Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 348

Bioengineering and Life Sciences

Passive Neutralization of Acid Mine Drainage Using Locally Produced Limestone

Neutralisation of acid-mine drainage (AMD) using limestone is cost effective, and good results can be obtained. However, this process has its limitations; it cannot be used for highly acidic water which consists of Fe(III). When Fe(III) reacts with CaCO3, it results in armoring. Armoring slows the reaction, and additional alkalinity can no longer be generated. Limestone is easily accessible, so this problem can be easily dealt with. Experiments were carried out to evaluate the effect of PVC pipe length on ferric and ferrous ions. It was found that the shorter the pipe length the more these dissolved metals precipitate. The effect of the pipe length on the hydrogen ions was also studied, and it was found that these two have an inverse relationship. Experimental data were further compared with the model prediction data to see if they behave in a similar fashion. The model was able to predict the behaviour of 1.5m and 2 m pipes in ferric and ferrous ion precipitation.

Event Related Potentials in Terms of Visual and Auditory Stimuli

Event-related potential (ERP) is one of the useful tools for investigating cognitive reactions. In this study, the potential of ERP components detected after auditory and visual stimuli was examined. Subjects were asked to respond upon stimuli that were of three categories; Target, Non-Target and Standard stimuli. The ERP after stimulus was measured. In the experiment of visual evoked potentials (VEPs), the subjects were asked to gaze at a center point on the monitor screen where the stimuli were provided by the reversal pattern of the checkerboard. In consequence of the VEP experiments, we observed consistent reactions. Each peak voltage could be measured when the ensemble average was applied. Visual stimuli had smaller amplitude and a longer latency compared to that of auditory stimuli. The amplitude was the highest with Target and the smallest with Standard in both stimuli.

Apoptotic Induction Ability of Harmalol and Its Binding: Biochemical and Biophysical Perspectives

Harmalol administration caused remarkable reduction in proliferation of HepG2 cells with GI50 of 14.2 mM, without showing much cytotoxicity in embryonic liver cell line, WRL-68. Data from circular dichroism and differential scanning calorimetric analysis of harmalol-CT DNA complex shows conformational changes with prominent CD perturbation and stabilization of CT DNA by 8 oC. Binding constant and stoichiometry was also calculated using the above biophysical techniques. Further, dose dependent apoptotic induction ability of harmalol was studied in HepG2 cells using different biochemical assays. Generation of ROS, DNA damage, changes in cellular external and ultramorphology, alteration of membrane, formation of comet tail, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and a significant increase in Sub Go/G1 population made the cancer cell, HepG2, prone to apoptosis. Up regulation of p53 and caspase 3 further indicated the apoptotic role of harmalol.

Stabilizing Effects of Deep Eutectic Solvents on Alcohol Dehydrogenase Mediated Systems

This study explored the effects of different organic solvents, temperature, and the amount of glycerol on the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH)-catalysed stereoselective reduction of different ketones. These conversions were then analyzed by gas chromatography. It was found that when the amount of deep eutectic solvents (DES) increases, it can improve the stereoselectivity of the enzyme although reducing its ability to convert the substrate into the corresponding alcohol. Moreover, glycerol was found to have a strong stabilizing effect on the ADH from Ralstonia sp. (E. coli/ RasADH). In the case of organic solvents, it was observed that the best conversions into the alcohols were achieved with DMSO and hexane. It was also observed that temperature decreased the ability of the enzyme to convert the substrates into the products and also affected the selectivity. In addition to that, the recycling of DES up to three times gave good conversions and enantiomeric excess results and glycerol showed a positive effect in the stability of various ADHs. Using RasADH, a good conversion and enantiomeric excess into the S-alcohol were obtained. It was found that an enhancement of the temperature disabled the stabilizing effect of glycerol and decreased the stereoselectivity of the enzyme. However, for other ADHs a temperature increase had an opposite positive effect, especially with ADH-T from Thermoanaerobium sp. One of the objectives of this study was to see the effect of cofactors such as NAD(P) on the biocatlysis activities of ADHs.

