Currently, the central questions in the research division are:
Media Preparation and Environmental Microbiology Laboratory
We routinely perform microbial isolation (Bacteria, Actinobacteria, Yeasts and Fungi) from environmental samples of tropical peatland, which is the most biodiverse of peatlands. The microbial culture collection represents a highly valuable resource for novel beneficial microbes which may be exploited for their biotechnological as well as GHG mitigation potentials.
Plant Pathology Laboratory
The main activities carried out in the plant pathology laboratory are the isolation and identification of pathogens involved in crop disease such as basal stem rot of oil palm cultivated on tropical peatland in Sarawak. One of our research goals is to gain further insight into the underlying reason for oil palm disease occurrence caused by Ganoderma boninense in order to develop disease management strategies. As a model pathogen, any techniques developed can be applied to other pathogens showing similar characteristics.
Molecular Biology Laboratory
One of the main areas of research for the molecular biology laboratory is in metagenomics, which is the study of genetic material from environmental samples. Given that less than 1% of microbes from the environment is culturable, metagenomics enables us to study the diversity and functions of these unculturable microbes directly from tropical peat samples via methods such as DGGE and Next-Generation Sequencing. We are currently establishing the RNA Laboratory to facilitate gene expression and transcriptomic analysis in order to describe gene functions and interactions. Besides that, we are also able to perform protein extraction and separation works.