R&D should include commercialisation of research products

Research and development should not stop at the exploration of natural resources, but proceed on to commercialise research products for the good of society.

“A research finding should pave the way to positively change people’s livelihood and improve the nation’s economy in terms of product development and commercialisation,” said Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) director-general Datuk Dr Mohamad Roff Mohd Noor.

He said Sarawak is keen to invite investors to collaborate on research and development, all the way to the commercialisation of biodiversity resources.

“Sarawak is also known as a place for bio-prospecting for potential natural resources in relation to medicinal, cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical properties and also other potential usage in agriculture, food industry and biotechnology as well,” he said.

He was speaking at the 3rd Asean Microbial Biotechnology Conference (AMBC 2018) at Pullman Kuching on Tuesday.

The three-day conference carries the theme ‘Bio-Economy from the Unseen’ and features working papers from Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia, and is attended by 130 delegates.

“This conference is timely and apt to the current economic transformation of bio-based industries especially which relates to microorganisms, the unseen majority of the world,” said Mohamad Roff.

He believes that the theme was brilliantly chosen as the world has now opted for the use of microorganisms for various applications – from fixing gut health to healing cracking concrete buildings.

“Much more are being explored by the scientists across the globe.”

During a press conference after the official opening of the conference, Mohamad Roff revealed that Mardi has developed several technologies relating to the use of microbes.

“One of our significant achievements in this area is the use of Induce Systemic Resistance (ISR) to combat the devastating papaya disease,” he said, adding that they have commercialised this technology to All Cosmos Industries Sdn Bhd.

“We are still continuing our research on ISR to protect our banana plants against bacterial disease, padi against bacterial leaf blight (BLB) and bacterial disease of jackfruit.”

Mardi will also commercialise another product derived from nuclear polyhidrosis virus (NPV) to control lepidopteron pest of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables and chilli.

“In the area of biofertiliser, we have developed the Nitrogen-fixer fertiliser. In the food industry, we have developed ‘cocosgurt’, yogurt made from coconut milk and probiotic bacteria. For this product, we are still looking for entrepreneurs to commercialise.”

Mardi Agrobiodiversity and Environment Research Centre director and AMBC 2018 organising chairman Dato Dr Mohamad Zabawi Abdul Ghani, and National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Biotec), Thailand deputy executive director Dr Lily Eurwilaichitr were among those present.

During the launch of the conference, Mohamad Roff also launched a technical book called ‘Kompos’ outlining the production and use of compost.


-Written by Georgette Tan in Borneo Post Online. See original article link here.