Characterisation of Fractions Extracted from Sorghum Byproducts

Sorghum byproducts, namely bran, stalk, and panicle are examples of lignocellulosic biomass. These raw materials contain large amounts of polysaccharides, in particular hemicelluloses, celluloses, and lignins, which if efficiently extracted, can be utilised for the development of a range of added value products with potential applications in agriculture and food packaging sectors. The aim of this study was to characterise fractions extracted from sorghum bran and stalk with regards to their physicochemical properties that could determine their applicability as food-packaging materials. A sequential alkaline extraction was applied for the isolation of cellulosic, hemicellulosic and lignin fractions from sorghum stalk and bran. Lignin content, phenolic content and antioxidant capacity were also investigated in the case of the lignin fraction. Thermal analysis using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) revealed that the glass transition temperature (Tg) of cellulose fraction of the stalk was ~78.33 oC at amorphous state (~65%) and water content of ~5%. In terms of hemicellulose, the Tg value of stalk was slightly lower compared to bran at amorphous state (~54%) and had less water content (~2%). It is evident that hemicelluloses generally showed a lower thermal stability compared to cellulose, probably due to their lack of crystallinity. Additionally, bran had higher arabinose-to-xylose ratio (0.82) than the stalk, a fact that indicated its low crystallinity. Furthermore, lignin fraction had Tg value of ~93 oC at amorphous state (~11%). Stalk-derived lignin fraction contained more phenolic compounds (mainly consisting of p-coumaric and ferulic acid) and had higher lignin content and antioxidant capacity compared to bran-derived lignin fraction.

Isolation of a Bacterial Community with High Removal Efficiencies of the Insecticide Bendiocarb

Bendiocarb is a known toxic xenobiotic that presents acute and chronic risks for freshwater invertebrates and estuarine and marine biota; thus, the treatment of water contaminated with the insecticide is of concern. In this paper, a bacterial community with the capacity to grow in bendiocarb as its sole carbon and nitrogen source was isolated by enrichment techniques in batch culture, from samples of a composting plant located in the northeast of Mexico City. Eight cultivable bacteria were isolated from the microbial community, by PCR amplification of 16 rDNA; Pseudoxanthomonas spadix (NC_016147.2, 98%), Ochrobacterium anthropi (NC_009668.1, 97%), Staphylococcus capitis (NZ_CP007601.1, 99%), Bosea thiooxidans. (NZ_LMAR01000067.1, 99%), Pseudomonas denitrificans. (NC_020829.1, 99%), Agromyces sp. (NZ_LMKQ01000001.1, 98%), Bacillus thuringiensis. (NC_022873.1, 97%), Pseudomonas alkylphenolia (NZ_CP009048.1, 98%). NCBI accession numbers and percentage of similarity are indicated in parentheses. These bacteria were regarded as the isolated species for having the best similarity matches. The ability to degrade bendiocarb by the immobilized bacterial community in a packed bed biofilm reactor, using as support volcanic stone fragments (tezontle), was evaluated. The reactor system was operated in batch using mineral salts medium and 30 mg/L of bendiocarb as carbon and nitrogen source. With this system, an overall removal efficiency (ηbend) rounding 90%, was reached.

Modeling of Oxygen Supply Profiles in Stirred-Tank Aggregated Stem Cells Cultivation Process
This paper investigates a possible practical solution for reasonable oxygen supply during the pluripotent stem cells expansion processes, where the stem cells propagate as aggregates in stirred-suspension bioreactors. Low glucose and low oxygen concentrations are preferred for efficient proliferation of pluripotent stem cells. However, strong oxygen limitation, especially inside of cell aggregates, can lead to cell starvation and death. In this research, the oxygen concentration profile inside of stem cell aggregates in a stem cell expansion process was predicted using a modified oxygen diffusion model. This profile can be realized during the stem cells cultivation process by manipulating the oxygen concentration in inlet gas or inlet gas flow. The proposed approach is relatively simple and may be attractive for installation in a real pluripotent stem cell expansion processes.
Microbiological Analysis, Cytotoxic and Genotoxic Effects from Material Captured in PM2.5 and PM10 Filters Used in the Aburrá Valley Air Quality Monitoring Network (Colombia)
This study aims to evaluate the diversity of microorganisms in filters PM2.5 and PM10; and determine the genotoxic and cytotoxic activity of the complex mixture present in PM2.5 filters used in the Aburrá Valley Air Quality Monitoring Network (Colombia). The research results indicate that particulate matter PM2.5 of different monitoring stations are bacteria; however, this study of detection of bacteria and their phylogenetic relationship is not complete evidence to connect the microorganisms with pathogenic or degrading activities of compounds present in the air. Additionally, it was demonstrated the damage induced by the particulate material in the cell membrane, lysosomal and endosomal membrane and in the mitochondrial metabolism; this damage was independent of the PM2.5 concentrations in almost all the cases.
Antimicrobial, Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Activities of Cleoma viscosa Linn. Crude Extracts
The bioactivity studies from the weed ethanolic crude extracts from leaf, stem, pod and root of wild spider flower; Cleoma viscosa Linn. were analyzed for the growth inhibition of 6 bacterial species; Salmonella typhimurium TISTR 5562, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853, Staphylococcus aureus TISTR 1466, Streptococcus epidermidis ATCC 1228, Escherichia coli DMST 4212 and Bacillus subtilis ATCC 6633 with initial concentration crude extract of 50 mg/ml. The agar well diffusion results found that the extracts inhibit only gram positive bacteria species; S. aureus, S. epidermidis and B. subtilis. The minimum inhibition concentration study with gram positive strains revealed that leaf crude extract give the best result of the lowest concentration compared with other plant parts to inhibit the growth of S. aureus, S. epidermidis and B. subtilis at 0.78, 0.39 and lower than 0.39 mg/ml, respectively. The determination of total phenolic compounds in the crude extracts exhibited the highest phenolic content was 10.41 mg GAE/g dry weight in leaf crude extract. Analyzed the efficacy of free radical scavenging by using DPPH radical scavenging assay with all crude extracts showed value of IC50 of leaf, stem, pod and root crude extracts were 8.32, 12.26, 21.62 and 35.99 mg/ml, respectively. Studied cytotoxicity of crude extracts on human breast adenocarcinoma cell line by MTT assay found that pod extract had the most cytotoxicity CC50 value, 32.41 µg/ml. Antioxidant activity and cytotoxicity of crude extracts exhibited that the more increase of extract concentration, the more activities indicated. According to the bioactivities results, the leaf crude extract of Cleoma viscosa Linn. is the most interesting plant part for further work to search the beneficial of this weed.
Ethyl Methane Sulfonate-Induced Dunaliella salina KU11 Mutants Affected for Growth Rate, Cell Accumulation and Biomass

