Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 233

Biotechnology and Bioengineering

Synthesis of Highly Sensitive Molecular Imprinted Sensor for Selective Determination of Doxycycline in Honey Samples
Doxycycline (DXy) is a cycline antibiotic, most frequently prescribed to treat bacterial infections in veterinary medicine. However, its broad antimicrobial activity and low cost, lead to an intensive use, which can seriously affect human health. Therefore, its spread in the food products has to be monitored. The scope of this work was to synthetize a sensitive and very selective molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) for DXy detection in honey samples. Firstly, the synthesis of this biosensor was performed by casting a layer of carboxylate polyvinyl chloride (PVC-COOH) on the working surface of a gold screen-printed electrode (Au-SPE) in order to bind covalently the analyte under mild conditions. Secondly, DXy as a template molecule was bounded to the activated carboxylic groups, and the formation of MIP was performed by a biocompatible polymer by the mean of polyacrylamide matrix. Then, DXy was detected by measurements of differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). A non-imprinted polymer (NIP) prepared in the same conditions and without the use of template molecule was also performed. We have noticed that the elaborated biosensor exhibits a high sensitivity and a linear behavior between the regenerated current and the logarithmic concentrations of DXy from 0.1 pg.mL−1 to 1000 pg.mL−1. This technic was successfully applied to determine DXy residues in honey samples with a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.1 pg.mL−1 and an excellent selectivity when compared to the results of oxytetracycline (OXy) as analogous interfering compound. The proposed method is cheap, sensitive, selective, simple, and is applied successfully to detect DXy in honey with the recoveries of 87% and 95%. Considering these advantages, this system provides a further perspective for food quality control in industrial fields.
Green Synthesized Iron Oxide Nanoparticles: A Nano-Nutrient for the Growth and Enhancement of Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) Plant

Iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe2O3NPs) are widely used in different applications due to its ecofriendly nature and biocompatibility. Hence, in this investigation, biosynthesized Fe2O3NPs influence on flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) plant was examined. The biosynthesized nanoparticles were found to be cubic phase which is confirmed by XRD analysis. FTIR analysis confirmed the presence of functional groups corresponding to the iron oxide nanoparticle. The elemental analysis also confirmed that the obtained nanoparticle is iron oxide nanoparticle. The scanning electron microscopy and the transmission electron microscopy confirm that the average particle size was around 56 nm. The effect of Fe2O3NPs on seed germination followed by biochemical analysis was carried out using standard methods. The results obtained after four days and 11 days of seed vigor studies showed that the seedling length (cm), average number of seedling with leaves, increase in root length (cm) was found to be enhanced on treatment with iron oxide nanoparticles when compared to control. A positive correlation was noticed with the dose of the nanoparticle and plant growth, which may be due to changes in metabolic activity. Hence, to evaluate the change in metabolic activity, peroxidase and catalase activities were estimated. It was clear from the observation that higher concentration of iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe2O3NPs 1000 mg/L) has enhanced peroxidase and catalase activities and in turn plant growth. Thus, this study clearly showed that biosynthesized iron oxide nanoparticles will be an effective nano-nutrient for agriculture applications.

Valorization of Beer Brewing Wastes by Composting
The aim of this work was to study the viability of recycling the residual yeast and diatomaceous earth (RYDE) slurry generated by the beer brewing industry by composting with animal manures, as well as to evaluate the quality of the composts obtained. Two pilot composting trials were carried out with different mixes: cow manure/RYDE slurry (Pile CM) and sheep manure/RYDE slurry (Pile SM). For all piles, wood chips were applied as bulking agent. The process was monitored by evaluating standard physical and chemical parameters. The compost quality was assessed by the heavy metals content and phytotoxicity. Both piles reached a thermophilic phase in the first day, however having different trends. The pH showed a slight alkaline character. The C/N reached values lower than 19 at the end of composting process. Generally, all the piles exhibited absence of heavy metals. However, the pile SM exhibited phytotoxicity. This study showed that RYDE slurry can be valorized by composting with cow manure.
Extracellular Laccase Production by Co-culture between Galactomyces reesii IFO 10823 and Filamentous Fungal Strains Isolated from Fungus Comb Using Natural Inducer

