By Dr. Aqilah Awg Abdul Rahman

The first-ever Transformative Research Challenge (TRC) was successfully completed by Malaysian researchers from TripleVs Venture Sdn. Bhd. and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM).

The team consists of Dr. Chian-Wen Chan, Dr. Danial Mahadzir, Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Mohd Fadzelly Abu Bakar, Dr. Nur Hafizah Malik and Dr. Aqilah Awg Abdul Rahman.

The collaborative team won third place in the challenge, with the first runner-up being Pacem Kotchofa from International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), East Africa and champion being Nafn Amdar and Arif Anwar from International Water Management Institute (IWMI), India.

In the TRC, the Malaysian team brings forward their research entitled ‘Prebio-Tech: Scaling Alternative Protein with Prebiotics’, emphasizing the use of palm-oil byproducts in black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) farming for animal feed.

Using a cocktail of prebiotics and S-curve algorithmic control to break down plant fibers, the research allows insects to easily consume agricultural substrates such as palm-oil byproducts, resulting in higher production of upcycled protein.

This transformative research will enable a new generation of insect farming technology in the Asia Pacific by converting a USD 2.5 billion / annum of palm oil byproducts to USD 5 billion / annum of insect protein. It will also benefit around 45,000 workers in both the palm oil and insect farming industry in terms of upskilling opportunities.

Streaming virtually from Rome, the World Food Forum is a five-day event that aims to transform food and agriculture in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 2 ‘No Hunger’.

The event is empowered by the Youth Committee of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation (UN), and supported by cooperation partners such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Thought for Food, and Future Food Institute.

This independent network of partners plans to forge a global movement in restoring the agri-food systems, especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The World Food Forum is the first major follow-up event to the United Nations Food Systems Summit which happened in New York earlier last week.