Engineering HDR Seminar Series 39, 2013: Sustainable Transformation from Palm Oil Mill Wastes into Organic Fertilizer through Vermicomposting

Ms Lim Su Lin, Chem Eng postgraduate student

Date: 2013-08-16
Time: 14:00 to 15:00
Venue: Engineering Meeting Room 1, 5-4-22


Oil palm plantations generate a large quantity of by-product, such as palm oil mill effluent and decanter cake. These by-products are relatively hard to be decomposed in nature local condition. Hence, managing of palm oil solid wastes in a sustainable way is one of the challenges faced in Malaysia. One of the sustainable methods that could be used to transform palm oil solid wastes into value added product is vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is a stabilization process of organic materials (usually wastes) through the joint action of earthworms and microorganisms. The on-going research shows that vermicomposting of these by- product would be able to provide some useful nutrients for crop growth. In the preliminary study, the growth of earthworm, electrical conductivity, pH, moisture content and available nutrients (TKN, TC, Ca, K, Mg, P) and enzymatic assay (dehydrogenase, β- glucosidase, phosphatase, protease, cellulase and amylase). The proposed research will determine the microbial populations, ammonium and nitrate content, humic and fulvic acids in the vermicomposts as well as plant growth study on corn (Zea Mays L.) and marigold (Tagetes erecta).

About the Speaker

Lim Su Lin graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering with Honours) from Monash University Sunway Campus in 2011. She joined Monash University in 2011 for postgraduate studies under the supervision of Dr Wu Ta Yeong and Dr Charles Clarke. Her research focus is on biotransformation of palm oil solid wastes (palm oil mill effluent and decanter cake) into valuable product, namely vermicompost. The present study provides a sound basis to demonstrate that vermicomposting can be regarded as a green technology to convert palm oil mill effluent and decanter cake into organic fertilizer.