Extracellular laccases are copper-containing microbial enzymes with many industrial biotechnological applications. This study evaluated the ability of nutrients in coconut coir to enhance the yield of extracellular laccase of Galactomyces reesii IFO 10823 and develop a co-culture between this yeast and other filamentous fungi isolated from the fungus comb of Macrotermes sp. The co-culture between G. reesii IFO 10823 and M. indicus FJ-M-5 (G3) gave the highest activity at 580.20 U/mL. When grown in fermentation media prepared from coconut coir and distilled water at 70% of initial moisture without supplement addition, G3 produced extracellular laccase of 113.99 U/mL.

Microbial Fuel Cells and Their Applications in Electricity Generating and Wastewater Treatment

This research is an experimental research which was done about microbial fuel cells in order to study them for electricity generating and wastewater treatment. These days, it is very important to find new, clean and sustainable ways for energy supplying. Because of this reason there are many researchers around the world who are studying about new and sustainable energies. There are different ways to produce these kind of energies like: solar cells, wind turbines, geothermal energy, fuel cells and many other ways. Fuel cells have different types one of these types is microbial fuel cell. In this research, an MFC was built in order to study how it can be used for electricity generating and wastewater treatment. The microbial fuel cell which was used in this research is a reactor that has two tanks with a catalyst solution. The chemical reaction in microbial fuel cells is a redox reaction. The microbial fuel cell in this research is a two chamber MFC. Anode chamber is an anaerobic one (ABR reactor) and the other chamber is a cathode chamber. Anode chamber consists of stabilized sludge which is the source of microorganisms that do redox reaction. The main microorganisms here are: Propionibacterium and Clostridium. The electrodes of anode chamber are graphite pages. Cathode chamber consists of graphite page electrodes and catalysts like: O2, KMnO4 and C6N6FeK4. The membrane which separates the chambers is Nafion117. The reason of choosing this membrane is explained in the complete paper. The main goal of this research is to generate electricity and treating wastewater. It was found that when you use electron receptor compounds like: O2, MnO4, C6N6FeK4 the velocity of electron receiving speeds up and in a less time more current will be achieved. It was found that the best compounds for this purpose are compounds which have iron in their chemical formula. It is also important to pay attention to the amount of nutrients which enters to bacteria chamber. By adding extra nutrients in some cases the result will be reverse.  By using ABR the amount of chemical oxidation demand reduces per day till it arrives to a stable amount.

Beijerinckia indica Extracellular Extract Mediated Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles with Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activities against Clinical Pathogens

This work investigated the use of Beijerinckia indica extracellular extract for the synthesis of silver nanoparticles using AgNO3. The formation of nanoparticles was confirmed by different methods, such as UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy, XRD, FTIR, EDX, and TEM analysis. The formation of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was confirmed by the change in color from light yellow to dark brown. The absorbance peak obtained at 430 nm confirmed the presence of silver nanoparticles. The XRD analysis showed the cubic crystalline phase of the synthesized nanoparticles. FTIR revealed the presence of groups that acts as stabilizing and reducing agents for silver nanoparticles formation. The synthesized silver nanoparticles were generally found to be spherical in shape with size ranging from 5 to 20 nm, as evident by TEM analysis. These nanoparticles were found to inhibit pathogenic bacterial strains. This work proved that the bacterial extract is a potential eco-friendly candidate for the synthesis of silver nanoparticles with promising antibacterial and antioxidant properties. 

Processing and Economic Analysis of Rain Tree (Samanea saman) Pods for Village Level Hydrous Bioethanol Production

