Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya

Co-organiser

Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya

TRADITIONAL USES AND MICROSCOPICAL INVESTIGATION OF PANDANUS LERAM

Author

Ibtisam Abdul Wahab

Institution

Universiti Teknologi Mara

Abstract

Objectives: The objectives are to discuss the traditional uses of Pandanus Leram and to present the results from the microscopical investigations of the leaves.

Methods: Scientific literatures that incorporate ethnobotanical studies with regard to P. Leram, were reviewed. The leaves of P. Leram were locally obtained, dried and cut. They were extracted with 80% ethanol. The specimens were subjected to modern microscopic apparatuses, e.g. Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope and Scanning Electron Microscope. Earlier effort, however, has included the quantification of natural crystals from this Pandanus by using light microscopy.

Results: The traditional practice of this species could be summarized. This plant is used by both indigenous and non-indigenous people of the Nicobar Islands, India. In fact, one of the Andamans and Nicobarian ethnic communities is also regarded as a critically endangered and degenerating population. They form the fruits of P. Leram as the staple food. The fruit fibres are used for cleaning hands. In addition, the leaves are used for thatching or roof crafting. From the laboratory work, crystalline calcium oxalates were viewed microscopically from the leaves specimen.

Conclusion: From the review, it was fortunate to discover that P. Leram could grow luxuriantly in the beach forest of the Nicobar Islands, after the tsunami occurred on 26th December 2004. Varsity and botanical gardens are encouraged to capture initiatives in conserving natural P. Leram. It is concluded that P. Leram could characteristically accumulate raphides, or needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals, as mentioned previously. The future projects would consist of phytochemical investigation of this underutilized plant.