USM researchers awarded M'sian gold medal for weight-loss product

GEORGE TOWN - The invention of capsaicin-enriched layered noodles, believed to be the first of its kind in the world by a team of researchers from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), has won them a Malaysian Invention and Design Society 2012 gold medal.

Team leader Prof Azhar Mat Easa, from USM's School of Industrial Technology, said the team came up with the invention by cross-linking capsaicin, the active ingredient that causes the burning sensation in chilli powder, with dough and shaping them into flat noodles.

"The product is suitable for children, especially those who are overweight, as the capsaicin compound helps to expedite the fat-burning process.

"As the capsaicin compound is layered between layers of noodles, consumers cannot taste the burning sensation as the active components only dissolve in the stomach," he said at USM yesterday.

Prof Azhar explained that every 100gm of noodles contained up to 17mg of capsaicin powder.

"Regular consumption of the layered noodles can lead to weight loss.

"We are filing for a patent and the product, priced at RM7 (S$3) for two servings, is expected to be released to the market soon," he said.

During the same press conference, another team from the School of Chemical Engineering also introduced its award-winning innovation the biodegradable crustacean waste for residue oil removal, also known as Chi-Sorb.

Ten years of effort by Dr Suzylawati Ismail and Prof Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad, both from USM, and Dr Sumathi Sethupati from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, did not go unrewarded as their innovation bagged two international awards.

Dr Suzylawati said the biodegradable material developed from shrimp shell waste was a natural organic flocculant.

The innovation won the British Invention Show 2010 gold medal and Korea International Women's Invention Exposition 2012 gold prize.