UNHAS students discover the benefits of rambutan skin for dental health

13 May 2018 Indonesia

A team of students from Universitas Hasanuddin (UNHAS) won the silver medal in the tertiary category for biotechnology during the World Young Inventors Exhibition (WYIE) held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 10-12 May 2018. The event brought together hundreds of young inventors from various countries and was held in conjunction with the International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX 2018).

INDONESIA rambutan

Vice Dean for Student Affairs and Alumni of the Faculty of Dentistry UNHAS, Dr. Nurlindah Hamrun M. Kes, expressed her admiration towards the students and the event. “Ajang ITEX-WYIE ini luar biasa, karena di sini bertemu ratusan inventor dunia dari berbagai usia dan berbagai level, mulai dari sekolah dasar hingga profesor.” [The ITEX-WYIE event is amazing because it gathers hundreds of inventors around the world of various ages and levels, from elementary students to professors],” said Dr. Nurlindah.

The students, dubbed “Team Ewako Gel” consisted of Erwin Gunawan and Ahmad Setiawan Jarigau from the Faculty of Dentistry and Ariansyah and Fadhil Adam Dzaky from the Faculty of Pharmacy. Their award-winning study was titled: “Ewako Gel: Development of rambutan peel extract as gel product innovation for detecting plaque on teeth”.

Ewako Gel not only detects plaque on teeth, it also inhibits growth of bacteria and can prevent the occurrence of cavities. According to Gunawan, he and his team developed the product because most dental plaque detectors in Indonesia are in the form of solutions, tablets, and syrups with harmful chemicals. “Sedangkan menurut literatur, negara-negara maju seperti Amerika sudah jarang bahkan tidak menggunakan bahan kimia, karena penggunaan dengan dosis berlebih dalam rongga mulut, bisa menyebabkan efek karsinogenik.” [Current literature suggests that in developed countries like America, chemicals are rarely used to detect plaque as excessive dosage can have carcinogenic effects.]” Erwin said.

Erwin added that while there has been research on the use of rosella and dragon fruit as a plaque detector, the price is expensive. Both contain the red pigment anthocyanin that can be used to detect plaque. Rambutan skin also contains the pigment and is a cheaper alternative because it is only considered as a waste product of the fruit.

However, Ewako Gel needs to undergo clinical trials in humans before it can be used. Erwin hopes his team can be given the opportunity to continue their work and release Ewanko Gel for commercial purposes.