Three projects from BIOTEC were awarded “Excellence in Science” by the Committee on Science, Technology, Communications and Telecommunications of the Senate. The certificate presentation ceremony, presided over by Mr. Nikom Wairatpanij, President of the Senate, was organized on 2 September 2013 at the Parliament Building.

Prof. Yongyuth Yuthavong, BIOTEC Senior Researcher, was awarded in the “Individual Category” for his accomplishment in the development of anti-malarial drug. Prof. Yongyuth, in collaboration with researchers from both local and international universities, has successfully developed new antimalarial drug candidate ‘P218’ that targets malarial enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and effectively kills both sensitive and resistant parasites. P218 is currently undergoing a pre-clinical study, with the support from the Medicines for Malaria Venture.

“Enzyme Technology for Pulp and Paper Industry” was awarded in the “Public Organization Category”. This technology was developed by scientists from Enzyme Technology Laboratory. This alkaline-tolerant xylanase enzyme, named ENZbleach, was produced from a metagenomic library of microbial consortium in termite guts, and is suitable for the bleaching process in the paper industry. The use of ENZbleach can lead to a significant reduction of chlorine and chlorine-based compounds, normally used in a conventional bleaching process. ENZbleach has been developed and optimized for pulp biobleaching without the need of pH adjustment of the pulp, which will make the large-scale operations more simple and cost effective. Moreover, ENZbleach is cellulase-free, thus does not destroy the structure of cellulose and diminish pulp quality.

“Transfer of Wastewater Treatment and Biogas Production Technology to Agro-Industry” was awarded in the “Public Organization Category”. The project was implemented by the Excellent Center of Waste Utilization and Management (ECoWaste), a collaborative unit between BIOTEC and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. The unique feature of this technology is the microbes immobilized on the medium surface so that they can be retained at length. As a result, the system can operate at a high rate and under a large volume of wastewater. It is particularly suitable for agro-industrial wastewater with high level of suspended solids such as those from starch, fruit, and food factories. More importantly, it produces biogas which can be used to produce energy for the plant. This technology has been transferred to several agro-industrial factories, resulting in significant saving of energy.

In addition, two of BIOTEC partner companies were recognized by this award. Asia Star Animal Health Co., Ltd. was awarded for the achievement in Animal Feed Enzyme Production and KEEEN Co., Ltd. for bioremediation agent, both of which were the result of collaboration between BIOTEC and respective company.

“Excellence in Science” awards were presented to individuals, public and private organizations for their scientific and innovative projects that create substantial social and economic impacts. This year, a total of 393 projects were selected for the awards.