Performance Study of Dragon Fruit Foliage as a Plant-based Coagulant for Treatment of Palm Oil Mill Effluent from Three-phase Decanters

  • Ayub Md Som, Abdull Fattah Abd Wahab
  • BioResources, April 2018, BioResources
  • DOI: 10.15376/biores.13.2.4290-4300

The use of dragon fruit foliage as natural coagulant for treatment of palm oil mill effluent (POME)

What is it about?

In coagulation-flocculation process, inorganics and chemical coagulants have been prolonged used which cause detrimental effects not only to the environment, but also human health and well-being. This study has proposed natural coagulant from plant-based origin, ie dragon fruit or hylocereus undatus foliage to replace those hazardous chemical coagulants to treat POME. The performance of this coagulant is investigated in terms of its optimum operating conditions (ie pH and dosage) so as to achieve the optimum percentage removals for COD, SS and Turbidity. The results show that the performance of this coagulant is comparable to other types of natural coagulants and it is potential to be used at preliminary treatment stage prior to the secondary treatment.

Why is it important?

This type of natural coagulant is originated from dragon fruit plant which is proven to be biodegradable. As such, chemical sludge usually generated by chemical coagulants would be reduced, if not avoided. On top of that, the dragon fruit foliages are considered as agricultural wastes and are abundantly available as well as very cheap compared to the commercial chemical coagulants.


Professor Dr Ayub Md Som
Universiti Teknologi MARA

As the solely owner of patent for this plant-based coagulant, it is my hope that it can be used and commercialised at industrial scale, not only in Malaysia but also globally. We have tried this coagulant to wide ranges of wastewater;, from latex/rubber, POME, Textile, Electroplating and power cable manufacturing plants, all of which show very promising results in COD, SS and Turbidity removals. Further research needs to be carried out to isolate the bio-active compounds present in the hylocereus undatus foliages using Column or Thin layer Chromatography as well as characterising these compunds via FTIR and HNMR so as to unlock its coagulation/flocculation mechanisms theory.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Dr Ayub Md Som