“Dunia tidak seluas daun kelor – The world is not as small as a kelor leaf”
The above saying is no stranger to the average Indonesian ears. Kelor, or also known as moringa (Moringa oleifera), bears a lot of potential applications. Ivan de la Grange discovered that moringa seeds can be used to remove pesticide residues from food products.
Moringa seeds. Source: vemale.com
Ivan is a visiting scholar from New Jersey City University (NJCU) who had the opportunity to work on a research project at the Faculty of Biotechnology under funding from Fulbright US Student Research Award. Throughout his research, Ivan was supervised by Dr. Vivitri D. Prasasty in analyzing the pesticide residues in potatoes.
Ivan discovered that washing potatoes using water mixed with moringa seeds extract would reduce pesticide residues by 50%. Meanwhile, conventional washing with clean water only reduced 10% pesticide. Therefore, washing with clean water would be insufficient to remove pesticide residues from our food products.
Moreover, moringa seeds can remove pesticide from potatoes better compared to commercial method using vinegar, lemon water and baking soda. Money-wise, washing with moringa seeds extract only costs Rp 2000/L, which is much more affordable compared to the Rp 10.000/L spent on commercial washing.
Ivan shared his work with the members of the Faculty of Biotechnology
Interestingly, Ivan tells a story on how the locals in Yogyakarta have been using moringa plants as medicines and stain remover from fabrics. He adds that these kinds of local wisdom need to be preserved and investigated further by researchers, so that they may benefit the public at large. His research at the Faculty of Biotechnology also emphasizes the importance of cooperation with international institutions such as Fulbright, as no innovation will arise without collaborations.
This article is written by Theodorus Eko Pramudito. Theo is an alumni of the Biology Program, Faculty of Biotechnology, who is currently returning home to teach full-time at our faculty.
Editor: Watumesa Tan