Dunaliella salina has great potential as a system for generating commercially valuable products, including beta-carotene, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels. Our goal is to improve this potential by enhancing growth rate and other properties of D. salina under optimal growth conditions. We used ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) to generate random mutants in D. salina KU11, a strain classified in Thailand. In a preliminary experiment, we first treated D. salina cells with 0%, 0.8%, 1.0%, 1.2%, 1.44% and 1.66% EMS to generate a killing curve. After that, we randomly picked 30 candidates from approximately 300 isolated survivor colonies from the 1.44% EMS treatment (which permitted 30% survival) as an initial test of the mutant screen. Among the 30 survivor lines, we found that 2 strains (mutant #17 and #24) had significantly improved growth rates and cell number accumulation at stationary phase approximately up to 1.8 and 1.45 fold, respectively, 2 strains (mutant #6 and #23) had significantly decreased growth rates and cell number accumulation at stationary phase approximately down to 1.4 and 1.35 fold, respectively, while 26 of 30 lines had similar growth rates compared with the wild type control. We also analyzed cell size for each strain and found there was no significant difference comparing all mutants with the wild type. In addition, mutant #24 had shown an increase of biomass accumulation approximately 1.65 fold compared with the wild type strain on day 5 that was entering early stationary phase. From these preliminary results, it could be feasible to identify D. salina mutants with significant improved growth rate, cell accumulation and biomass production compared to the wild type for the further study; this makes it possible to improve this microorganism as a platform for biotechnology application.

Genetic Diversity Based Population Study of Freshwater Mud Eel (Monopterus cuchia) in Bangladesh

As genetic diversity is most important for existing, breeding and production of any fish; this study was undertaken for investigating genetic diversity of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia at population level where three ecological populations such as flooded area of Sylhet (P1), open water of Moulvibazar (P2) and open water of Sunamganj (P3) districts of Bangladesh were considered. Four arbitrary RAPD primers (OPB-12, C0-4, B-03 and OPB-08) were screened and RAPD banding patterns were analyzed among the populations considering 15 individuals of each population. In total 174, 138 and 149 bands were detected in the populations of P1, P2 and P3 respectively; however, each primer revealed less number of bands in each population. 100% polymorphic loci were recorded in P2 and P3 whereas only one monomorphic locus was observed in P1, recorded 97.5% polymorphism. Different genetic parameters such as inter-individual pairwise similarity, genetic distance, Nei genetic similarity, linkage distances, cluster analysis and allelic information, etc. were considered for measuring genetic diversity. The average inter-individual pairwise similarity was recorded 2.98, 1.47 and 1.35 in P1, P2 and P3 respectively. Considering genetic distance analysis, the highest distance 1 was recorded in P2 and P3 and the lowest genetic distance 0.444 was found in P2. The average Nei genetic similarity was observed 0.19, 0.16 and 0.13 in P1, P2 and P3, respectively; however, the average linkage distance was recorded 24.92, 17.14 and 15.28 in P1, P3 and P2 respectively. Based on linkage distance, genetic clusters were generated in three populations where 6 clades and 7 clusters were found in P1, 3 clades and 5 clusters were observed in P2 and 4 clades and 7 clusters were detected in P3. In addition, allelic information was observed where the frequency of p and q alleles were observed 0.093 and 0.907 in P1, 0.076 and 0.924 in P2, 0.074 and 0.926 in P3 respectively. The average gene diversity was observed highest in P2 (0.132) followed by P3 (0.131) and P1 (0.121) respectively.