Biofuel is one of the renewable energy sources adapted by the Philippine government in order to lessen the dependency on foreign fuel and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Rain tree pods were seen to be a promising source of bioethanol since it contains significant amount of fermentable sugars. The study was conducted to establish the complete procedure in processing rain tree pods for village level hydrous bioethanol production. Production processes were done for village level hydrous bioethanol production from collection, drying, storage, shredding, dilution, extraction, fermentation, and distillation. The feedstock was sundried, and moisture content was determined at a range of 20% to 26% prior to storage. Dilution ratio was 1:1.25 (1 kg of pods = 1.25 L of water) and after extraction process yielded a sugar concentration of 22 0Bx to 24 0Bx. The dilution period was three hours. After three hours of diluting the samples, the juice was extracted using extractor with a capacity of 64.10 L/hour. 150 L of rain tree pods juice was extracted and subjected to fermentation process using a village level anaerobic bioreactor. Fermentation with yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) can fasten up the process, thus producing more ethanol at a shorter period of time; however, without yeast fermentation, it also produces ethanol at lower volume with slower fermentation process. Distillation of 150 L of fermented broth was done for six hours at 85 °C to 95 °C temperature (feedstock) and 74 °C to 95 °C temperature of the column head (vapor state of ethanol). The highest volume of ethanol recovered was established at with yeast fermentation at five-day duration with a value of 14.89 L and lowest actual ethanol content was found at without yeast fermentation at three-day duration having a value of 11.63 L. In general, the results suggested that rain tree pods had a very good potential as feedstock for bioethanol production. Fermentation of rain tree pods juice can be done with yeast and without yeast.

The Contribution of the PCR-Enzymatic Digestion in the Positive Diagnosis of Proximal Spinal Muscular Atrophy in the Moroccan Population
The proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a group of neuromuscular disorders characterized by progressive muscle weakness due to the degeneration and loss of anterior motor neurons of the spinal cord. Depending on the age of onset of symptoms and their evolution, four types of SMA, varying in severity, result in a mutations of the SMN gene (survival of Motor neuron). We have analyzed the DNA of 295 patients referred to our genetic counseling; since January 1996 until October 2014; for suspected SMA. The homozygous deletion of exon 7 of the SMN gene was found in 133 patients; of which, 40.6% were born to consanguineous parents. In countries like Morocco, where the frequency of heterozygotes for SMA is high, genetic testing should be offered as first-line and, after careful clinical assessment, especially in newborns and infants with congenital hypotonia unexplained and prognosis compromise. The molecular diagnosis of SMA allows a quick and certainly diagnosis, provide adequate genetic counseling for families at risk and suggest, for couples who want prenatal diagnosis. The analysis of the SMN gene is a perfect example of genetic testing with an excellent cost/benefit ratio that can be of great interest in public health, especially in low-income countries. We emphasize in this work for the benefit of the generalization of molecular diagnosis of SMA by the technique of PCR-enzymatic digestion in other centers in Morocco.
Cadmium Filter Cake of a Hydrometallurgical Zinc Smelter as a New Source for the Biological Synthesis of CdS Quantum Dots
The cadmium sulfide nanoparticles were synthesized from the nickel-cadmium cake of a hydrometallurgical zinc producing plant and sodium sulfide as Cd2+ and S-2 sources, respectively. Also, the synthesis process was performed by using the secretions of Bacillus licheniformis as bio-surfactant. Initially, in order to obtain a cadmium rich solution, two following steps were carried out: 1) Alkaline leaching for the removal of zinc oxide from the cake, and 2) acidic leaching to dissolve cadmium from the remained solid residue. Afterward, the obtained CdSO4 solution was used for the nanoparticle biosynthesis. Nanoparticles were characterized by the energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to confirm the formation of CdS crystals with cubic structure. Also, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was applied to determine the particle sizes which were in 2-10 nm range. Moreover, the presence of the protein containing bio-surfactants was approved by using infrared analysis (FTIR). In addition, the absorbance below 400 nm confirms quantum particles’ size. Finally, it was shown that valuable CdS quantum dots could be obtained from the industrial waste products via environment-friendly biological approaches.
The Effect of Impact on the Knee Joint Due to the Shocks during Double Impact Phase of Gait Cycle
The major contributor to the human locomotion is the knee flexion and extension. During heel strike, a huge amount of energy is transmitted through the leg towards knee joint, which in fact is damped at heel and leg muscles. During high shocks, although it is damped to a certain extent, the balance force transmits towards knee joint which could damage the knee. Due to the vital function of the knee joint, it should be protected against damage due to additional load acting on it. This work concentrates on the development of spring mass damper system which exactly replicates the stiffness at the heel and muscles and the objective function is optimized to minimize the force acting at the knee joint. Further, the data collected using force plate are put into the model to verify its integrity and are found to be in good agreement.
Biogas Control: Methane Production Monitoring Using Arduino
Extracting energy from biomass is an important alternative to produce different types of energy (heat, electricity, or both) assuring low pollution and better efficiency. It is a new yet reliable approach to reduce green gas emission by extracting methane from industry effluents and use it to power machinery. We focused in our project on using paper and mill effluents, treated in a UASB reactor. The methane produced is used in the factory’s power supply. The aim of this work is to develop an electronic system using Arduino platform connected to a gas sensor, to measure and display the curve of daily methane production on processing. The sensor will send the gas values in ppm to the Arduino board so that the later sends the RS232 hardware protocol. The code developed with processing will transform the values into a curve and display it on the computer screen.
Biosynthesis of Silver-Phosphate Nanoparticles Using the Extracellular Polymeric Substance of Sporosarcina pasteurii
Silver ions (Ag+) and their compounds are consequentially toxic to microorganisms, showing biocidal effects on many species of bacteria. Silver-phosphate (or silver orthophosphate) is one of these compounds, which is famous for its antimicrobial effect and catalysis application. In the present study, a green method was presented to synthesis silver-phosphate nanoparticles using Sporosarcina pasteurii. The composition of the biosynthesized nanoparticles was identified as Ag3PO4 using X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS). Also, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy showed that Ag3PO4 nanoparticles was synthesized in the presence of biosurfactants, enzymes, and proteins. In addition, UV-Vis adsorption of the produced colloidal suspension approved the results of XRD and FTIR analyses. Finally, Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) images indicated that the size of the nanoparticles was about 20 nm.
Aerobic Bioprocess Control Using Artificial Intelligence Techniques
This paper deals with the design of an intelligent control structure for a bioprocess of Hansenula polymorpha yeast cultivation. The objective of the process control is to produce biomass in a desired physiological state. The work demonstrates that the designed Hybrid Control Techniques (HCT) are able to recognize specific evolution bioprocess trajectories using neural networks trained specifically for this purpose, in order to estimate the model parameters and to adjust the overall bioprocess evolution through an expert system and a fuzzy structure. The design of the control algorithm as well as its tuning through realistic simulations is presented. Taking into consideration the synergism of different paradigms like fuzzy logic, neural network, and symbolic artificial intelligence (AI), in this paper we present a real and fulfilled intelligent control architecture with application in bioprocess control.
Thermodynamic Analyses of Information Dissipation along the Passive Dendritic Trees and Active Action Potential

