Empty Fruit Bunches as Potential Source for Biosilica Fertilizer for Oil Palm


Laksmita Prima Santi(1*), Donny Nugroho Kalbuadi(2), Didiek Hadjar Goenadi(3)

(1) Indonesian Research Institute for Biotechnology and Bioindustry, PT Riset Perkebunan Nusantara, Bogor
(2) Indonesian Research Institute for Biotechnology and Bioindustry, PT Riset Perkebunan Nusantara, Bogor
(3) Indonesian Research Institute for Biotechnology and Bioindustry, PT Riset Perkebunan Nusantara, Bogor
(*) Corresponding Author


In Indonesia, the development of oil palm plantations has been going on a pervasive way; they covered about 14.03 million hectares in 2017. This massive coverage of land might then generate a tremendous amount of biomass per year, both in the form of both solid and liquid wastes. The processing of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) in palm oil mill (POM) produces wastes that primarily in the form of empty fruit bunches (EFB), which is amounting of up to 25% (w/w) of FFB. It has been being indicated that EFB contains a considerable amount of silica (Si) which attracts the Indonesian Research Institute for Biotechnology and Bioindustry (IRIBB) to investigate the potential use of EFB as a source of bio-available Si, in the form of H4SiO4 (mono silicic acid, BioSilAc). The experiment was carried out at Sungai Mirah Minting Estate, PT Bumitama Gunajaya Agro-Central Kalimantan. The EFB material was obtained from POM and chopped into 2.5-5.0 cm in size. A four-week bio-decomposition process was employed by using bio-decomposers containing Trichoderma pseudokoningii, T. polysporum, and Phanerochaete chrysosporium. Chemical analyses of composted EFB were conducted before and 28-days after decomposer application. The presence of Si in the compost was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).  The effect of Si-containing EFB compost on the immature and mature oil palm was evaluated. Seven treatments, i.e. combination of EFB compost and BioSilAc application with reduced-dosages of NPK fertilisers were arranged in a random block design with three replicates. The results show that large quantities of silica bodies attached to the surface of EFB fibres and amounting to 0.44% soluble Si. The FFB data indicated that the application of 75% NPK + 500 kg composted EFB + 2 L BioSilAc/ha/year on a five-year-old plant resulted in higher yield than that obtained from 100% standard dosage of NPK. The study also revealed that the application of EFB compost reduced 50% of BioSilAc dosage.


bio silica; silica body; empty fruit bunch; bio decomposition; mono silicic acid

Full Text:



Britez, R.M, Watanabe T, Jansen S, Reissmann C.B, &Osaki M. 2002, The relationship between aluminium and silicon accumulation in leaves of Faramea marginata (Rubiaceae). New Phytologist 156, 437–444.

Epstein, E. 1994, The anomaly of silicon in plant biology. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91, 11–17.

Epstein, E. 2009, Silicon: Its manifold roles in plants. Ann. Appl. Biol. 155, 155–160.

Fairhurst, T. & Hardter, R.2003, Management for large and sustainable yields. Potash and Phosphate Institute of Canada. 382p.

Geng, A. 2013, Conversion of oil palm empty fruit bunch to biofuels. In: Fang Z (ed) Book of liquid, gaseous and solid biofuels—conversion techniques. Tech Open, Croatia.

Goenadi, D.H. 2006, Developing Technology for Biodecomposition of fresh solid wastes of plantation crops under tropical conditions. IPB Press.

Gunawan, F.E., Homma H, Brodjonegoro, S.S, Baseri-Hudin A, &Zainuddin A. 2009, Mechanical properties of oil palm empty fruit bunch fiber. J Solid Mech Mater Eng, 3(7), 943–951.

Harun, N.A.F., Baharuddin, A.S, Zainudin, M.H.M, Bahrin, E.K, Naim M.N, &Zakaria, R. 2013, Cellulose production from treated oil palm empty fruit bunch degradation by locally isolated Thermobifidafusca. Bioresources, 8(1), 676 – 687.

Jinn, C.M., H’ng P.S, Chin K.L., Chai E.W., Paridah M.T., Lee S.H., Lum W.C., Luqman C., &Mariusz, M. 2015, Agricultural biomass based potential materials. In Empty Fruit Bunches in the Race for Energy, Biochemical, and Material Industry. Springer International Publishing Switzerland. K. R. Hakeem (eds.).375-389 p.

