from nearby commercial or residential areas and exceeds the Class-III river's BOD properties. Recommendation on utilizing stormwater filtration as on-site prevention is also highlighted in this work.
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Encouraging STEM Interest Among High School Students in Rural Area of Sabah: A BOTANIstNJA Module Integrated with Problem-Based Learning Case
Sitty Nur Syafa Bakri; Azlinah Matawali; Nur Ramziahrazanah Jumat; Fadzilah Ag Kanak; Iziana Hani Ismail. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 372 - 379.
Abstract Due to declining number of students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education (STEM) subjects, the Ministry of Education has introduced STEM packages option for Form 4 students starting January 2020. Nevertheless, it is important to cultivate the learning interest towards STEM subjects starting from the lower form. In this study, an integrated problem-based learning Biology module called BOTANIstNJA was implemented to Form 1 and 2 of a secondary school in a rural area to gauge their interest in learning STEM subject. Total of 79 students participated in this case study related to plants, simple plant specimen activity and early career exposure as a Botanist. Three perspectives: teaching, learning, and communications skills were evaluated through questionnaires and analysed by means of frequency distribution. All students expressed “strongly agree” at 78.5%, 57.0%, and 51.9%, respectively. This result suggests the effectiveness of the integrated problem-based learning module to stimulate students’ interest and shall be continued to encourage them in taking the STEM package.
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Effectiveness of PBL-STEM Module in Physics on Students' Interest: A Preliminary Finding of Implementation Amongst Students in Rural Areas of Sabah, Malaysia
Siti Nazirah Butai; Huzaikha Awang; Iziana Hani Ismail; Elnetthra Folly Eldy. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 380 - 387.
Abstract The significant drop of the students' interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-related programs in higher secondary and tertiary levels have drawn concerns by many, and it needs to be addressed before it leads to further technical dependency on foreign workers due to insufficient STEM graduates. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) offers an effective solution to boost students' interest in science by providing them with opportunities to solve real-life problems using science concepts. As a result, they are interested in learning science subjects and motivated to pursue science at the tertiary level. Thus, this study mainly investigates the preliminary effects of the PBL-STEM module in physics (i.e., electricity, magnetism) on the students' interests. This study adopted the pre-experimental one-group post-test design, with a supplemental questionnaire as its instrument to measure the dependent variable. The results show that the implementation of this module improves the students' self-learning, communication skills, interest in learning science (i.e., physics), and teamwork skills. As this is only an early stage of its implementation, more positive results may be seen if it is more frequently implemented with a longer duration and broader topics of physics being covered.
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A Preliminary Study on STEM Encouragement in Chemistry Subject: The Learning Experience of SMK Usukan Students in STEM AUMS Warrior Program
Ayu Afiqah Nasrullah; Nur Hazwani Dahon; Mohd Azrul Abdul Rajak; Megawati Mohd Yunus; Nur Anneliza Abd Latip; Sazmal Effendi Arshad; Eddy Mohd Farid Mohd Yusslee. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 388 - 393.
Abstract Currently, due to the lack of awareness in STEM education, the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students in Sabah has been continuously decreasing. It is crucial to engage school in rural area of Sabah with STEM activities to boost their interest towards STEM education. The primary goal of this study is to establish effective Chemistry-STEM module, analyzing the preliminary effects of the integration on the interest of students, and encouraging STEM education to rural students through chemistry subject. Present study is the preliminary investigation on the learning experience of students in STEM through the Chemistry module. For the purpose of this study, a sample of 74 students from the lower secondary school of SMK Usukan, Kota Belud, Sabah participated in The Power of Atom Module developed by Preparatory Centre for Science & Technology (PPST), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). Student’s learning experience data was gathered through a questionnaire that results in statistically significant improvement in STEM learning and communication skills. The findings suggested that the Chemistry-STEM module developed by Chemistry lectures encourage and enhance self-learning, interest in learning Science (i.e. Chemistry), teamwork skills and communications skills of the students. It shows that this module is approachable to rural schools in learning STEM education.
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Antiparasitic Potential of a Medicinal Plant Flower against Marine Parasitic Leech in Aquaculture
Muhammad Dawood Shah; Balu Alagar Venmathi Maran; Ching Fui Fui; Mohammad Tamrin Mohamad Lal; Sitti Raehanah Muhamad Shaleh. 2021. Transactions on Science and Technology, 8(3-2), 394 - 399.
Abstract The aquaculture industry is essential for food production and economic development in Malaysia and other parts of the world. The development is affected by the parasitic infestation on different cultured fish species. The most common marine parasitic leech Zeylanicobdella arugamensis (Hirudinea), which infests various cultured fishes in Malaysia, also in Southeast Asian countries. The current research aimed to elucidate the methanol extract of the flower of Dillenia suffruticosa (DS) belonging to the family Dilleniaceae as a natural control agent against marine parasitic leech Z. arugamensis. The leeches were collected from infested hybrid groupers in aquaculture facilities and challenged with various concentrations (25, 50 and 100 mg/ml) of the methanol extract of DS flower. The results demonstrated significant antileech activity against Z.arugamensis with total mortality in an average period of 53.77 ± 1.42, 37.63 ± 5.35 and 7.51 ± 0.74 min, respectively. Thus, the research displayed that the methanol extract of DS flower can act as a natural control agent against marine parasitic leech. The study will benefit fish farmers in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries to control the leeches using natural products.
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