Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. Plant pest control in Indonesia in general still uses chemical-based pesticides that may harm human health, organisms, and the environment.

This has prompted Yenny Meliana, a researcher in the field of chemical engineering from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) to develop research on plant-based pesticides.

The results of research that have a direct impact on the society led Yenny to win the 2021 (2nd) Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award, under the category of Outstanding Innovation Award category. This award was recently announced through the official website of the Hitachi Global Foundation.

“The plant-based pesticides that we develop use natural ingredients such as neem oil, palm derivatives, cloves, and lemongrass,” said Yenny, who currently serves as BRIN’s Acting Head of the Chemical Research Center.

The development of plant-based pesticides is carried out by formulating plant-based pesticides in nano-emulsifiable concentrate formulation with neem oil as an active ingredient that has been licensed by the pesticide making industry. Yenni and her team used palm oil-based surfactants, essential oils and plant-based oils as active ingredients for formulating the pesticides so that they are relatively safe for the environment. The formulation is applied under the dilution ratio of 1:100 with water.

“The use of plant-based pesticides as an alternative for farmers is expected to become environmentally friendly products that are safer, increase agricultural productivity, maintain water and food quality, reduce accumulation of chemical pesticides in the soil, and increase public awareness for a better healthy life,” said Yenny.

Plant-based pesticide products have now reached a pilot scale that is capable of producing about 100 liters per batch.

“The technology for his product has also been transferred to a national company engaging in organic pesticides,” said Yenny.

Plant-based pesticides have been used by among others a horticultural farmer group in Bandung, West Java, why applies organic farming. According to her, the target for use of plant-based pesticide products is currently still focused on organic farming, in order to increase the added value of the economy compared to ordinary products.

“The current target is still farmers under the label ‘organic’. In the future, it can be for agriculture in general. Moreover, the current trend among the people, especially in big cities, is to find products that are good for health. So, the use of pesticides made from natural ingredient is, in addition to increasing the added value of the product, also to protect the water environment and agricultural land for our common future,” he said.

He hopes that the results of this research can contribute to saving a better environment, improving the farmers’ living standard, and building the Indonesian economy

The 2021 (2nd) Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award

The Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award is a program with the aim to recognize individuals and groups, for their outstanding achievements in research and development in the fields of science and technology, including their vision of an ideal future society, and social implementation plans for research and development, as a means to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In 2021, this event saw research and development achievement from 21 universities and research institutes in 6 ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The theme of this award is SDGs 14 – life under water and SDGs 15 – life on land.

Apart from Yenny, another BRIN researcher, Cynthia Henny, from the Limnology Research Center, won the Encouragement Award category for her research related to improvement of water quality and restoration of the Lake Maninjau ecosystem through introduction of an integrated aeration and floating wetland management system (tnt).