Carvacrol Attenuates Lung Injury in Rats with Severe Acute Pancreatitis
This study was designed to evaluate whether carvacrol (CAR) could provide protection against lung injury by acute pancreatitis development. The rats were randomized into groups to receive (I) no therapy; (II) 50 μg/kg cerulein at 1h intervals by four intraperitoneal injections (i.p.); (III) 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg CAR by one i.p.; and (IV) cerulein+CAR after 2h of cerulein injection. 12h later, serum samples were obtained to assess pancreatic function the lipase and amylase values. The animals were euthanized and lung samples were excised. The specimens were stained with hematoxylin-eosin (H&E), periodic acid–Schif (PAS), Mallory's trichrome and amyloid. Additionally, oxidative DNA damage was determined by measuring as increases in 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG) adducts. The results showed that the serum activity of lipase and amylase in AP rats were significantly reduced after the therapy (p<0.05). We also found that the 100 mg/kg dose of CAR significantly decreased 8-OH-dG levels. Moreover, the severe pathological findings in the lung such as necrosis, inflammation, congestion, fibrosis, and thickened alveolar septum were attenuated in the AP+CAR groups when compared with AP group. Finally, the magnitude of the protective effect on lung is certain, and CAR is an effective therapy for lung injury caused by AP.
Environmental Efficacy on Heracleum persicum Essential Oils

Essential oils of Heracleum persicum (Apiaceae) have been widely used from many years ago, but the difference of its properties among different populations have not been identified up to now. Hydrodistilation Clevenger type was used to obtaining the fruit essential oils of four populations of H. persicum from different localities in Iran, then they were characterized by GC-FID and GC-MS analyses. Some ecological factors were also measured. The oils of four populations were compared to determine the similarities and differences and the relationships between these factors and ecological factors. Based on the result, 18-32 different components were identified in four populations, while the percentage of the main components was higher in population with lower number of components. According to the statistical analyses of chemical components and ecological factors, it can be concluded that some ecological factors such as altitude, less humidity, high difference between day and night temperature and salty soil would lead to lower number of components in essential oil, whereas they consist the higher percentage.

Production of Biocomposites Using Chars Obtained by Co-Pyrolysis of Olive Pomace with Plastic Wastes
The disposal of waste plastics has become a major worldwide environmental problem. Pyrolysis of waste plastics is one of the routes to waste minimization and recycling that has been gaining interest. In pyrolysis, the pyrolysed material is separated into gas, liquid (both are fuel) and solid (char) products. All fractions have utilities and economical value depending upon their characteristics. The first objective of this study is to determine the co-pyrolysis product fractions of waste HDPE- (high density polyethylene) and LDPE (low density polyethylene)-olive pomace (OP) and to determine the qualities of the solid product char. Chars obtained at 700 °C pyrolysis were used in biocomposite preparation as additive. As the second objective, the effects of char on biocomposite quality were investigated. Pyrolysis runs were performed at temperature 700 °C with heating rates of 5 °C/min. Biocomposites were prepared by mixing of chars with bisphenol-F type epoxy resin in various wt%. Biocomposite properties were determined by measuring electrical conductivity, surface hardness, Young’s modulus and tensile strength of the composites. The best electrical conductivity results were obtained with HDPE-OP char. For HDPE-OP char and LDPE-OP char, compared to neat epoxy, the tensile strength values of the composites increased by 102% and 78%, respectively, at 10% char dose. The hardness measurements showed similar results to the tensile tests, since there is a correlation between the hardness and the tensile strength.
Experimental Investigation of the Impact of Biosurfactants on Residual-Oil Recovery
The increasing high price of natural gas and oil with attendant increase in energy demand on world markets in recent years has stimulated interest in recovering residual oil saturation across the globe. In order to meet the energy security, efforts have been made in developing new technologies of enhancing the recovery of oil and gas, utilizing techniques like CO2 flooding, water injection, hydraulic fracturing, surfactant flooding etc. Surfactant flooding however optimizes production but poses risk to the environment due to their toxic nature. Amongst proven records that have utilized other type of bacterial in producing biosurfactants for enhancing oil recovery, this research uses a technique to combine biosurfactants that will achieve a scale of EOR through lowering interfacial tension/contact angle. In this study, three biosurfactants were produced from three Bacillus species from freeze dried cultures using sucrose 3 % (w/v) as their carbon source. Two of these produced biosurfactants were screened with the TEMCO Pendant Drop Image Analysis for reduction in IFT and contact angle. Interfacial tension was greatly reduced from 56.95 mN.m-1 to 1.41 mN.m-1 when biosurfactants in cell-free culture (Bacillus licheniformis) were used compared to 4. 83mN.m-1 cell-free culture of Bacillus subtilis. As a result, cell-free culture of (Bacillus licheniformis) changes the wettability of the biosurfactant treatment for contact angle measurement to more water-wet as the angle decreased from 130.75o to 65.17o. The influence of microbial treatment on crushed rock samples was also observed by qualitative wettability experiments. Treated samples with biosurfactants remained in the aqueous phase, indicating a water-wet system. These results could prove that biosurfactants can effectively change the chemistry of the wetting conditions against diverse surfaces, providing a desirable condition for efficient oil transport in this way serving as a mechanism for EOR. The environmental friendly effect of biosurfactants applications for industrial purposes play important advantages over chemically synthesized surfactants, with various possible structures, low toxicity, eco-friendly and biodegradability.
Assessing Storage of Stability and Mercury Reduction of Freeze-Dried Pseudomonas putida within Different Types of Lyoprotectant

