Choo Wee Sim
School of Science
Dr Choo Wee Sim completed a Bachelor Science in Food Studies (2001) majoring in Food Quality Management with a First Class Honours and Master of Science (2004) in the field of Food Chemistry and Biochemistry from the Universiti Putra Malaysia. She then joined the Malaysian Palm Oil Board as a research officer before moving to University of Otago, New Zealand to complete a PhD in Food Science in 2008. She joined Monash University soon after and is currently a Senior Lecturer for the School of Science. In 2013 she obtained a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, and as a result of her engaging teaching style, she has been awarded three PVC’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching.
Dr Choo's current research interests focus on functional foods which are foods that potentially offer health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Her work focuses on extraction and application of bioactive compounds from food sources, phytochemicals, probiotics and prebiotics. She is investigating and pioneering works on various bioactivities of natural coloured pigments such as betalains and anthocyanins. Bioactivities include antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-biofilm, anti-infective etc.
- Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Monash University, 2013
- Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science, University of Otago, New Zealand, 2008
- Master of Science in Food Chemistry and Biochemistry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 2004
- Bachelor of Science in Food Studies (Majoring in Food Quality Management), Universiti Putra Malaysia, 2000
Bioactive compounds in foods, phytochemicals, probiotics and prebiotics
Functional foods, phytochemicals and their bio-activities, natural colourants, probiotics and prebiotics.
- FST3810 (Food Bioprocess Technology)
- FST3820 (Food Preservation)
- FST3840 (Food Processing)
Chan, S. Y. Owh, C. Choo, W. S., Young, D. J., Loh, X. J., Li, P. and Huang, W. (2020). Pectin as a rheology modifier: Chemistry, production, and rheology. In: Materials Science and Technology. Wiley‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
Choo, W. S. (2019). Fruit pigment changes during ripening. In: Encyclopedia of Food Chemistry, vol. 2, L. Melton, F. Shahidi and Varelis, P. (Editors.), Elsevier, The Netherlands, pp. 117–123.
Choo, W. S. (2018). Betalains: Application in functional foods. In: Bioactive molecules in food, reference series in phytochemistry, J.-M. Mérillon and K.G. Ramawat (Editors), Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, pp. 1-28. (Invited book chapter)
Chan, S. Y., Choo, W. S., Young, D. J. and Loh, X. J. (2016). Pectin as a rheology modifier: Recent reports on its origin, structure, commercial production and gelling mechanism. In: Polymers for personal care products and cosmetics, X. J. Loh (Editor), Royal Society of Chemistry, London, United Kingdom, pp. 205-226.
Choo, W. S. (2009). Cold-pressed flaxseed oils: Characterization of cold-pressed flaxseed oils and products from their enzymatic transesterification with cinnamic and ferulic acids. Germany: VDM Verlag.
Yong, Y. Y., Ong, M. W. K., Dykes, G. and Choo, W. S. (2020). Betacyanin inhibited biofilm formation of co-culture of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa on different polymer surfaces, FEMS Microbiology Letters doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnaa214
Jeyaraj, E. J., Lim, Y. Y. and Choo, W. S. (2020). Extraction methods of butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) flower and biological activities of its phytochemicals. Journal of Food Science and Technology doi:10.1007/s13197-020-04745-3
Saik, A. Y. H., Lim, Y. Y., Stanslas, J. and Choo, W. S. (2020). Biosynthesis of quercetin palmitate esters and evaluation of their physico‐chemical properties and stability. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 97: 977-988
Gengatharan, A., Dykes, G. A. and Choo, W. S. (2020). Betacyanins from Hylocereus polyrhizus: pectinase-assisted extraction and application as a natural food colourant in ice cream. Journal of Food Science and Technology doi:10.1007/s13197-020-04651-8
Choo, W. S., Wong, Y. C. and Nathan, S. (2020). Betanin from beetroot enhanced survival of Caenorhabditis elegans infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Malaysian Journal of Microbiology 16:147-152.
