Environmental Microbiology Laboratory
The laboratory routinely isolates a range of microbes (bacteria, actinobacteria, yeasts and fungi) from soil samples collected from tropical peatland. The microbial culture collection represents a resource of immense value to those interested in identifying microbes with novel properties which could be exploited for their potential beneficial biotechnological and/or greenhouse gas mitigation effects.
Plant Pathology Laboratory
The laboratoryâ€™s main activities are the isolation and identification of pathogens involved in crop diseases such as basal stem rot of oil palm cultivated on tropical peatland in Sarawak. An important research goal is to gain further insight into the occurrence of disease caused by Ganoderma boninense. Strategies and techniques to manage disease caused by this pathogen are being developed which can potentially be applied to other pathogens showing similar characteristics.
Molecular Biology Laboratory
Less than 1% of microbes from samples from the environment can be cultured. However, there is a way to study the diversity and functions of microbes collected directly from tropical peat samples, using metagenomics – the study of genetic material from the environment.
Metagenomics is one of Molecular Biology Laboratoryâ€™s main research areas. It is explored
via meta 16S amplicon sequencing and whole shotgun metagenomic sequencing. The Dayhoff Resource Room is a bioinformatics facility equipped with high performance computer workstations and a server to accommodate the massive datasets generated by the metagenomics study. Protein extraction and separation works are ongoing and an RNA Laboratory is currently being established to facilitate gene expression and transcriptomic analysis in order to describe gene functions and interactions.