Curtin Malaysia IChemE Student Chapter organises virtual site visit to Yakult’s manufacturing plant

Miri – 14 April 2021 – 55 undergraduate chemical engineering students of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently participated in a virtual site visit to Yakult (M) Sdn Bhd, a probiotics drink manufacturing company located in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, organised by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Student Chapter of Curtin Malaysia.

Accompanying them on the virtual visit were lecturers Dr. Bridgid Chin, Dr. Angnes Tiong, and Dr. Lau Shiew Wei.

It was the first virtual site visit organised by IChemE Student Chapter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, previous site visits having been all face-to-face site visits.

Dr. Chin, who is an advisor to student chapter, delivered a welcoming speech prior to the start of the visit, which was facilitated by Crystal Phang Xiao Xuan, senior event coordinator of the Public Relations and Science Department of Yakult (M) Sdn Bhd.

During the visit, the students and lecturers were briefed on the background of the company and its production processes. This was followed by quiz and question-and-answer sessions.

Yakult is the world’s leading probiotic beverage, which was developed in 1935 in Japan by Dr. Minoru Shirota. He became the first person in the world to successfully culture a strain of lactic acid bacteria known as Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS) which benefits human health. Currently, Yakult is sold in 40 countries and regions around the world. Yakult was officially established in Malaysia in 2003.

Third-year-chemical engineering student and president of the student chapter, Stansfield Then, commented that although the virtual visit took only about half an hour, it was very informative and beneficial to the students.

“We learned a lot of things such as the chemical and biological principles in the production of Yakult. Daily consumption of the delicious probiotic fermented milk drink can help improve digestion and build immunity as Yakult contains over 6.5 billion LcS in each bottle, the highest concentration of probiotics in the market,” said Then.

 Meanwhile, fellow third-year chemical engineering and organising chairperson of the virtual visit, Evane Serrah June Gani, remarked, “I was able to relate what we observed during the virtual visit to what is taught in our course, especially things related to bioprocess engineering. It was also a good opportunity for me, as the organising chairperson, to hone my organisational and communication skills throughout the planning and execution of the visit.”

According to Dr. Chin, the virtual site visit was of great benefit to both the students and lecturers, especially in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic which has posed challenges in organising meaningful student activities and educational trips.

“We have proven that a virtual site visit, despite its inherent limitations, can be an effective interactive learning experience to help students enhance their understanding of real chemical engineering practices and provide exposure to real-world chemical processes in the food and beverage manufacturing industry,” she said.

Dr. Tiong agreed that a virtual site visit can be a good way for students to gain practical knowledge and industry exposure during this pandemic. She said the quiz and question-and-answer sessions were especially useful as the students got to interact with Phang and ask many pertinent questions.

The Curtin Malaysia IChemE Student Chapter serves to promote the latest developments and advances in the field of chemical engineering among Curtin Malaysia students as well as creates networking opportunities by bringing students and industrial representatives together. These allow the students to expand their professional networks and learn beyond the classroom environment.

For more information on the Curtin Malaysia IChemE Student Chapter, email csichemesc@gmail.com or visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CMIChemESC/ or its website at cmichemesc.jimdofree.com

Crystal Phang, senior event coordinator of Yakult (M) Sdn Bhd facilitating the virtual site visit.

Phang (middle,5th row) with the students and lecturers posing for a ‘virtual group photo’ at the end of the visit.

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