Farmers and breeders, whether for crops, livestock or aquaculture, always strive to maximise yield and productivity. In order to do so, breeders must be able to understand, choose and design breeding material/stock with desirable traits such as growth, yield, colour, drought resistance etc. Traditionally, breeders relied on physical selection of traits (phenotypic selection). This is time-consuming and costly as the desired traits can only be assessed at maturity, which may not garner the anticipated result.
Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) is an alternative biotechnological tool that provides substantial benefits in increasing the selection efficiency by enabling breeders to:
- Conduct early selection and eliminate the guesswork that goes into breeding as the data obtained from genotyping will identify plants/animals that have the desired trait (upon screening).
- Perform genotyping without destroying the plant or animal as minimal DNA is required.
- Save on resources such as manpower, land and developmental costs.
- High-throughput DNA extraction
- DNA fingerprinting (SSR/SNP)
- Genotyping (SSR/SNP)
- Discovery & validation of molecular markers (SSR/SNP)
- Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) & Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB)
- Consultations on marker usage in agricultural breeding & conservation
The emphasis is to undertake genotyping work in the following sectors:
- Crops (oil palm, coconut, paddy, timber & fruits)
- Aquaculture (shrimp & fish)
- Livestock (goat & cattle)
Commercial applications and formulations based on natural products (i.e. herbs, essential oils and seed oils) are becoming the cornerstone of global commerce especially for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industries. In order to harness high purity active components from natural products in the desired form, the use of targeted cutting-edge technologies are necessary.
Supercritical Fluid (SCF) technology is one such technology where carbon dioxide (CO2) is used as the extraction media to obtain high quality and standardised extracts. Among the advantages of using supercritical CO2 are high extraction yields, high product quality, as well as complete separation of solvent from extracts.
The Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) have established the Supercritical Fluid Centre (SFC) located at UPM as a one-stop service centre to undertake commercial extraction and developmental activities using supercritical technology.
- Pre-treatment of raw material
- Extraction of essential oil
- Separation of key active components
- Formation of micron sized particles
- Analysis and validation