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1.1 Introduction

Waste generation is an unavoidable component of our daily life. Almost all human activities generate waste. Wastes can be grouped based on the source into domestic, municipal, agricultural and industrial. Agriculture and municipal sectors are the main contributors to the wastes produced (Ganiyu and Oloke, 2012). Recent trends in food production have led to an increase in the rate of production of food processing by-products and wastes. Generation of waste and by-products during processing of food is unavoidable and the amount and kind of waste produced, which consists primarily of the organic residue of processed raw materials, can scarcely be altered if the quality of the finished product is to remain consistent. The changing of economic, social, political and cultural values of the world has challenged many countries to effectively utilize industrial biotechnology for a friendly way of disposing wastes (Zvidzai et al., 2007). Instead of treating these by-products as waste and land filling them, many food firms are turning them into useful products.  LIST OF PROJECT TOPICS UNDER BIOLOGY

One of the most important environmental problems of the agro-food sector is the high organic content of its effluents and residues, which implies a high treatment cost. However, these effluents and residues have a great number of organic compounds with a high nutritional value (proteins, oils, sugars, vitamins, colourants and antioxidants) (Tramantzas et al., 2002).

The main by-product in palm oil production is a liquid sludge waste known as palm oil mill effluent (POME) (Vairappan and Yen, 2008). Due to the organic composition of POME, it is identified as one of the world’s most polluting wastewater with very high average values of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD) of about 50000mg/l and 25000mg/l respectively(Ahmed, 2009).

The cheapest way of discharging of POME is to release it into the river, since POME is a non toxic oily waste. But discharging of the effluent into water bodies causes depletion of oxygen in water and results in aquatic pollution (Hwang et al., 1978). POME is a complex substrate comprising of unhydrolysed materials with high concentration of compounds such as proteins, fats, starch, cellulose, hemicelluloses and organic acids (Ahmed, 2009). According to Wu et al. (2009a), POME may be reused as fermentation medium for the production of value added products such as microbial biomass, which could be used as single cell protein because of its high concentration of carbohydrate, protein, lipid, nitrogenous compounds and minerals. LIST OF PROJECT TOPICS UNDER BIOLOGY

Valorization, which is a relatively new concept in the field of industrial residues management and promoting the principle of sustainable development, holds immense potential in deriving fine chemicals, micronutrients, enzymes and precious metabolites via chemical and biotechnological processes that have industrial value (Federici et al., 2009).


Single Cell Protein (SCP) is a term coined in the 1960´s to embrace microbial biomass products which were produced by fermentation. SCP production technologies arose as a promising way to solve the problem of worldwide protein shortage. They evolved as bioconversion processes which turned low value by-products, often wastes, into products with added nutritional and market value (Ugalde and Castrillo, 2002).    In spite of the large volumes of POME produced in oil palm producing countries and the challenge of managing this waste, most works related to management of this waste remain concerned with disposal of the waste with very little attention paid to processes for converting it to value added products. Some advantageous methods of utilizing the effluent have been tried by many researchers. Some of them include citric acid production (Jamal et al., 2005) biohydrogen production (Rasdi et al., 2009), enzyme production (Salihu et al., 2011 and Rashid et al., 2009), cultivation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida utilis (Mohd Azemi et al., 2001). Barker and Worgan (1981) noted that unhydrolyzed POME could support good growth of Aspergillus oryzae in the presence of an added inorganic nitrogen source. However, optimum conditions for the production of single cell proteins from yeasts using POME as substrate have been scarcely reported. This lacuna in data therefore, forms the basis of this research. LIST OF PROJECT TOPICS UNDER BIOLOGY


  • Palm oil mills are large generators of organic wastes and the disposal of the wastes has posed a major environmental problem. For example, the discharge of untreated POME into local waterways creates a serious problem of inland water pollution (due to its high pollution potential).
  • POME is not properly managed in Nigeria as many oil mills dispose their POME in its raw form within their vicinity or dump them in special pits that could later drain to surface and ground waters. Discharging of untreated POME on land results in clogging and water logging of the soil and kills the vegetation on contact.
  • The treatment technology applied in treatment of POME typically consists of biological aerobic and anaerobic digestion. Biologically treated effluent is disposed of via land application, thus providing essential nutrients for growing plants. This method may be a good choice for disposal of treated effluent. However, considering the rate of daily wastewater production, it is doubtful that the surrounding plantations receiving it could efficiently absorb all the treated effluent. Thus, it is necessary to look into alternative and perhaps more gainful means of utilizing POME. LIST OF PROJECT TOPICS UNDER BIOLOGY
    • Aim of Research

To develop microbiological process for the treatment and valorization of palm oil mill effluent


  • To isolate yeasts that can grow effectively on palm oil mill effluent (POME).
  • To evaluate the optimum conditions for single cell protein production by yeasts using POME as substrate.
  • To evaluate the nutritive value of SCP produced from POME. LIST OF PROJECT TOPICS UNDER BIOLOGY
  • To evaluate the possible treatment and reduction of the chemical oxygen demand (COD) in POME used as fermentation medium.


1.5                                            Literature Review                         

1.5.1. A brief history of oil palm

The oil palm is a perennial crop that originated in the tropical rain forest of West Africa (Wakil et al., 2013) precisely in Guinea, and was first illustrated by Nicholas Jacquin in 1763, hence its name, Elaeis guineensis Jacq (Akinyeye et al., 2011).

It spread to South America in the 16th century and to Asia in the 19th century (Wakil, et al., 2013). Oil palm was introduced to Malaysia from Nigeria by the British colonialists in 1917 and has fast become a major contributor to the nations GDP with around $7million per annum (Embrandiri et al., 2013). It flourishes in the humid tropics in groves of varying density, mainly in the coastal belt between 10 degrees north latitude and 10 degrees south latitude. It is also found up to 20 degrees south latitude in Central and East Africa and Madagascar in isolated localities with a suitable rainfall. It grows on relatively open ground and, therefore, originally spread along the banks of rivers and later on land cleared by humans for long-fallow cultivation (Kiple and Ornelas, 2000). In Nigeria, it is cultivated in the South East Zone and in Niger Delta areas (Obahiagbon, 2012).

There are two distinct oil types extracted from the fruit of the oil palm which are chemically different; these are; the red palm oil which comes from the mesocarp (flesh of the fruit) and the lauric palm kernel oil from the kernel at the fruit’s core (Akinyeye et al., 2011).

Palm oil is the edible plant oil, derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palm, primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis (Singh et al., 2010). It is naturally orange-red in colour because of its high beta-carotene content (Obahiagbon, 2012).

Until 1966, Nigeria had been the world’s largest producer. Both small- and large-scale producers participated in the industry (Nwajiuba and Akinsanmi, 2003). Between 1962 and 1982, world exports of palm oil rose from about 500,000 to 2,400,000 million tonnes per annum. Nigeria was overtaken by Malaysia as world’s leading producer and exporter of palm oil in 1966 and 1971 respectively (Rupani et al., 2010).

In 2008, Indonesia emerged as the largest producer of crude palm oil (CPO) in the world producing 44% of global demand of CPO from around the world (Hadiyanto et al., 2012) while Malaysia was the second largest producer of palm oil



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