Pseudomonas putida is a potential strain in biological treatment to remove mercury contained in the effluent of petrochemical industry due to its mercury reductase enzyme that able to reduce ionic mercury to elementary mercury. Freeze-dried P. putida allows easy, inexpensive shipping, handling and high stability of the product. This study was aimed to freeze dry P. putida cells with addition of lyoprotectant. Lyoprotectant was added into the cells suspension prior to freezing. Dried P. putida obtained was then mixed with synthetic mercury. Viability of recovery P. putida after freeze dry was significantly influenced by the type of lyoprotectant. Among the lyoprotectants, tween 80/ sucrose was found to be the best lyoprotectant. Sucrose able to recover more than 78% (6.2E+09 CFU/ml) of the original cells (7.90E+09CFU/ml) after freeze dry and able to retain 5.40E+05 viable cells after 4 weeks storage in 4oC without vacuum. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) pre-treated freeze dry cells and broth pre-treated freeze dry cells after freeze-dry recovered more than 64% (5.0 E+09CFU/ml) and >0.1% (5.60E+07CFU/ml). Freeze-dried P. putida cells in PEG and broth cannot survive after 4 weeks storage. Freeze dry also does not really change the pattern of growth P. putida but extension of lag time was found 1 hour after 3 weeks of storage. Additional time was required for freeze-dried P. putida cells to recover before introduce freeze-dried cells to more complicated condition such as mercury solution. The maximum mercury reduction of PEG pre-treated freeze-dried cells after freeze dry and after storage 3 weeks was 56.78% and 17.91%. The maximum of mercury reduction of tween 80/sucrose pre-treated freeze-dried cells after freeze dry and after storage 3 weeks were 26.35% and 25.03%. Freeze dried P. putida was found to have lower mercury reduction compare to the fresh P. putida that has been growth in agar. Result from this study may be beneficial and useful as initial reference before commercialize freeze-dried P. putida.

DNA of Hibiscus sabdariffa Damaged by Radiation from 900 MHz GSM Antenna

The technology of mobile telephony has positively enhanced human life and reports on the bio safety of the radiation from their antennae have been contradictory, leading to serious litigations and violent protests by residents in several parts of the world. The crave for more information, as requested by WHO in order to resolve this issue, formed the basis for this study on the effect of the radiation from 900 MHz GSM antenna on the DNA of Hibiscus sabdariffa. Seeds of H. sabdariffa were raised in pots placed in three replicates at 100, 200, 300 and 400 metres from the GSM antennae in three selected test locations and a control where there was no GSM signal. Temperature (˚C) and the relative humidity (%) of study sites were measured for the period of study (24 weeks). Fresh young leaves were harvested from each plant at two, eight and twenty-four weeks after sowing and the DNA extracts were subjected to RAPD-PCR analyses. There were no significant differences between the weather conditions (temperature and relative humidity) in all the study locations. However, significant differences were observed in the intensities of radiations between the control (less than 0.02 V/m) and the test (0.40-1.01 V/m) locations. Data obtained showed that DNA of samples exposed to rays from GSM antenna had various levels of distortions, estimated at 91.67%. Distortions occurred in 58.33% of the samples between 2-8 weeks of exposure while 33.33% of the samples were distorted between 8-24 weeks exposure. Approximately 8.33% of the samples did not show distortions in DNA while 33.33% of the samples had their DNA damaged twice, both at 8 and at 24 weeks of exposure. The study showed that radiation from the 900 MHz GSM antenna is potent enough to cause distortions to DNA of H. sabdariffa even within 2-8 weeks of exposure. DNA damage was also independent of the distance from the antenna. These observations would qualify emissions from GSM mast as environmental hazard to the existence of plant biodiversities and all life forms in general. These results will trigger efforts to prevent further erosion of plant genetic resources which have been threatening food security and also the risks posed to living organisms, thereby making our environment very safe for our existence while we still continue to enjoy the benefits of the GSM technology.

