Antioxidants are substances that may protect our cells against the effects of free radicals. Antioxidant substances include beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. Carotenes possess anti-cancer properties for preventing certain types of cancer diseases, enhance immunity, prevent blindness and skin disorders, as well as to protect against toxins, colds, flu and infections.
The benefits of carotenes are shown in Figure 1 (download file). World Health Organization considers vitamin A deficiency to be a public health problem in more than half of all countries and particular beta-carotene is the most important vitamin A precursor in human nutrition.
Carotenes can be found in yellow, orange, and green leafy fruits and vegetables. These can be carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantalouporangee, , winter squash and etc. as shown in Figure 2 (Download file). The demand for carotenes is high but carotenes preparations derived from extraction of vegetables are expensive due to high cost of raw materials. Since palm oil mills generate abundance of palm oil mill effluent (POME), carotenes can be recovered from the waste. POME are predominantly organic in nature and are highly polluting as shown in Figure 3.
Malaysia is basically an agricultural country and the major polluting industrial effluents have been from agro-based industries, which is palm oil industry. About 3 tonnes of POME was produced for every tonne of oil extracted in an oil mill. In 2007 alone, 15.8 milllion tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) have been produced, resulting in 47.4 million tonnes of POME. 284,000 tonnes of oil can be extracted from POME along with recovery of 140,000 kg of carotenes. If the POME is discharged untreated, for 47.4 million tonnes of POME, the amount of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) produced is 1.185 million tonnes which is equivalent to the waste generated by 64,931,500 citizens of the country (assuming each citizen produce 18.25 kg of BOD every year).
The global market for carotenoids is at USD 1 billion which rise annually by 2.9 per cent. The market value of natural carotenes is about RM6000 per kg. By treating POME accordingly, a 60 tonne FFB/hr palm oil mill can generate RM 5.52 M per year from carotenes recovery and for whole Malaysia the gross income generate from recovery of carotenes is about RM 852 M per year (Figure 4). This creates an opportunity for the palm oil millers to have a side income.
Carotenes can be recovered from POME, a readily available raw material and it is a breakthrough in POME wastewater treatment as no similar invention has been reported. Through this research, a downstream processing technology for converting POME into value added natural product, carotene is developed. Organic-aqueous extraction is used to retrieve oil from POME and adsorption chromatography approach is further adopted to recover the carotenes contained in the oil. This is in line with the world awareness towards creating a clean and healthy environment by using green technology, where waste is changed into wealth. Figure 5 shows the extraction of oil and carotenes recovery process.
This research creates a new and cheap source to attain carotenes. The utilization and reuse of agricultural waste into commercial value added product indirectly solve the environmental problem. Carotenes can be applicable as natural compounds in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
The whole process is a sustainable development for palm oil industries (Figure 6) where the pollution potential of POME which is oil and grease are removed for carotenes recovery and the remaining POME is water and solids which are non-hazardous. The remaining solids can be easily converted to organic fertilizer and the water can be recycled back for the palm oil mill usage. The organic fertilizer can be used for plantation and provides many benefits to the cultivation of oil palm.
In conclusion, this research changes waste into gold by incorporating the zero-discharge concept. The wastes produced are converted into products with high commercial values. It also gives positive impact to the public by solving environmental problem besides giving value added products.
Nerves control the body’s bacterial community
26.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Ageless ears? Elderly barn owls do not become hard of hearing
26.09.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences
26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.09.2017 | Information Technology