A bioscience undergraduate, Kuek Jin, studying Science Biology at the Faculty of Science, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), received recognition as the consolation winner in the Bachelor Degree category at the Pertandingan Projek Penyelidikan Inovasi Nanoteknologi Peringkat Kebangsaan 2023 (PIN 2023). The competition was held from October 9 to 10, 2023, at Bangi Resort Hotel, Selangor.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) and the National Nanotechnology Centre (NNC) organized a competition named PIN 2023. The competition was focused on nanotechnology research projects at Technology Readiness Level 1 (TRL1) that have potential commercial value. The main objective of the competition was to provide researchers with a platform to showcase their innovative and creative ideas in technology research and development, including the production of materials, technology, and nanotechnology applications in various sectors.
Kuek’s project, titled “Fabrication and Antibacterial Properties of Electrospun Polyvinyl Alcohol Membrane Incorporated with Biosynthesized Silver Nanoparticles (AgNPs)”, won him a cash prize, a trophy, and a certificate of achievement. The project was carried out under the guidance of Dr. Nurliyana Ahmad Zawawi from the Bioscience Department within the Faculty of Science and Dr. Muhammad Ikhwan Jamaluddin from the School of Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering.
Kuek’s project involved using discarded fruit peel waste from bananas to generate AgNPs, which served as an antimicrobial agent. These nanoparticles were then integrated into a polymer polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) matrix and transformed into nanofibers using electrospinning. The nanofibers enhanced their antibacterial capabilities by effectively combating harmful bacteria commonly found in wounds.
Kuek expressed that he chose his project to learn about medicine delivery tools. He found it intriguing how leftover food could be converted into something that could fight germs. This approach not only addresses environmental concerns but also creates useful items. Kuek’s research aimed to use discarded banana fruit peels to create green AgNPs, aligning with Sustainable Development Goal-12 for a sustainable future. This antimicrobial agent exhibited potential in healing wounds and extending to various biomedical applications, such as dental implants, drug delivery formulations, and medical tool coatings. The special nanofibers made from green AgNPs and PVA could potentially overcome the limitations of standard wound dressings, such as cotton or gauze. Their structure, mimicking the natural extracellular matrix (ECM), might enhance cell movement, stimulate blood vessel growth, and promote tissue development, thus speeding up the wound healing process. Kuek shared his optimism, stating that despite receiving a consolation prize, he believes it will pave the way for numerous opportunities in his future. He highlighted how this recognition showcases UTM’s excellence in nanotechnology research and its dedication to nurturing students for impactful and sustainable research contributions.
Dr. Nurliyana Ahmad Zawawi