Isolation and Molecular Identification of Two Fungal Strains Capable of Degrading Hydrocarbon Contaminants on Saudi Arabian Environment

In the vicinity of red sea about 15 fungi species were isolated from oil contaminated sites. On the basis of aptitude to degrade the crude oil and DCPIP assay, two fungal isolates were selected amongst 15 oil degrading strains. Analysis of ITS-1, ITS-2 and amplicon pyrosequencing studies of fungal diversity revealed that these strains belong to Penicillium and Aspergillus species. Two strains that proved to be the most efficient in degrading crude oil was Aspergillus niger (54%) and Penicillium commune (48%) Subsequent to two weeks of cultivation in BHS medium the degradation rate were recorded by using spectrophotometer and GC-MS. Hence, it is cleared that these fungal strains has capability of degradation and can be utilize for cleaning the Saudi Arabian environment.

Comparison of the Effects of Continuous Flow Microwave Pre-treatment with Different Intensities on the Anaerobic Digestion of Sewage Sludge for Sustainable Energy Recovery from Sewage Treatment Plant

Anaerobic digestion is a well-known technique for sustainable energy recovery from sewage sludge. However, sewage sludge digestion is restricted due to certain factors. Pre-treatment methods have been established in various publications as a promising technique to improve the digestibility of the sewage sludge and to enhance the biogas generated which can be used for energy recovery. In this study, continuous flow microwave (MW) pre-treatment with different intensities were compared by using 5 L semi-continuous digesters at a hydraulic retention time of 27 days. We focused on the effects of MW at different intensities on the sludge solubilization, sludge digestibility, and biogas production of the untreated and MW pre-treated sludge. The MW pre-treatment demonstrated an increase in the ratio of soluble chemical oxygen demand to total chemical oxygen demand (sCOD/tCOD) and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration. Besides that, the total volatile solid (TVS) removal efficiency and tCOD removal efficiency also increased during the digestion of the MW pre-treated sewage sludge compared to the untreated sewage sludge. Furthermore, the biogas yield also subsequently increases due to the pre-treatment effect. A higher MW power level and irradiation time generally enhanced the biogas generation which has potential for sustainable energy recovery from sewage treatment plant. However, the net energy balance tabulation shows that the MW pre-treatment leads to negative net energy production.

In vitro Susceptibility of Madurella mycetomatis to the Extracts of Anogeissus leiocarpus Leaves

Anogeissus leiocarpus (Combretaceae) is well known for its medicinal uses in African traditional medicine, for treating many human diseases mainly skin diseases and infections. Mycetoma disease is a fungal and/ or bacterial skininfection, mainly cause by Madurella mycetomatis fungus. This study was carried out in vitro to investigate the antifungal activity of Anogeissus leiocarpus leaf extracts against the isolated pathogenic Madurella mycetomatis, by using the NCCLS modified method compared to Ketoconazole standard drug, and MTT assay. The bioactive fraction was subjected to chemical analysis implementing different chromatographic analytical methods (TLC, HPLC, and LC-MS/MS). The results showed significance antifungal activity of A. leiocarpus leaf extracts against the isolated pathogenic M. mycetomatis, compared to negative and positive controls. The chloroform fraction showed the highest antifungal activity. The chromatographic analysis of the chloroform fraction with the highest activity showed the presence of important bioactive compounds such as ellagic and flavellagic acids derivatives, flavonoids and stilbenoid, which are well known for their antifungal activity.