Chang, Y. J., Pong, L. Y., Hassan, S. S. and Choo, W. S. (2020). Antiviral activity of betacyanins from red pitahaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) and red spinach (Amaranthus dubius) against dengue virus type 2 (GenBank accession no. MH488959). Access Microbiology doi:10.1099/acmi.0.000073
Lee, K. Y. and Choo, W. S. (2020). Extraction optimization and physicochemical properties of pectin from watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) rind: Comparison of hydrochloric and citric acid extraction. Journal of Nutraceuticals and Food Science doi:10.36648/nutraceuticals.5.1.1
Yong, Y. Y., Dykes, G. and Choo, W. S. (2019). Biofilm formation by staphylococci in health-related environments and recent reports on their control using natural compounds, Critical Reviews in Microbiology 45: 201-222
Lee, H. L. and Choo, W. S. (2019). Effect of storage time on ascorbic acid and total phenolic contents and colour of blanched, boiled and steamed cauliflowers (Brassica oleracea L. ssp. botrytis). Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science 42: 535 - 544.
Yong, Y. Y., Dykes, G., Lee, S. M., and Choo, W. S. (2019). Biofilm inhibiting activity of betacyanins from red pitahaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) and red spinach (Amaranthus dubius) against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Journal of Applied Microbiology 126: 68-78.
Amanda, E. and Choo, W. S. (2018). Effect of refrigerated storage on the physicochemical characteristics and viability of Lactobacillus plantarum in fermented watermelon juice with or without supplementation with inulin or fructooligosachharide. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation 42: doi: 10.1111/jfpp.13831
Chan, S. Y., Goh, S. S., Dou, Q., Chan, B. Q. Y., Choo, W. S., Young, D. Y., and Loh, X. J. (2018). Unprecedented acid-promoted polymerization and gelation of acrylamide: A serendipitous discovery. Chemistry—An Asian Journal 13: 1797-1804.
Yong, Y. Y., Dykes, G., Lee, S. M., and Choo, W. S. (2018). Effect of refrigerated storage on betacyanin composition, antibacterial activity of red pitahaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) and cytotoxicity evaluation of betacyanin rich extract on normal human cell lines. LWT-Food Science and Technology 91: 491-497.
Chan, S. Y., Chan, B. Q. Y., Liu, Z., Parikh, B. H., Zhang, K., Lin, Q., Su, X., Kai, D., Choo, W. S., Young, D. J. and Loh, X. J. (2017). Electrospun pectin-polyhydroxybutyrate nanofibers for retinal tissue engineering. ACS Omega 2: 8959-8968.
Octavia, L. and Choo, W. S. (2017). Folate, ascorbic acid, anthocyanin and colour changes in strawberry (Fragaria x annanasa) during refrigerated storage. LWT – Food Science and Technology 86: 652-659.
Gengatharan, A., Dykes, G. and Choo, W. S. (2017). The effect of pH treatment and refrigerated storage on natural colourant preparations (betacyanins) from red pitahaya and their potential application in yoghurt. LWT - Food Science and Technology 80: 437-445.
Chan, S. Y., Choo, W. S., Young, D. J. and Loh, X. J. (2017). Pectin as a rheology modifier: Origin, structure, commercial production and rheology. Carbohydrate Polymers 161: 118-139.
Yong, Y. Y., Dykes, G., Lee, S. M. and Choo, W. S. (2017). Comparative study of betacyanin profile and antimicrobial activity of red pitahaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) and red spinach (Amaranthus dubius). Plants Foods for Human Nutrition 72: 41-47.
Saik, A. Y. H., Lim, Y. Y., Stanslas, J. and Choo, W. S. (2017). Enzymatic synthesis of quercetin oleate esters using Candida antarctica lipase B. Biotechnology Letters 39:297-304.
Chan, S. Y., Choo, W. S., Young, D. J. and Loh, X. J. (2016). Thixotropic supramolecular pectin-poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA) hydrogels. Polymers 8(11):404; doi:10.3390/polym8110404
Saik, A. Y. H., Lim, Y. Y., Stanslas, J. and Choo, W. S. (2016). Lipase-catalyzed acylation of quercetin with cinnamic acid. Biocatalysis and Biotransformation 34:33-43.
Leong, C. M., Mohd Adzahan, N., Muhammad, K. and Choo, W. S. (2016). Physicochemical properties of pectin extracted from jackfruit and chempedak fruit rinds using various acids. International Food Research Journal 23: 973-978.
Gengatharan, A., Dykes, G. A. and Choo, W. S. (2016). Stability of betacyanin from red pitahaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) and its potential application as a natural colourant in milk. International Journal of Food Science and Technology 51: 427-434.
Gengatharan, A., Dykes, G.A. and Choo, W.S. (2015). Betalains: Natural plant pigments with potential application in functional foods. LWT - Food Science and Technology 64:645-649.