Brain information transmission in the neuronal network occurs in the form of electrical signals. Neural work transmits information between the neurons or neurons and target cells by moving charged particles in a voltage field; a fraction of the energy utilized in this process is dissipated via entropy generation. Exergy loss and entropy generation models demonstrate the inefficiencies of the communication along the dendritic trees. In this study, neurons of 4 different animals were analyzed with one dimensional cable model with N=6 identical dendritic trees and M=3 order of symmetrical branching. Each branch symmetrically bifurcates in accordance with the 3/2 power law in an infinitely long cylinder with the usual core conductor assumptions, where membrane potential is conserved in the core conductor at all branching points. In the model, exergy loss and entropy generation rates are calculated for each branch of equivalent cylinders of electrotonic length (L) ranging from 0.1 to 1.5 for four different dendritic branches, input branch (BI), and sister branch (BS) and two cousin branches (BC-1 & BC-2). Thermodynamic analysis with the data coming from two different cat motoneuron studies show that in both experiments nearly the same amount of exergy is lost while generating nearly the same amount of entropy. Guinea pig vagal motoneuron loses twofold more exergy compared to the cat models and the squid exergy loss and entropy generation were nearly tenfold compared to the guinea pig vagal motoneuron model. Thermodynamic analysis show that the dissipated energy in the dendritic tress is directly proportional with the electrotonic length, exergy loss and entropy generation. Entropy generation and exergy loss show variability not only between the vertebrate and invertebrates but also within the same class. Concurrently, single action potential Na+ ion load, metabolic energy utilization and its thermodynamic aspect contributed for squid giant axon and mammalian motoneuron model. Energy demand is supplied to the neurons in the form of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Exergy destruction and entropy generation upon ATP hydrolysis are calculated. ATP utilization, exergy destruction and entropy generation showed differences in each model depending on the variations in the ion transport along the channels.