Chemical Characterization and Prebiotic Effect of Water-Soluble Polysaccharides from Zizyphus lotus Leaves
In order to investigate the prebiotic potential of oligosaccharides prepared by chemical hydrolysis of water-soluble polysaccharides (WSP) from Zizyphus lotus leaves, the effect of oligosaccharides on bacterial growth was studied. The chemical composition of WSP was evaluated by colorimetric assays revealed the average values: 7.05±0.73% proteins and 86.21±0.74% carbohydrates, among them 64.81±0.42% is neutral sugar and the rest 16.25±1.62% is uronic acids. The characterization of monosaccharides was determined by high performance anion exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) was found to be composed of galactose (23.95%), glucose (21.30%), rhamnose (20.28%), arabinose (9.55%), and glucuronic acid (22.95%). The effects of oligosaccharides on the growth of lactic acid bacteria were compared with those of fructooligosaccharide (RP95). The oligosaccharides concentration was 1g/L of Man, Rogosa, Sharpe broth. Bacterial growth was assessed during 2, 4.5, 6.5, 9, 12, 16 and 24 h by measuring the optical density of the cultures at 600 nm (OD600) and pH values. During fermentation, pH in broth cultures decreased from 6.7 to 5.87±0.15. The enumeration of lactic acid bacteria indicated that oligosaccharides led to a significant increase in bacteria (P≤0.05) compared to the control. The fermentative metabolism appeared to be faster on RP95 than on oligosaccharides from Zizyphus lotus leaves. Both RP95 and oligosaccharides showed clear prebiotic effects, but had differences in fermentation kinetics because of to the different degree of polymerization. This study shows the prebiotic effectiveness of oligosaccharides, and provides proof for the selection of leaves of Zizyphus lotus for use as functional food ingredients.
Understanding and Predicting Foam in Anaerobic Digester

As a result of the ambiguity and complexity surrounding anaerobic digester foaming, efforts have been made by various researchers to understand the process of anaerobic digester foaming so as to proffer a solution that can be universally applied rather than site specific. All attempts ranging from experimental analysis to comparative review of other process has not fully explained the conditions and process of foaming in anaerobic digester. Studying the current available knowledge on foam formation and relating it to anaerobic digester process and operating condition, this piece of work presents a succinct and enhanced understanding of foaming in anaerobic digesters as well as introducing a simple method to identify the onset of anaerobic digester foaming based on analysis of historical data from a field scale system.

Essential Micronutrient Biofortification of Sprouts Grown on Mineral Fortified Fiber Mats
Diets high in processed foods have been found to lack essential micro-nutrients for optimum human development and overall health. Some micro-nutrients such as copper (Cu) have been found to enhance the inflammatory response through its oxidative functions, thereby having a role in cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and related complications. This research study was designed to determine if food crops could be bio-fortified with micro-nutrients by growing sprouts on mineral fortified fiber mats. In the feasibility study described in this contribution, recycled cellulose fibers and clay, saturated with either micro-nutrient copper ions or copper nanoparticles, were converted to a novel mineral-cellulose fiber carrier of essential micro-nutrient and of antimicrobial properties. Seeds of Medicago sativa (alfalfa), purchased from a commercial, organic supplier were germinated on engineered cellulose fiber mats. After the appearance of the first leaves, the sprouts were dehydrated and analyzed for Cu content. Nutrient analysis showed ~2 increase in Cu of the sprouts grown on the fiber mats with copper particles, and ~4 increase on mats with ionic copper as compared to the control samples. This study illustrates the potential for the use of engineered mats as a viable way to increase the micro-nutrient composition of locally-grown food crops and the need for additional research to determine the uptake, nutritional implications and risks of micro-nutrient bio-fortification.
Bioconversion of Oranges Wastes for Pectinase Production Using Aspergillus niger under Solid State Fermentation

The influence of cultivation factors such as content of ammonium sulfate, glucose and water in the culture medium and particle size of dry orange waste, on their bioconversion for pectinase production was studied using complete factorial design. A polygalacturonase (PG) was isolated using ion exchange chromatography under gradient elution 0-0,5 m/l NaCl (column equilibrate with acetate buffer pH 4,5), subsequently by sephadex G75 column chromatography was applied and the molecular weight was obtained about 51,28 KDa. Purified PG enzyme exhibits a pH and temperature optima of activity at 5 and 35°C respectively. Treatment of apple juice by purified enzyme extract yielded a clear juice, which was competitive with juice yielded by pure Sigma Aldrich Aspergillus niger enzyme.

