My research focuses on lignocelluloses and the intracellular enzymes system from saprophytic micro and macro-fungi. This includes working with a variety of microbiology techniques, bioinformatics, molecular biology and biochemistry assays.
1) Potential Micro-fungi from Aquatic
Most aquatic pollution is caused by human activities such as aquaculture industries that produced large amount of wastewater and toxic chemicals. The pollution of water has a serious impact on all living creatures, and can negatively affect the use of water for drinking, recreation, fishing, transportation, and commerce. Industrial wastewater treatment normally use chemical compounds to treat the contaminants and discharge of polluted water. However, biological treatment of wastewater provides a more useful alternative when compared to the chemical treatment. This evidence is highlighted by many studies involving the interaction between saprotrophic micro-fungi species and toxicants in aquatic ecosystem. One of the biochemically important compounds involving in detoxification of pollutants in saprotrophic micro-fungi is gluthatione s- transferase (GST). Moreover, GST has also been documented to degrade xenobiotic compound and toxicants. This study aims to achieve the following objectives:  to identify potential aquatic micro-fungi in Bidong Island with biochemical functions which are resistant to xenobiotic compounds or toxics. This objective could be achieved through microscopic observation of the growth of in-situ treated micro-fungal. The second objective is to  determine the expression level of GST genes in each micro-fungi that resistance to xenobiotic compounds or toxics through Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction. Finally, the third  objective is to construct the GST fungal proteins and determine the specific biochemical mechanisms which are involved. From this research, we will be able to identify potential and unexplored aquatic micro-fungi with detoxification functions which could be applied in bioremediation of wastewater from marine environment particularly from aquaculture industry. In addition, the identified micro-fungi species could also be used as bioindicator of pollution level in the marine environment, thereby will be useful for future marine pollution monitoring program.
Different Mechanisms may be involved in detoxification processes
2) Fungal Red-list from Terrestrial and Islands
Conservation of fungi is a rare public discussion although there are scientists who know that the presence of fungi in the ecosystem is very important. Many people do not even understand the ecological function and biological information related to fungi and their benefits to the natural environment and human population. For this reason, the fungi are rarely included in broader conservation discussions, policy decisions or land management plans. Nevertheless, fungal species are not immune to the threats, both natural and anthropogenic, that put animals and plants species at risk. Fungal species are threatened by loss of habitat, loss of symbiotic hosts, pollution, over exploitation and climate change, but most of the conservation status of the fungi species has not been evaluated. In Malaysia, although more than 3000 fungi species have recorded and reported but to date, there has been no assessment of Fungal Red List. This may be taken as a clear indication that no fungal conservation efforts are being implemented in Malaysia. Hence, to evaluate and acquire red data list, the allocation of funds to carry out the study is very important. Objectives of this study are  to register in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list. This information will be used as evidence that the fungal in Malaysia also needs to be protected from threats like animals and plants for biodiversity conservation. The finding of this project also will be used  to develop policy on the impact or the threat of economic development on the biodiversity of fungi. In realizing this goal, mycologists, economist and the most important is the source of funding are needed to explore and develop appropriate conservation strategies including promoting awareness about conservation programmes in Malaysia as decision makers need comprehensive information on the conservation status and trends of fungi.
On-Going and completed Projects
- Fungal Red-List Assessment [2018-2020]
- Characterization of potential azo dye degrading Schizophyllum species for mycoremediation [2016-2018] – FRGS
Characterization of biochemical and cytosolic function of glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) of saprotrophic microfungi collected from aquaculture ecosystem for wastewater treatment [2013-2016] – FRGS
- Intracellular study of white rot-fungi in response to pollutant compounds [2011-2013] – TPM
- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak – Dr. Isabel Fong Lim
- University of Lorraine, France – Prof. Eric Gelhaye
- University Putra Malaysia – Dr. Rozi Mohamed
1) LAPDiM, School of Food Science and Technology
Stephanie is a visiting scientist from the University of Hawaii is working at the laboratory
Gas Chomatography (GC) equipment in the laboratory
Isolated micro-fungi were collected from seawater and sediment samples
Bachelor students are conducting experiments
2) Institute of Tropical Aquaculture (Aquatrop)