July 14, 2024

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Innovative Training Course Equip Experts to Harness Molecular Microbiology for Sustainable Agricultural and Industrial Waste Utilizations

Johor Bahru, 18 August 2023 — A groundbreaking training course focusing on the molecular microbiology and microbiomes of agricultural and industrial waste utilization has just concluded, leaving participants equipped with the skills and knowledge to spearhead research in advanced waste utilizations. The training course, which ran from 14-17 August 2023, brought together experts, researchers, postgraduate students, and enthusiasts from diverse fields to explore the powerful role of microbiology in transforming agricultural and industrial wastes into valuable resources. The Training Course on the Molecular Microbiology and Microbiomes of Agricultural and Industrial Waste Utilizations was generously funded by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and organized by the Faculty of Science UTM, headed by ChM. Dr. Mohd Firdaus Abdul Wahab.

With the global drive towards sustainability, agriculture and other industries face increasing pressure to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency. The Training Course was aimed to address this challenge by harnessing the immense potential of microbial communities to break down and transform agricultural and industrial waste into usable products. The fundamental understanding of microbial potential is advancing rapidly in developed countries. However, it is still lagging in many developing and least-developed countries due to the advanced tools and high costs needed. This Course is hoped to galvanize the efforts to harness the power of the microbes in the various applications towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Course content was thoughtfully designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of both theoretical and practical aspects of molecular microbiology and microbiomes in agricultural, industrial, and related contexts. The first two days were filled with engaging talks from renowned experts and leaders in their fields, sharing their insights and experiences. The topics covered include microbial ecology, cutting-edge metagenomic techniques and applications, enzyme discovery and engineering, bioremediation and biodegradation of pollutants, and sustainable palm oil production. This was followed by a practical on total DNA extraction from industrial samples and a demonstration of computational biology tools for DNA sequence data analysis and visualizations. A special roundtable discussion on science diplomacy was also included to introduce the participants to the concepts of science diplomacy and the case studies in their countries. Several facilitators from the Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia (YSN-ASM) were specially invited to moderate this session.

Participants specially selected and invited from the ICGEB member countries such as Bangladesh, Djibouti, Morocco, India, Nigeria, and Malaysia were allowed to interact with the guest speakers during the talks. Further informal discussions over coffee breaks were hoped to foster collaboration and inspire innovative thinking. The participants’ diversity from senior professors, mid-career, postdoctoral fellows, and postgraduate students facilitated interdisciplinary discussions and highlighted the interconnectedness of microbiology, agriculture, industrial processes, waste utilization, and sustainability.

As the training program concluded, the participants expressed enthusiasm about applying their newly acquired knowledge and skills to drive positive change in their countries. A new network for future collaborative endeavours was also created. By harnessing the potential of molecular microbiology and microbiomes, these experts are better equipped to develop innovative solutions for agricultural and industrial waste management, reducing environmental impacts and promoting sustainable practices. The success of the Training Course underscores the importance of continued investment in education and research at the intersection of microbiology, agriculture, and industrial processes. The support provided by the ICGEB, UTM and the Faculty of Science is gratefully acknowledged.

For more information on the Course and its impact, please contact ChM. Dr. Mohd Firdaus Abdul Wahab (firdausw@utm.my). More information about this Course can be obtained from https://science.utm.my/icgeb-training/

The Course speakers with the participants and public audience together with the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Prof. ChM. Dr. Zaiton Abdul Majid. The keynote speakers include Prof. Shams Yazdani (front row second from right) from ICGEB New Delhi, Assoc. Prof. Sanjay Swarup (National University of Singapore, front row second from left) and Prof. Ir. Dr. Denny Ng Kok Sum (Sunway University, front row right).


Roundtable discussion on science diplomacy in the ICGEB member countries

The participants with the YSN-ASM facilitators

The wet lab session on total DNA extraction from industrial waste

The wet lab session on total DNA extraction from industrial waste

Final certificate presentation ceremony

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