Enzymes for the palm oil industry
Mahbob Abdullah | 09 Mar 2018 00:30
Rushworth worked in many parts of Unilever on editable fats and oils

MARTIN Rushworth got me interested in finding out how enzymes can help with raising the productivity in the palm oil industry. That was how one day I agreed to go with him in his Jaguar and entered the grounds of Novozymes Malaysia Sdn Bhd in the Technology Park Malaysia at Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur.

Novozymes works in its single-storey circular building, just like in the countryside, and I could walk on the grass outside strewn with yellow petals of chempaka flowers shed by the mature trees. Inside, there was an open space and garden, private, except for staff and visitors, who could enjoy coffee, and sit on the steel chairs and relax, while the offices were along the arch, including the boardroom, which had big glass windows that I could see clearly into the trees where probably a birdbath would complete the picture of a rural setting.

In the boardroom, I was given a briefing by Rushworth, whom I had first met many years before (in 1985) as we were both in Unilever. I was on a visit to Kinshasa in DR Congo on my way up the river to visit plantations, and he was working as production director in Masarvco, a company that was processing palm oil into cooking oil, soaps, detergents and margarine. Rushworth was born in Manchester and after a degree in engineering he went to work in many parts of Unilever on editable fats and oils.