Decolorization and Phenol Removal of Palm Oil Mill Effluent by Termite-Associated Yeast
A huge of dark color palm oil mill effluent (POME) cannot pass the discharge standard. It has been identified as the major contributor to the pollution load into ground water. Here, lignin-degrading yeast isolated from a termite nest was tested to treat the POME. Its lignin-degrading and decolorizing ability was determined. The result illustrated that Galactomyces sp. was successfully grown in POME. The decolorizing test demonstrated that 40% of Galactomyces sp. could reduce the color of POME (50% v/v) about 74-75% in 5 days without nutrient supplement. The result suggested that G. reessii has a potential to apply for decolorizing the dark wastewater like POME and other industrial wastewaters.
Improving Utilization of Sugarcane by Replacing Ordinary Propagation Material with Small Chips of Sugarcane Planted in Paper Pots
Sugarcane is an important resource for bioenergy. Fields are usually established by using 15-20 cm pieces of sugarcane stalks as propagation material. An alternative method is to use small chips with nodes from sugarcane stalks. Plants from nodes are often established in plastic pots, but plastic pots could be replaced with biodegradable paper pots. This would be a more sustainable solution, reducing labor costs and avoiding pollution with plastic. We compared the establishment of plants from nodes taken from three different part of the sugarcane plant. The nodes were planted in plastic and paper pots. There was no significant difference between plants established in the two pot types. Nodes from different part of the stalk had different sprouting capacity. Nodes from the top parts sprouted significantly better than nodes taken from the middle or nodes taken closed to the ground in two experiments. Nodes with a length of 3 cm performed better than nodes with a length of 2 cm.
Biomolecules Based Microarray for Screening Human Endothelial Cells Behavior

Endothelial Progenitor Cell (EPC) based therapies continue to be of interest to treat ischemic events based on their proven role to promote blood vessel formation and thus tissue re-vascularisation. Current strategies for the production of clinical-grade EPCs requires the in vitro isolation of EPCs from peripheral blood followed by cell expansion to provide sufficient quantities EPCs for cell therapy. This study aims to examine the use of different biomolecules to significantly improve the current strategy of EPC capture and expansion on collagen type I (Col I). In this study, four different biomolecules were immobilised on a surface and then investigated for their capacity to support EPC capture and proliferation. First, a cell microarray platform was fabricated by coating a glass surface with epoxy functional allyl glycidyl ether plasma polymer (AGEpp) to mediate biomolecule binding. The four candidate biomolecules tested were Col I, collagen type II (Col II), collagen type IV (Col IV) and vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), which were arrayed on the epoxy-functionalised surface using a non-contact printer. The surrounding area between the printed biomolecules was passivated with polyethylene glycol-bisamine (A-PEG) to prevent non-specific cell attachment. EPCs were seeded onto the microarray platform and cell numbers quantified after 1 h (to determine capture) and 72 h (to determine proliferation). All of the extracellular matrix (ECM) biomolecules printed demonstrated an ability to capture EPCs within 1 h of cell seeding with Col II exhibiting the highest level of attachment when compared to the other biomolecules. Interestingly, Col IV exhibited the highest increase in EPC expansion after 72 h when compared to Col I, Col II and VEGF-A. These results provide information for significant improvement in the capture and expansion of human EPC for further application.

Amplified Ribosomal DNA Restriction Analysis Method to Assess Rumen Microbial Diversity of Ruminant

Rumen degradation characteristic of feedstuff is one of the prominent factors affecting microbial population in rumen of animal. High rumen degradation rate of faba bean protein may lead to inconstant rumen conditions that could have a prominent impact on rumen microbial diversity. Amplified Ribosomal DNA Restriction Analysis (ARDRA) is utilized to monitor diversity of rumen microbes on sheep fed low quality forage supplemented by faba beans. Four mature merino sheep with existing rumen cannula were used in this study according to 4 x 4 Latin square design. The results of study indicated that there were 37 different ARDRA types identified out of 136 clones examined. Among those clones, five main clone types existed across the treatments with different percentages. In conclusion, the ARDRA method is potential to be used as a routine tool to assess the temporary changes in the rumen community as a result of different feeding strategies.

