Undergraduate Yeow Teck Ann Receives 2022 POPSIG Student Research Project Bursary


Yeow Teck Ann, a third-year undergraduate in Chemical Engineering Programme, was chosen as one of the three recipients of the 2022 IChemE Palm Oil Processing Special Interest Group (POPSIG) Student Research Project Bursary. 

Sponsored by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), the bursary is committed to promoting palm oil-related research among undergraduates and postgraduates undertaking 6-month original research related to the palm oil sector.

This year, the other two awardees are PhD candidates from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus and Taylor’s University, Malaysia, respectively.

The project will be carried out under the main supervision of Dr. Tan Jian Ping from the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering (SECE), co-supervised by Dr. Norazira Abdu Rahman and Dr. Hui Yew Woh from China-ASEAN College of Marine Sciences (CAMS). The project will be supported and conducted at the Kelip-kelip! Center of Excellence for Light Enabling Technologies. The project is successfully secured with the strong support and collaboration from Prof Chen Binghui from SECE and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yeap Swee Keong from CAMS. 

This is the second time that XMUM undergraduate has received this bursary.

The palm oil mill effluent (POME) and oil palm frond (OPF) are among the largest underutilized wastes generated from the palm oil industry. Despite being unable to be consumed directly, these untapped wastes have the potential to be recovered as substrates for the Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) - an alternative source of protein for aquaculture, animal feed, pet food and human nutrition - via biological conversion method. This technology establishes a circular bio-economy for the palm oil sector as shown below. 

This is the first project to investigate the cultivation of BSFL using POME and OPF as the substrate. Biological treatment method will be employed to convert the non-edible organic waste into edible form for BSFL.

“I have always been interested in biology,” said Yeow Teck Ann, “so I joined the team of Dr. Tan Jian Ping - an expert in biochemical engineering - in year two. This is actually my first formal laboratory research project.”

“There’s a good research atmosphere at XMUM - many lecturers encourage students to start doing research as early as possible, rather than just focusing on their coursework. I suggest my fellow students contact lecturers specializing in the field they are interested in proactively, which will improve their research ability and benefit their future development.”

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