Associate Professor in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
BAppl.Sc (USM),MSc (Newcastle upon Tyne), PhD (East Anglia)
Dean, Faculty of Resource Science and Technology
.Starch debranching enzymes and their role in starch synthesis
.Elucidation of starch synthesis pathway in Metroxylon sagu
.Metabolomics and proteomics of sago palm
.Bacterial heterologous expression and antibacterial activities
Our group, led by Prof. Mohd Azib Salleh has successfully isolated and identified partial genes of four major enzymes involved in the starch biosynthesis namely ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, starch synthase, starch branching enzyme and starch debranching enzyme. The identification and isolation of these partial genes will lead to identification and full characterisation of the enzymes. Research in identifying and characterising the isoforms of these enzymes is also in progress. The complete elucidation and analysis of function and structure of these enzymes will provide comprehensive understanding of starch biosynthesis in sago. This would then be used to genetically engineer new varieties of sago plant with desired special characters to suit different applications of sago starch.
Beside the elucidation of starch biosynthesis pathway, we are also actively involved in identifying molecular factor(s) which may contribute towards the trunking process in sago plants. Observation of sago plants in plantations and those growing in the wild showed that there are instances where the trunking process occurs very late. This leads to the growth of mature sago plant that does not produce sago starch, which contribute to a loss or waste in resources. Research in other plants indicated that trunking process is affected by physiological and molecular factors that has not been fully characterised. Therefore, our objective for this project is to determine the molecular factor(s) contributing towards trunking process with the eventual aim of improving the latent period prior to trunking of sago plants. This project is conducted in collaboration with CRAUN Research Sdn. Bhd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lembaga Pembangunan dan Lindungan Tanah (PELITA).
Improvement of microbes and antibacterial activities are other research areas that are being looked into by our group in Unimas. Researchers here have isolated indigenous microbes that can be used to convert waste materials from sago industry into more profitable products. We are trying to improve these microbes for better yield by genetic engineering technology. Antibacterial study we are currently investigating is various newly synthesised chalcone-based compound as potential antibiotics.
Other researchers in Unimas involved in the research areas discussed above include Prof. Mohd Azib Salleh, Dr. Hairul Azman Roslan, Dr Awang Ahmad Sallehin A Husaini and Dr Zainab Ngaini.
Selected publications - Refereed Journals
Christoph Edner, Jing Li, Tanja Albrecht, Sebastian Mahlow, Mahdi Hejazi, Hasnain Hussain, Fatma Kaplan, Charles Guy, Steven M. Smith, Martin Steup, and Gerhard Ritte (2007). Glucan, Water Dikinase Activity Stimulates Breakdown of Starch Granules by Plastidial beta-amylases. Plant Physiol. 145: 17–28.
Hasnain Hussain, Alexandra Mant, Robert Seale, Sam Zeeman, Edward Hinchliffe, Anne Edwards, Christopher Hylton, Stephen Bornemann, Alison M. Smith, Cathie Martin, and Regla Bustos (2003). Three isoforms of isoamylase contribute different catalytic properties for the debranching of potato glucans. Plant Cell. 15: 133-149.
Z. Ngaini, M. H. Hussain, S. M. Haris Fadzillah, N. Sahari, N. I. Abd. Rahman, E. Angun (2007), Complementing Natural Resources: Bacteriostatic Activities Of Synthetic Chalcones Against E. Coli, International Conference on Natural Resources and Environmental Management and ESH, 27 – 29 November 2007, Crowne Plaza Riverside Hotel Kuching, Sarawak.
Research projects available in my lab:
.Determination of factors affecting trunking in sago plant (in collaboration with Dr Hairul Azman Roslan) – MSc candidature
.Genetic engineering of Enterococcus faecium (in collaboration with Prof. Dr Kopli Bujang and Dr A. Sallehin Hussaini) – MSc candidature
.Role of starch debranching enzyme isoforms is starch synthesis – PhD candidature