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Curtin Sarawak signs MOU with Malaysian Pepper Board

 

Saturday, 1 December 2007 - Curtin University of Technology Sarawak (Curtin Sarawak) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Malaysian Pepper Board recently at the Marriott Resort Spa Miri.

The MOU is aimed at setting a strategic partnership in research between the Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) and Curtin University of Technology Sarawak (Curtin Sarawak). As the follow up to this MOU, the research project entitled “Fine Particle Formation by Rapid Expansion of the Supercritical Solution (RESS) of Black Pepper‚s Bioactive Compounds – Design, Optimization & Experimental Studies” will be funded by MPB.

The research project’s objective is to find the bioactive compounds in the black pepper that will be useful for medicine such as anti-oxidants and others that might be used to cure diseases. The products will be delivered in powder form using Rapid Expansion of Supercritical Solutions (RESS) method. In the research, the team will also develop comprehensive dynamic models and operational strategies for maintaining a narrow and consistent particle size distribution.

 

L to R: Professor John Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor

of Curtin Sarawak overlooking Dato' Hatta Bin Solhee, Chairman of Curtin (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

L to R: Mr. Alex Chung (Director of Admnistration, CSM), Mr. Fredie Panau (General Manager, Curtin Consultancy Service), Dr. Yudi Samyudia (Head of Chemical Engineering Department & Project Leader)

 

“There is two steps involved in the development of the nutraceuticals products from the pepper,” said Dr. Yudi Samyudia, Project Leader of the Research team consisting of three academic staff, namely Freddie Panau, Tan Yin Ling and Cheng Chin Fook.

“First, we extract the compounds from the pepper using supercritical fluids such as carbon dioxide as a green solvent” he explained.

“After that, by using the Rapid Expansion Technology, the extract will turn into powder form. Furthermore, we will also investigate different bioactive compounds in the pepper that has a potential to be used for a medicine,” he added further.

This research project would result in new product innovations, insights and findings on a lab-scale fine particle formation system for producing nutraceutical products from black pepper, which would contribute towards the commercialization of the technology and the economy of Sarawak and Malaysia in general.

The Malaysian Pepper Board was established a year ago where MPB will not just focus on marketing peppers but conducting research projects to venture into finding solutions besides just using pepper in food.

“It could be a solution/cure to many health issues for cancer prevention, anti-aging, increase of memory, slimming and many more!” said Datuk Richard Riot Jaem, Chairman of MPB during the MOU signing ceremony.

“This is also a good long-term prospect for the pepper industry, its supported by the trend that more and more increasing use of neutral products due to increase health consciousness and the move towards using natural ingredients in pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries,” said Yang Berhormat Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Malaysia.

MPB also signed an MOU with University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), University Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Swinburne University Sarawak Campus. All respective Universities will be conducting a different research project in taking the pepper industry to more than just spices for food.