MPOB Palmnews
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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 The Star
 USM, Bayer working to improve pesticides for oil p

Saturday April 16, 2005 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is collaboratingwith Bayer CropScience Sdn Bhd to develop safer and productivity-enhancingalternatives to control pests found in the country's oil palm plantations.

Speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between USMand Bayer on Monday, USM deputy vice-chancellor (research and development)Datuk Prof Muhammad Idris Saleh said rhinocerous beetles, which breed onthe decomposing felled trunks in oil palm estates, had led to highincidence of pest damage to sensitive oil palm.

He said adult beetles attacked sensitive oil palm, which led to a setbackin vegetative growth, and eventually delay in maturity. This, he said,also resulted in a 2%-50% yield loss in the first two years of harvesting.

The present practice of applying insecticide to fight the problem iscostly and leads to low productivity. "

"We will work with Bayer to evaluate safer alternatives to findsustainable resistance management solutions to control the rhinocerousbeetles in sensitive oil palm in Malaysia," he said.

Left to right: Agbio Sdn Bhd managing director & general manager Ng ChooKeat and Bayer Cropscience (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Christoph Bremenexchanging MoU documents with USM deputy vice chancellor (research anddevelopment) Datuk Prof Muhammad Idris Saleh.

Idris said USM also signed a MoU with Agbio Tech Sdn Bhd yesterday toshare knowledge and collaborate in scientific investigation on vitropropagation of ornamental plants and research activities with prospectsfor commercial development.

"Our students from the school of biological sciences will be sent to AgbioTech's tissue culture laboratory yearly to undergo industrial training andacquire experience on commercial production of in-vitro culture plantproducts," he said.

Agbio Tech is a private plant biotechnology and molecular farming companybased in Kulim, Kedah