Transformer Spotlight: Abdullah Al Mamun, IIUM



In this spotlight, we feature the work of Abdullah Al Mamun from the Department of Civil Engineering at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). His research is on sustainable solutions related to water and waste related problems. This innovative work focuses on the production of a water fungus for sustainable treatment of water. 

Please can you tell us about your work?

We are exploring an innovative idea in the production of a myco-coagulant from a local fungus that can be used as safely, environmentally-friendly and sustainably in order to support clean water for all. This bio-coagulant, named MyCoag, has already been covered in several journal papers and its patent has been filed in Malaysia. Laboratory investigations have revealed that MyCoag is a secondary metabolite which is produced during the growth of a specific river water fungi.

However, the challenge lies in producing MyCoag in bulk amounts so that it can be used to treat water for industrial or large-scale field applications. Many researchers had trialled producing fungus using liquid-state fermentation (LSF), however, we are exploring a solid-state bio-conversion (SBB) technique as this has shown better reliability, stability and could much more easily be scaled-up. 

Once the bulk production of MyCoag using SSB has been achieved, we believe it can also be used in many other industries such as, the dairy industry, food processing and municipal wastewater treatment.

How is Engage and the Transform Fund going to help you achieve your ambitions? 

The Transform Fund is helping to support research which is currently being conducted to produce new products, such as MyCoag. Through this research, we can make our dream of scaling-up production of MyCoag using the SSB system a success. Furthermore, it is necessary to market the product in the local and international arena. As such, the Engage platform is going to act as a good platform for networking and the Transform Fund is going to help achieve our ambitions of making the idea and project successful.

Engage has already boosted our enthusiasm by providing extensive training during their Transformers Academy, which was held before the Transform Fund was released to the grant recipients.

Which Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) does your work support the most?

Our work is supporting SDG6, which is Clean Water and Sanitation.

Why do you think it’s important to support the SDGs?

Life and society can’t be sustainable if the water and environment sectors are not sustainable. We, therefore, consider this SDG as the root and foundation for all other SDGs; whereas the other SDGs are essential to make the world a better place for all.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business to make a difference in today’s world? 

I believe that positive changes in today’s society and world are possible with the right intentions and sincere perseverance. To this end, my humble suggestion is to always “be sincere and to try your best”. 

And finally, what was the last book you read and why? 

The book that I always read is the book from the Creator - Al Qur’an, which gives me continuous inspiration, ideas, motivation and guidelines for my own sustainability and working towards sustainability in both local and global society. It is mentioned in this book that “Wasting is an act of the devil”.

To me any sort of waste is against the concept of sustainability. Our ability does not give us the authority to waste. Wastage (of any form) leads towards unsustainability. I’ve noticed that there are many sustainability initiatives that have failed around the world, due to wastage of resources or due to the work being done in an ‘unsustainable manner’.

With regards to traditional books, the last book I read was “Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind”, written by Brian M. Fagan. This book was very much related to my work and research; and reminded me how water has shaped, and is still shaping, societies. 

Connect with Abdullah on Twitter – @twitaami and learn more about IIUM on their website or by following them on Twitter - @OfficialIIUM

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