Lee, P.E. and Choo, W.S. (2015). Characterization of flaxseed oil emulsions. Journal of Food Science and Technology 52:4378-4386.
Okpala, C.O.R., Choo, W.S. and Dykes, G.A. (2014). Quality and shelf life assessment of Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) freshly harvested and stored on ice. LWT - Food Science and Technology 55: 110-116.
Choo, W.S., Yap, J.Y. and Chan, S.Y. (2014). Antioxidant properties of two varieties of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) and the effect of blanching and boiling on them. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science 37:121-131.
Chan, S.Y and Choo, W.S. (2013). Effect of extraction conditions on the yield and chemical properties of pectin from cocoa husks. Food Chemistry 141: 3752–3758.
Choo, W.S. and Sin, W. Y. (2012). Ascorbic acid, lycopene and antioxidant activities of red-fleshed and yellow-fleshed watermelons. Advances in Applied Science Research 3: 2779-2784
Choo, W.S. and Yong, W. K. (2011). Antioxidant properties of two species of Hylocereus fruits. Advances in Applied Science Research 2: 418-425.
Choo, W.S., Birch, E. J. and Stewart, I. (2009). Radical scavenging activity of lipophilized products from lipase-catalyzed transesterification of flaxseed oil with cinnamic and ferulic acids. Lipids 44: 807-815.
Choo, W.S. and Birch, E. J. (2009). Radical scavenging activity of lipophilized products from lipase-catalyzed transesterification of triolein with cinnamic and ferulic acids. Lipids 44: 145-152.
Choo, W.S., Birch, E. J. and Dufour, J-P. (2007). Physicochemical and quality characteristics of cold-pressed flaxseed oils during pan-heating. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 84: 735-740.
Choo, W.S., Birch, E. J. and Dufour, J-P. (2007). Physicochemical and quality characteristics of cold-pressed flaxseed oils. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 20: 202-211.
Choo, W.S., Muhammad, K., Yusof, S., Bakar, J. and Hashim, D. M. (2004). The optimisation of conditions for the production of acid-hydrolysed winged bean and soybean proteins with reduction of 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD). International Journal of Food Science and Technology 39: 947-958.
- Ministry of Higher Education Fundamental Research Grant Scheme. RM113,571. Team member. Enhancing production of rosmarinic acid in plants of the Lamiaceae family by using spectrally tunable LED lights. Nov 2020 - Oct 2022.
- Ministry of Higher Education Fundamental Research Grant Scheme. RM182,500. Project leader. Anti-viral studies on betacyanins against influenza A virus infections - molecular studies on the mechanism of action. Nov 2020 - Oct 2023.
- Monash University Tropical Medicine and Biology Platform Seed Fund. RM10,000. Project leader. Novel insights into regenerative properties of betalain as a potential antiviral agent against Influenza A virus. Aug 2020 - July 2021.
- Monash University School of Science Strategic Funding Scheme. RM50,000. Team member. Molecular and biochemical studies on host-virus relationships using the Influenza A virus disease model: a new strategy for next-generation anti-virals. March 2020 - Feb 2021.
- Ministry of Higher Education Fundamental Research Grant Scheme. RM157,800. Team member. Improving storage stability of the exclusive marine carotenoid from a tropical marine microalgae, Chaetoceros calcitrans (Paulsen) Takano 1968. Jan 2020 - Dec 2022.
- Monash University Malaysia Learning and Teaching Research Grant. RM20,000. Project leader. Development of authentic learning in laboratory assessment for Food Bioprocess Technology and Food Processing units. Aug 2019 -Dec 2020.
- Monash University Tropical Medicine and Biology Platform Seed Fund. RM7,000. Project leader. Effect of anthocyanins from Clitoria ternatea flowers on the expression of genes related to virulence and biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Jan 2019 – Dec 2019.
- Monash University Tropical Medicine and Biology Platform Seed Fund. RM5,000. Project leader. Sustainable utilization of spent coffee grounds by recovery of oil, protein and dietary fiber using a green extraction process. Jan 2018 – Dec 2018.
- Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation E-Science Fund. RM161,000. Project leader. Biosynthesis of acylated quercetin analogues and evaluation of their anticancer activity. April 2012 - Sept 2014.
