SOIL SCIENCE

 

Research carried out mainly on the soil quality and pollution aspects, beneficial soil organisms as an environmental friendly biofertilizer and composting agent. On the agronomical application, the research conducted is mainly on the production of local fruits such as jackfruits (Artocarpus heterophillus), banana (Musa sapientum), papaya (Carica papaya), star fruit (Averrhoe carambola), guava (Psidium guajava), rose apple and others. Research on soil quality and pollution mainly focuses on the characterisation of heavy metals in different environments such as water, sediments, soil and sledges. In quantification of metals, a number of analytical tools such as conventional atomic absorption spectroscopy, ion-selective electrodes, Volta metric methods, and plants as bioindicators of metal availability are used. Another aspect that is important and has its own commercial value is the development of biofertilizer and bioenhancer by beneficial rhizobacteria (e.g. Azospirillum spp., Bacillus spp. And mycorrhiza) in association with any non-leguminous crops. Besides the use of beneficial rhizobacteria, the latest achievement is the discovery of a type of earthworms that have voracious appetite and can eat anything that are given to them including garden waste and kitchen garbage. The achievement is important in generating efficient composting processes and reduces environmental pollution. The agronomical research is focusing mainly on the production of new jackfruit cultivars (Artocarpus heterophillus) known as MASTURA (CJ-USM 2000), which is capable of producing its first fruit 18 months after being transplanted in the field. The average weight of the fruits is around 15-25kg, however it is not uncommon to register fruits with fresh weight of more than 40kg per fruit.