Stimulation of Stevioside Accumulation on Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Shoot Culture Induced with Red LED Light in TIS RITA® Bioreactor System

Leaves of Stevia rebaudiana contain steviol glycoside which mainly comprise of stevioside, a natural sweetener compound that is 100-300 times sweeter than sucrose. Current cultivation method of Stevia rebaudiana in Indonesia has yet to reach its optimum efficiency and productivity to produce stevioside as a safe sugar substitute sweetener for people with diabetes. An alternative method that is not limited by environmental factor is in vitro temporary immersion system (TIS) culture method using recipient for automated immersion (RITA®) bioreactor. The aim of this research was to evaluate the effect of red LED light induction towards shoot growth and stevioside accumulation in TIS RITA® bioreactor system, as an endeavour to increase the secondary metabolite synthesis. The result showed that the stevioside accumulation in TIS RITA® bioreactor system induced with red LED light for one hour during night was higher than that in TIS RITA® bioreactor system without red LED light induction, i.e. 71.04 ± 5.36 μg/g and 42.92 ± 5.40 μg/g respectively. Biomass growth rate reached as high as 0.072 ± 0.015/day for red LED light induced TIS RITA® bioreactor system, whereas TIS RITA® bioreactor system without induction was only 0.046 ± 0.003/day. Productivity of Stevia rebaudiana shoots induced with red LED light was 0.065 g/L medium/day, whilst shoots without any induction was 0.041 g/L medium/day. Sucrose, salt, and inorganic consumption in both bioreactor media increased as biomass increased. It can be concluded that Stevia rebaudiana shoot in TIS RITA® bioreactor induced with red LED light produces biomass and accumulates higher stevioside concentration, in comparison to bioreactor without any light induction.

Production and Purification of Monosaccharides by Hydrolysis of Sugar Cane Bagasse in an Ionic Liquid Medium

The conversion of lignocellulosic waste materials, such as sugar cane bagasse, to biofuels such as ethanol has attracted significant interest as a potential element for transforming transport fuel supplies to totally renewable sources. However, the refractory nature of the cellulosic structure of lignocellulosic materials has impeded progress on developing an economic process, whereby the cellulose component may be effectively broken down to glucose monosaccharides and then purified to allow downstream fermentation. Ionic liquid (IL) treatment of lignocellulosic biomass has been shown to disrupt the crystalline structure of cellulose thus potentially enabling the cellulose to be more readily hydrolysed to monosaccharides. Furthermore, conventional hydrolysis of lignocellulosic materials yields byproducts that are inhibitors for efficient fermentation of the monosaccharides. However, selective extraction of monosaccharides from an aqueous/IL phase into an organic phase utilizing a combination of boronic acids and quaternary amines has shown promise as a purification process. Hydrolysis of sugar cane bagasse immersed in an aqueous solution with IL (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate) was conducted at different pH and temperature below 100 ºC. It was found that the use of a high concentration of hydrochloric acid to acidify the solution inhibited the hydrolysis of bagasse. At high pH (i.e. basic conditions), using sodium hydroxide, catalyst yields were reduced for total reducing sugars (TRS) due to the rapid degradation of the sugars formed. For purification trials, a supported liquid membrane (SLM) apparatus was constructed, whereby a synthetic solution containing xylose and glucose in an aqueous IL phase was transported across a membrane impregnated with phenyl boronic acid/Aliquat 336 to an aqueous phase. The transport rate of xylose was generally higher than that of glucose indicating that a SLM scheme may not only be useful for purifying sugars from undesirable toxic compounds, but also for fractionating sugars to improve fermentation efficiency.

