SETB1023: Introduction to Chem. & Bioprocess Engineering

Welcome to the course

Course Learning Outcomes:
CLO1: Define engineering, the roles and responsibilities of an engineer and perform basic calculations common in the chemical industry.
CLO2: Explain conservation and sustainability of resources, and recommend effective measures to overcome the problem.
CLO3: Effectively participate in cooperative learning activities, which includes team-working, managing time and interpersonal skills according to the standard rubrics for this course using systematic techniques of prioritization utilizing Covey’s 4 quadrants, time management, and managing meetings.
CLO4: Effectively communicate in oral and written modes to convey ideas to experts, peers and community.
CLO5: Effectively participate in cooperative project-based learning, which includes problem identification and solving, peer teaching, meta-cognition(thinking process in learning) and self-directed (life-long) learning skills using essential study skills such as technical reading and effective note making.

Let do it & enjoy the process of learning together ……………………………………………………………..

Project based Learning  

Title: Impact of chemical and biofertilizer on environmental & social sustainability

Read the short paragraph below and provide the relevant data/ information for the following questions. 

The import for fertilizer in Malaysia was about US$1.28 billion in 2021, according to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade. Fertilizer is very important for agricultural industries, especially for high productivity in crop plantation. The three most important elements in fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Some fertilizers also enrich with micronutrients such as zinc, magnesium, calcium and other metals that are specific for plant function. The cost of fertilizer is approximately 60% of the total cost in producing palm oil in palm tree plantation. Hence, it is important to apply fertilizer efficiently. Different types of fertilizers have different nutritional compositions, and therefore knowing the fertilizer and its required quantity which is also dependent up on soil quality and maturity stage of crops.

Prolong usage of chemical fertilizer may give negative impacts to the environmental system such as deterioration of soil fertility and acidification. Acidic soil could kill some beneficial microorganism like Azotobacter which plays an important role as a nitrogen fixing agent in soil. Excessive usage of chemical fertilizer may pollute the ground and underground water resources. High rainfall in Malaysia always causes fertilizer being washed away into water stream and ultimately entering lakes or rivers. High concentration of nitrogen in the lakes or rivers would promote the growth of aquatic plants, and thus reducing dissolved oxygen level in water for aquatic animals like fishes.

Biofertilizer is introduced as an alternative for agronomic crop plantation. Biofertilizer is rich in beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and cyanobacteria. The microbes are crucial in promoting soil quality and stimulating plant growth by fixing atmospheric nitrogen and solubilizing soil phosphorus. They help to improve the soil texture, structure and water holding capacity of soil. Biofertilizer is produced from bioresources and their content in N-P-K is usually very low. The application of bio-fertilizer alone as a nutrient source might not be sufficient for high productivity of crops. Even though biofertilizer can be used to sustain a balanced microbiota system of soil, its application must be incorporated with more sustainable agronomic techniques such as crop rotations, planting crops integrated with livestock grazing and green manuring for effective crop health management.

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