Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Research Success Translates Into Agricultural Profitability

Research success translates into agricultural profitability

Over ten years, researchers at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) have been relentlessly researching on and developing new products to improve the local agricultural industry.

With UPM’s collective academicians and researchers continuously undertaking new and novel research and development into their respective fields, UPM has been abundantly blessed with an ever-increasing influx of new agro centric creations, ranging from growth enhancers and vaccines to a virus detection kit.

A fine example of one such creation would be Vita-Grow. A plant growth enhancer, this impressive award winning creation was first introduced to the commercial market in 2000 and has been used by farmers across Asia to increase plant yield and promote growth.

Additionally, the use of Vita-Grow also helps farmers get quality produce by stimulating flowering and safeguarding against flower and bud shedding.

Similar to Vita-Grow, is another growth enhancer, TrichoGreen, which helps reduce palm tree infections. TrichoGreen was commercialised in 2006 and apart from enhancing the growth of palm seedlings, it is also recommended for vegetable, organic and herbal farming.

Disease prevention in livestock is another key research focus area of UPM. As poultry is Malaysia’s prime meat of choice, efforts were taken by UPM to eradicate the Newcastle disease, which is a highly contagious zoonotic bird disease that affects avian species and threatens commercial poultry breeding.

To eradicate this threat to poultry farmers, UPM developed a vaccine, called V4-UPM, to treat the problem. The creation, which was commercialized in 1995, is heat-resistant and suitable for use by breeders in tropical countries. It can also be used for mass vaccination and distributed in feed, thus making it easy to use in a big scale.

Due to V4-UPM’s huge success and its readily being embraced by local poultry farmers, the local pharmaceutical company which commercialised V4-UPM then did the same also for another UPM vaccine, which is used to vaccinate fowl pox. This tissue cultured vaccine is cheap and an effective method to control fowl pox disease. It has been found very effective in safeguarding poultry health.

For padi farmers, there is a rice seed germination enhancer called Zappa, which delays or suffocates untreated weedy rice seeds present in soil. This in turn reduces the problem of weeds in the long term.

Zappa, which was commercialised in 2002 and has won numerous local and international awards, also increases the growth of padi roots and shoots and can increase the padi harvest by up to 57%. It also helps reduce seed-borne diseases, increases seed purity, reduces rat attacks and conserves water usage.

As for sheep and goat breeders, UPM specifically developed an inter-nasal spray vaccine that aids in preventing their livestock from catching pneumonic mannhermiosis. The vaccine, which was introduced in 2006, has won awards in Geneva and Pittsburg.

Similarly, the anti-microbial compound, Bacteriocin UL4, is another worthy UPM creation that is suitable for vast application in the health, food and livestock industry. Its benefits even include its ability to act as a bio-preservative for the food and beverage industry, due to its ability to curb harmful bacterial growth that can cause digestive stress.

Bacteriocin UL4, which was commercialised in 2005, also helps promote the growth of beneficial bacteria by improving food digestion and adsorption, strengthening the body’s natural immunity system, lowering cholesterol and reducing the gastrointestinal tract’s pH levels.

For shrimp virus detection, UPM designed a kit for the detection of White Spot Syndrome virus. The product helps minimise cross-contamination, is economically priced and its simple DNA extraction protocol makes it fast and easy to use. Since its commercialisation in 2005, it has won numerous national and international awards.

Other noteworthy creations by UPM includes a product it commercialised in 2003. The many benefits of this product includes its ability to act as a natural substitute in chickens in order to promote their antibiotic growth.

As a probiotic for poultry this product can reduce fat and cholesterol in broilers and egg yolks. Its benefits include the ability to improve feed efficiency, egg production, weight and size, as well as a reduced mortality rate.

Furthermore, this noteworthy creation also helps reduce noxious bacterial enzymes and pathogenic bacteria in the intestinal tract.

If UPM’s current astounding and impressive creations are a precursor to what is to come, the future indeed heralds much greatness and accolades for this most illustrious of universities!

Souce: New Sunday Time, July 5, 2009
Related Link: Malaysian Education Blog

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