- Monash University Bioactive Compound Research Strength Grant. RM40,000. Project leader. Physicochemical evaluations of low methoxy pectins and their gels. Jan 2012 - Dec 2012.
- Monash University Bioactive Compound Research Strength Grant. RM18,000. Co-project leader. Determination of xylitol in tropical fruits. Jan 2011 – Dec 2011.
- Monash University Seed Fund. RM30,000. Project leader. Purification of lipophilized ferulic acid and its derivatives. Jan 2010 – Dec 2010.
PhD Students (Completed)
- Ashwini Gengatharan
- Amy Yi Hsan Saik
- Chan Siew Yin
- Yong Yi Yi
PhD Students (Present)
- Ethel Jeyaseela Jeyaraj Asirvatham
- Priyanka Parhi
- Kavitha R Ganesan Nathan (Co-supervisor)
- Marjia Sultana
- Gayan Vidana Gamage Chandrajith
- Zuhaili binti Yusof (Co-supervisor)
- Allimalar A/P Sathiaseelan
MSc Student (Completed)
- Leong Chia Ming (in association with Universiti Putra Malaysia)
MSc Student (Present)
- Michelle Ong Wei Kim
- Ashwini Puniyamurti (Co-supervisor)
Honours Students (Present)
- Lim Chie Min
- Leong Pui Yee
- Vindya Nilakshi Wijesinghe
Honours Students (Completed)
- Pantea Fotouheyapour
- Lee Pei En
- Chan Siew Yin
- Muhammad Waziri Zakia Banu
- Chang Jing Yun
- Lua Shi Yong
- Fatemeh Ataei (Co-supervisor)
- Connie Wong Lai Ping
- Lisa Octavia
- Lee Khye Yeong
- Elvina Amanda
- Chai Jun Ching (co-supervisor)
- Shalini Kandasamy (co-supervisor)
- Karen Sim Pei Cheng
- Chun Swee Chin
- Meghna Jahajeeah
- Michelle Ong Wei Kim
- You Qiu Yi
- Shireena Yong Xhiang Mun
- Lakeisha Fidelia Limas
Membership in Academic Editorial Committees
- Food Chemistry - Journal reviewed
- European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology - Journal reviewer
- International Food Research Journal - Journal reviewer
- Malaysian Journal of Nutrition - Journal reviewer
Member of Professional Bodies
- Malaysian Institute of Food Technology (Professional member)
- New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (Oils and fats specialist group) (Professional member)
Academic/Corporate Community Engagements
- Topic Editor, Sustainable Production of Bioactive Pigments, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 2020.
- Invited Lecture - "Betalains: Application as natural colorants and recent findings on their antibiofilm and antiviral activities", Faculte de Pharmacie, Universite Paris Sud, France, 19th November 2019.
- Invited Lecture - "Betalains: Application as natural colorants and recent findings on their antibiofilm and antiviral activities", Laboratoire de Chimie Bioorganique, CEA Saclay, France, 25th November 2019.
- Invited Lecture - "Biocatalysis and biotransformation of bioactive compounds using lipase", Faculte de Pharmacie de Paris, Universite Paris Descartes, France, 28th November 2019.
- Invited Lecture - "Biocatalysis and biotransformation of bioactive compounds using lipase", French National Museum of Natural History, France, 29th November 2019.
- Careers in Food Science – Oral Presentation at the Sureworks Education and Further Studies Fair, Midvalley Exhibition Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 25th March 2018
- Where to after a food science degree? - Oral Presentation at the Sureworks Education Fair, Midvalley Exhibition Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 18th March 2017
- Healthy eating habits - Interactive talk for children from two shelter homes - Agathians Shelter and Yayasan Chow Kit on eating healthy and nutritious food in a fun environment. This is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility strategy of the Royal Bank of Canada in partnership with Monash University Malaysia, Jaya Shopping Mall, Petaling Jaya, 13th December 2015.
- Monash University Malaysia PVC Commendation for Excellence in Education - Innovations in Teaching
- Top 10% most downloaded paper 2018-2019 in Journal of Applied Microbiology - Biofilm inhibiting activity of betacyanins from red pitahaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) and red spinach (Amaranthus dubius) against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms
- Long Service Award, Monash University Malaysia
- Outstanding Nominee for Best Supervisor of the Year Award, Monash University Postgraduate Association
- Pro-Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, Round 2
- Pro-Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, Round 1 & 2
- Honored Student Award, The American Oil Chemists' Society