Thursday, April 29, 2010


What I gather from the newspapers it is going to be a major project that will swallow billions of RM and carried out over 15 years!! Is it going to be more a pipe dream or a reality? Can the project be guaranteed to be successful or is it going to be more money thrown into the polluted river? 15 years is a very long time…. Wonder if the guarantee if any will hold.
One of the most common erroneous assumption is that if the technology was successful for Thames or for the matter the mighty river Han, it does not mean it will be successfully applied for Sg Klang. (Maybe all the parties concerned have their own expert consultants to vouch that every thing will be ok! As for me it is far better to be realistic and prudent. The River Klang is very complex and have many problems. I for one would like to be proven that the project will work…
Would it not be better if the companies concerned are tested first for their ability by giving certain stretches of the rivers to be handled and their performance monitored? To me it is very logical that if the company cannot manage a small portion of the river, it will be questionable if they can rehabilitate the whole stretch of the rivers.
I would love to see the spirit of competition vying with one another in the race to rehabilitate the stretch of rivers given to them. Nothing could be more wrong if all the companies awarded are working in the same group. That is the reason why I like how the Petronas tenders are being awarded, with the Japanese and Koreans competing with each other to complete their own respective towers!
Rehabilitating the Klang river requires more than just mechanical equipment to remove trash or solid wastes. It is more than just building treatment plants along the river. The solution is complex and requires social engineering too. If not we will be back to square one after billions of RM has been pumped into the project.
I for one would not like to see the rehabilitation of Klang river as a very costly exercise in futility!

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Monday, April 26, 2010


Fermentation technology has been used extensively in the production of microbial enzymes. There are three main objectives in the production of enzymes using microbes:
1 The enzymes must be produced in high volume
2 The enzymes must be pure
3 The enzymes must be stable especially with respect to its structure and functions

The key element in the production of enzymes using fermentation technology is:
1 The presence of microorganisms which have the capability of producing the desired enzymes
2 The choice of suitable bioreactors or fermentors that can be used to support the cultivation of the microorganisms that produce the enzymes
3 The optimum conditions, control and monitoring of the fermentation conditions for maximum enzyme production
In all the above the nature of the enzymes being produced are often the restricting factors in the production of the enzymes. The main problems are enzymes are basically large complex protein molecules which are not stable and easily denatured by certain extreme conditions such as temperature, salt, ph and other factors.
The production of the enzymes by the microbes are basically a physiological or metabolic function of the microbial cells and factors such as feedbacks and catabolite repression or metabolic inhibition will affect the process
The production method of these enzymes is governed primarily by location of the enzymes in the cell and whether the enzymes are inductive or constitutive by nature. Most industries that produce large volumes of enzymes are often involved in inductive enzymes. In such situations there is no need to break the cells or organelles to release the enzymes. As constitutive enzymes are sort of “part of the cell” the amount of enzymes are directly related to the amount of cells produced. In such situations it shows primary metabolites behavior and the growth curve is used to determine the right time to harvest the cells and the constitutive enzymes
In the case of inductive enzymes the process of producing enzymes is simpler. Enzymes that are produced are easily released off the cell into the fermentation media. However, in this method the presents of the substrate or inducer in the media in important to trigger the enzymes production.

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Monday, April 5, 2010


I happened to chance upon the studies on the rehabilitation of Sg Way River project. While the intention to take care of the river is noble, it is of utmost importance that such studies be carried out properly in proper scientific manner. Proper samplings, analyses and interpretation of the results must be carried out for the study to be meaningful.
In order for the study to be meaningful goes far beyond than just taking a few random samples from a few sampling stations along the river. Remember, the results obtained from the few samplings might be valid only for the samples taken but they could not be used to extrapolate to the water quality of the river itself (unless one can guarantee that the composition of the river is homogenous and does not change spatially or temporally)
I am a bit disturbed by the way the sampling plan were carried out ( if there were any?) In my opinion the number of sampling stations is too few in number and too far apart. Determining the number and location of the sampling stations are critical to the success of the study. Prior studies must be carried out on the flow and hydrodynamics of the river in order to come up with the most suitable locations that can yield representative samples of the river water.
Sampling is a science and not determined by the convenience of the samplers such as taking samples from the sides of the embankments! Proper sampling utensils or apparatus must be provided to obtain the proper samples. There are many more other considerations which must be considered….

For the complete data please refer to:

With such few sampling stations, samples, the whole exercise would just remain as a feeble attempt in efforts trying to rehabilitate the river. In my opinion it would have been more proper if the study carried out over the stretch of the driver:
1 Identify the various point source or diffuse source of pollution into the river
2 measure the total maximum daily load from each source
Auditings like this will not only identify the stake holders but also the responsible polluters. It is sad that sometimes the innocent stake holders will have to do the cleaning up of the river while the polluters go away scot free!
I am very disturbed too by the interpretation of the water analyses as provided by the report especially with reference to the Dissolved oxygen, BOD and COD readings. The BOD readings for the three stations W1, W2 and W3 are 5, 4 and 10 mg’litre. Wow! Something is not right here. At such low BOD values the water of Sg Way river is clean and not polluted at all. ( But my eyes see the river as very polluted!) Unless something is wrong or inaccurate in the samples or analyses

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