Potential of γ-Polyglutamic Acid for Cadmium Toxicity Alleviation in Rice
Cadmium (II) (Cd) is one of the major toxic elemental pollutants, which is hazardous for humans, animals and plants. γ- Polyglutamic acid (γ-PGA) is an extracellular biopolymer produced by several species of Bacillus which has been reported to be an effective biosorbent for metal ions. The effect of γ-PGA on growth of rice grown under laboratory conditions was investigated. Rice seeds were germinated and then grown at 30±1°C on filter paper soaked with Cd solution and γ-PGA for 7 days. The result showed that Cd significantly inhibited the growth of roots, shoots by reducing root, and shoot lengths. Fresh and dry weights also decreased compared with control; however, the addition of 500 mg·L-1 γ-PGA alleviated rice seedlings from the adverse effects of Cd. The analysis of physiological traits revealed that Cd caused a decrease in the total chlorophyll and soluble protein contents and amylase activities in all treatments. The Cd content in seedling tissues increased for the Cd 250 μM treatment (P
Selected Ethnomedicinal Plants of Northern Surigao Del Sur: Their Antioxidant Activities in Terms of Total Phenolics, ABTS Radical Cation Decolorization Power, and Ferric Reducing Ability
Plants can contain a wide variety of substances with antioxidative properties which are associated with important health benefits. These positive health effects are of great importance at a time when the environment is laden with many toxic substances. Five selected herbal plants namely, Mimosa pudica, Phyllanthus niruri, Ceiba pentandra, Eleusine polydactyla and Trema amboinensi, were chosen for the experiment to investigate their total phenolics content and antioxidant activities using ABTS radical cation decolorization power, and ferric reducing antioxidant power. The total phenolic content of each herbal plants ranges from 0.84 to 42.59 mg gallic acid equivalent/g. The antioxidant activity in the ABTS radical cation decolorization power varies from 0.005 to 0.362 mg trolox equivalent/g and the FRAP ranges from 0.30 to 28.42 mg gallic acid equivalent/g. Among the five medicinal plants, Mimosa pudica has been an excellent performer in terms of the 3 parameters measured; it is followed by Phyllanthus niruri. The 5 herbal plants do not have equivalent antioxidant power. The relative high values for M. pudica and P. niruri supports the medicinal value of both plants. The total phenolics, ABTS and FRAP correlate strongly with one another.
Continuum-Based Modelling Approaches for Cell Mechanics
The quantitative study of cell mechanics is of paramount interest, since it regulates the behaviour of the living cells in response to the myriad of extracellular and intracellular mechanical stimuli. The novel experimental techniques together with robust computational approaches have given rise to new theories and models, which describe cell mechanics as combination of biomechanical and biochemical processes. This review paper encapsulates the existing continuum-based computational approaches that have been developed for interpreting the mechanical responses of living cells under different loading and boundary conditions. The salient features and drawbacks of each model are discussed from both structural and biological points of view. This discussion can contribute to the development of even more precise and realistic computational models of cell mechanics based on continuum approaches or on their combination with microstructural approaches, which in turn may provide a better understanding of mechanotransduction in living cells.
Phytochemical Profiles and Antioxidant Activity of Selected Indigenous Vegetables in Northern Mindanao, Philippines

The crude methanol extracts of five indigenous vegetables namely, Amarathus tricolor, Basella rubra L., Chochurus olitorius L., Ipomea batatas, and Momordica chuchinensis L., were examined for their phytochemical profile and antioxidant activity using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical. The values for DPPH radical scavenging activity ranged from 7.6-89.53% with B. rubra and I. batatas having the lowest and highest values, respectively. The total flavonoid content of all five indigenous vegetables ranged from 74.65-277.3 mg quercetin equivalent per gram of dried vegetable material while the total phenolic content ranged from 1.93-6.15 mg gallic acid equivalent per gram dried material. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of steroids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, carbohydrates and reducing sugars, which may also be associated with the antioxidant activity shown by these indigenous vegetables.

Psyllium (Plantago) Gum as an Effective Edible Coating to Improve Quality and Shelf Life of Fresh-cut Papaya (Carica papaya)
Psyllium gum alone and in combination with sunflower oil was investigated as a possible alternative edible coating for improvement of quality and shelf life of fresh-cut papaya. Different concentrations including 0.5, 1 and 1.5 percent of psyllium gum were used for coating of fresh-cut papaya. In some samples, refined sunflower oil was used as a lipid component to increase the effectiveness of coating in terms of water barrier properties. Soya lecithin was used as an emulsifier in coatings containing oil. Pretreatment with 1% calcium chloride was given to maintain the firmness of fresh-cut papaya cubes. 1% psyllium gum coating was found to yield better results. Further, addition of oil helped to maintain the quality and acted as a barrier to water vapour, therefore, minimizing the weight loss.
Synchrony between Genetic Repressilators in Sister Cells in Different Temperatures
We used live E. coli containing synthetic genetic oscillators to study how the degree of synchrony between the genetic circuits of sister cells changes with temperature. We found that both the mean and the variability of the degree of synchrony between the fluorescence signals from sister cells are affected by temperature. Also, while most pairs of sister cells were found to be highly synchronous in each condition, the number of asynchronous pairs increased with increasing temperature, which was found to be due to disruptions in the oscillations. Finally we provide evidence that these disruptions tend to affect multiple generations as opposed to individual cells. These findings provide insight in how to design more robust synthetic circuits and in how cell division can affect their dynamics.
Vol:11 No:01 2017
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