A Comparative Study on Biochar from Slow Pyrolysis of Corn Cob and Cassava Wastes

Biomass such as corn and cassava wastes if left to decay will release significant quantities of greenhouse gases (GHG) including carbon dioxide and methane. The biomass wastes can be converted into biochar via thermochemical process such as slow pyrolysis. This approach can reduce the biomass wastes as well as preserve its carbon content. Biochar has the potential to be used as a carbon sequester and soil amendment. The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of the corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome in order to identify their potential as pyrolysis feedstocks for biochar production. This was achieved by using the proximate and elemental analyses as well as calorific value and lignocellulosic determination. The second objective is to investigate the effect of pyrolysis temperature on the biochar produced. A fixed bed slow pyrolysis reactor was used to pyrolyze the corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome. The pyrolysis temperatures were varied between 400 °C and 600 °C, while the heating rate and the holding time were fixed at 5 °C/min and 1 hour, respectively. Corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome were found to be suitable feedstocks for pyrolysis process because they contained a high percentage of volatile matter more than 80 mf wt.%. All the three feedstocks contained low nitrogen and sulphur content less than 1 mf wt.%. Therefore, during the pyrolysis process, the feedstocks give off very low rate of GHG such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. Independent of the types of biomass, the percentage of biochar yield is inversely proportional to the pyrolysis temperature. The highest biochar yield for each studied temperature is from slow pyrolysis of cassava rhizome as the feedstock contained the highest percentage of ash compared to the other two feedstocks. The percentage of fixed carbon in all the biochars increased as the pyrolysis temperature increased. The increment of pyrolysis temperature from 400 °C to 600 °C increased the fixed carbon of corn cob biochar, cassava stem biochar and cassava rhizome biochar by 26.35%, 10.98%, and 6.20% respectively. Irrespective of the pyrolysis temperature, all the biochars produced were found to contain more than 60 mf wt.% fixed carbon content, much higher than its feedstocks.

From Primer Generation to Chromosome Identification: A Primer Generation Genotyping Method for Bacterial Identification and Typing

A challenge for laboratories is to provide bacterial identification and antibiotic sensitivity results within a short time. Hence, advancement in the required technology is desirable to improve timing, accuracy and quality. Even with the current advances in methods used for both phenotypic and genotypic identification of bacteria the need is there to develop method(s) that enhance the outcome of bacteriology laboratories in accuracy and time. The hypothesis introduced here is based on the assumption that the chromosome of any bacteria contains unique sequences that can be used for its identification and typing. The outcome of a pilot study designed to test this hypothesis is reported in this manuscript. Methods: The complete chromosome sequences of several bacterial species were downloaded to use as search targets for unique sequences. Visual basic and SQL server (2014) were used to generate a complete set of 18-base long primers, a process started with reverse translation of randomly chosen 6 amino acids to limit the number of the generated primers. In addition, the software used to scan the downloaded chromosomes using the generated primers for similarities was designed, and the resulting hits were classified according to the number of similar chromosomal sequences, i.e., unique or otherwise. Results: All primers that had identical/similar sequences in the selected genome sequence(s) were classified according to the number of hits in the chromosomes search. Those that were identical to a single site on a single bacterial chromosome were referred to as unique. On the other hand, most generated primers sequences were identical to multiple sites on a single or multiple chromosomes. Following scanning, the generated primers were classified based on ability to differentiate between medically important bacterial and the initial results looks promising. Conclusion: A simple strategy that started by generating primers was introduced; the primers were used to screen bacterial genomes for match. Primer(s) that were uniquely identical to specific DNA sequence on a specific bacterial chromosome were selected. The identified unique sequence can be used in different molecular diagnostic techniques, possibly to identify bacteria. In addition, a single primer that can identify multiple sites in a single chromosome can be exploited for region or genome identification. Although genomes sequences draft of isolates of organism DNA enable high throughput primer design using alignment strategy, and this enhances diagnostic performance in comparison to traditional molecular assays. In this method the generated primers can be used to identify an organism before the draft sequence is completed. In addition, the generated primers can be used to build a bank for easy access of the primers that can be used to identify bacteria.

