SERI ISKANDAR: A group of researchers from Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) here have produced an organic-based 'biopesticide' to overcome the issue of pests while increasing paddy yield.
The 'biopesticide' was developed by five lecturers and 15 UTP students since 2015 under UTP's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
Its project leader Prof Madya Dr Suzana Yusup said the project which was a collaborative effort between UTP and the Agriculture Department as well as Bio-X Techno Sdn Bhd successfully proved that organic insecticides can overcome attacks from insects such as the brown plant hopper, locust and bugs.
"Farmers from the Perak Tengah district had suffered great losses which affected their source of income. Thus, UTP together with the government department and the private sector took the initiative to address the issue," she told Bernama after attending a briefing on the project at the Bota/Lambor Farmers Association, in Titi Gantong, near Bota Kiri, here today.
"Organic poison does not affect consumer's health nor damage the environment as it is made from plants in Malaysia," said Suzana who is also a lecturer at UTP's Chemical Engineering Department.
She said the study was conducted to identify the effectiveness of organic poison used for three seasons on paddy planting areas at the Paddy Centre of Excellence, in Titi Serong Agriculture Department.
"We have carried out two comparisons using organic poison and chemical poison. The findings of the study revealed that the (paddy) yield slightly increased although with unpredictable weather," she said.
Suzana added that UTP intends to promote the product in the domestic and foreign market while improving the quality of the 'biopesticide'.
Meanwhile, UTP Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Dr Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani said the project won second place in the Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge held in Germany last year.
"Among the five hundred proposals submitted to the challenge, Suzana's project was chosen among the top five finalists. This success has gained recognition for UTP at the international level," he said.
Ahmad Fadzil added, UTP, as a higher learning institution that is greatly concerned about the sustainability of nature, conducted the research as part of the university's social responsibility in research related to engineering, technology and the society.