Palm Oil is has been unduly over criticized over the years due to lack of understanding.
To set the record straight, Tan Sri Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr. Augustine Ong Soon, fondly referred to as the Father of Malaysian Palm Oil, clears some myths surrounding the benefits of Palm Oil.
Augustine received the Merdeka Award in 2012 for his significant role in advocating and promoting the Malaysian Palm Oil Industry to world.
He began his career as a lecturer with University of Malaya in 1959. He was a Fulbright-Hays Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA from 1966 to 1967 and prior to this he read for a PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of London King’s College, 1961-1963.
He obtained his first patent from Britain in 1974 on lipids research of olein-stearin separation method. He later added 15 more patents to his name in palm oil research. These patents are from the US, the UK, Japan, Australia and Malaysia.
His research on palm oil covered several aspects of palm oil; from its chemical composition, nutritional value, technical training and to its waste treatment.
Augustine was also a co-researcher in the isolation of tocotrienols from palm fatty acid distillate. Tocotrienols, an anti-oxidant, has beneficial effects on brain neurons, is loaded with anti-cancer properties, and lowers the levels of bad cholesterol.
Augustine's research inspired other scientists in other parts of the world to conduct similar research on palm oil.
The conversion of palm oil to biodiesel was conceptualised by him in 1981. The project began with a pilot plant study, went on to field trials and subsequently proceeded to mass production for commercialisation in Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea.
Today, Malaysia is one of the world’s leading biofuel producers, with 58 plants approved for production.
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