Keeping, M.G.&Reynolds, O.L. 2009, Silicon in agriculture: New insights, new significance, and growing application.Ann. Appl. Biol. 155, 153–154.

Koppittke, P.M., Gianoncelli A., Kourousias G., Green K. & McKenna, B.A. 2017, Alleviation of Al toxicity by Si is associated with the formation of Al–Si complexes in root tissues of sorghum. Frontiers in plant science, 8: 1-9.

Law, K.N., Daud, W.R. & Ghazali A. 2007, Morphological and chemical nature of fiber strands of oil palm empty-fruit-bunch (OPEFB). Bioresource Technology, 2(3),351-362.

Ma, J.F. 2004, Role of silicon in enhancing the resistance of plants to biotic and abiotic stresses. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition,50(1), 11–18.

Ma J.F. &Yamaji N.A. 2015, Cooperative system of silicon transport in plants. Trends Plant Sci, 20, 435–442.

MaJ.F, Tamai K, Ichii M. & Wu G.F. 2002, A Rice Mutant Defective in Si Uptake. Plant Physiol, 130, 2111–2117.

Mitani N, & Ma J.F. 2005, Uptake system of silicon in different plant species. J. Exp. Bot, 56, 1255–1261.

Montpetit J., Vivancos J., Mitani-Ueno N., Yamaji N., Rémus-BorelW., Belzile F., Ma J.F., & Bélanger R.R. 2012, Cloning, functional characterization and heterologous expression of TaLsi1, a wheat silicon transporter gene.Plant Mol. Biol, 79, 35–46.

Najihah, N.I, Hanafi, M.M, Idris, A.S. & Hakim, M.A. 2015, Silicon treatment in oil palms confers resistance to basal stem rot disease caused by Ganoderma boninense. Crop Prot, 67, 151–159.

Sanglard, L.M.V.P, Detmann, K.C, Martins, S.C.V, Teixeira, R.A, Pereira, L.F, Sanglard, M.L, Fernie, A.R, Araújo, W.L. & DaMatta, F.M. 2016, The role of silicon in metabolic acclimation of rice plants challenged with arsenic.Environ. Exp. Bot, 123, 22–36.

Santi, L.P,&Goenadi, D.H. 2017, Solubilization of silicatefrom quartz mineral by potential silicate solubilizing bacteria. Menara Perkebunan, 85(2), 96-105.

Santi, L.P, Mulyanto D., &Goenadi, D.H. 2017, Double acid-base extraction of silicic acid from quartz sand. Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering, 5(6), 362-373.

Shi, Y., Wang Y., Flowers, T.J.&Gong, H. 2013, Silicon decreases chloride transport in rice (Oryza sativa L.) in saline conditions. J. Plant Physiol, 170, 847–853.

Standar Nasional Indonesia (SNI). 1994, Mineral zeolit, Pengukuran kapasitas pertukaran kation. 13-3494-1994.

Vivancos, J., Labbé C., Menzies, J.G.&Bélanger, R.R. 2015, Silicon-mediated resistance of Arabidopsis against powdery mildew involves mechanisms other than the salicylic acid (SA)-dependent defence pathway.Mol. Plant Pathol, 16, 572–582.

Yin, L., Wang S., Liu P., Wang W., Cao D., Deng X.&Zhang S. 2014, Silicon-mediated changes inpolyamine and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid are involved in silicon-induced drought resistance in Sorghum utilized L. Plant Physiol. Biochem, 80, 268–277.

Ye, M., Song Y., Long J.W.R., Baerson, S.R., Pan Z, Zhu-Salzman, K., Xie J., Cai K.&Luo S. 2013, Priming of jasmonate-mediated antiherbivore defense responses in rice by silicon. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci, USA 110, E3631–E3639.

Zhou, W., Apkarian R., Wang, Z.L. &Joy, D. 2006, Fundamentals of ScanningElectron Microscopy (SEM). In: Zhou W. & Wang Z.L, Eds., Scanning Microscopy for Nanotechnology Techniques and Applications, Springer Science BusinessMedia, New York.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/jtbb.38749

Article Metrics

Abstract views : 6923 | views : 3456


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Journal of Tropical Biodiversity and Biotechnology

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Editoral address:

Faculty of Biology, UGM

Jl. Teknika Selatan, Sekip Utara, Yogyakarta, 55281, Indonesia

ISSN: 2540-9581 (online)