Fatty Acid Extracts of Sea Pen (Virgularia gustaviana) and Their Potential Applications as Antibacterial, Antifungal, and Anti-Inflammatory Agents

In this study, the crude extracts of Virgularia gustavina were examined as antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory agent. To assess inflammation, Xylene was applied to the ear of mice. The mice of the experimental group were fed with doses of 10 mg/kg, 20 mg/kg, and 40 mg/kg of lipid extract of chloroform and hexane as a separate group and then statistical analysis was performed on the results. Chloroform and hexane extracts of sea pen have strong anti-inflammatory effects even at low doses which is probably due to 54% arachidonic acid. Antibacterial and antifungal effects of hexane and chloroform extracts were measured with MIC and MBC methods and it is shown that chloroform extract has best activity against Staphylococcus aureus on 125 µg/ml doze in MIC method.

Metabolomics Profile Recognition for Cancer Diagnostics
Metabolomics has become a rising field of research for various diseases, particularly cancer. Increases or decreases in metabolite concentrations in the human body are indicative of various cancers. Further elucidation of metabolic pathways and their significance in cancer research may greatly spur medicinal discovery. We analyzed the metabolomics profiles of lung cancer. Thirty-three metabolites were selected as significant. These metabolites are involved in 37 metabolic pathways delivered by MetaboAnalyst software. The top pathways are glyoxylate and dicarboxylate pathway (its hubs are formic acid and glyoxylic acid) along with Citrate cycle pathway followed by Taurine and hypotaurine pathway (the hubs in the latter are taurine and sulfoacetaldehyde) and Glycine, serine, and threonine pathway (the hubs are glycine and L-serine). We studied interactions of the metabolites with the proteins involved in cancer-related signaling networks, and developed an approach to metabolomics biomarker use in cancer diagnostics. Our analysis showed that a significant part of lung-cancer-related metabolites interacts with main cancer-related signaling pathways present in this network: PI3K–mTOR–AKT pathway, RAS–RAF–ERK1/2 pathway, and NFKB pathway. These results can be employed for use of metabolomics profiles in elucidation of the related cancer proteins signaling networks.
Fabrication of Immune-Affinity Monolithic Array for Detection of α-Fetoprotein and Carcinoembryonic Antigen
In this paper, we presented a highly sensitive immune-affinity monolithic array for detection of α-fetoprotein (AFP) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). Firstly, the epoxy functionalized monolith arrays were fabricated using UV initiated copolymerization method. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image showed that the poly(BABEA-co-GMA) monolith exhibited a well-controlled skeletal and well-distributed porous structure. Then, AFP and CEA immune-affinity monolithic arrays were prepared by immobilization of AFP and CEA antibodies on epoxy functionalized monolith arrays. With a non-competitive immune response format, the presented AFP and CEA immune-affinity arrays were demonstrated as an inexpensive, flexible, homogeneous and stable array for detection of AFP and CEA.
Impact of Gold and Silver Nanoparticles on Terrestrial Flora and Microorganisms

Despite the rapid nanotechnology progress and recognition, its potential impact in ecosystems and health of humans is still not fully known. In this paper, the study of ecotoxicological dangers of nanomaterials is presented. By chemical reduction method, silver (AgNPs) and gold (AuNPs) nanoparticles were synthesized, characterized and used in experiments to examine their impact on microorganisms (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans) and terrestrial flora (Phaseolus vulgaris and Lepidium sativum). The results collected during experiments with terrestrial flora show tendentious growth stimulations caused by gold nanoparticles. In contrast to these results, silver nanoparticle solutions inhibited growth of beans and garden cress, compared to control samples. The results obtained from experiments with microorganisms show similarities with ones collected from experiments with terrestrial plants. Samples treated with AuNPs of size 13 nm showed stimulation in the growth of the colonies compared with 3,5 nm size nanoparticles.

Extracts of Cola acuminata, Lupinus arboreus and Bougainvillea spectabilis as Natural Photosensitizers for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Organic dyes from Cola acuminata (C. acuminata), Lupinus arboreus (L. arboreus) and Bougainvillea spectabilis (B. spectabilis) leaves and their mixtures were used as sensitizers to manufacture dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). Photoelectric measurements of C. acuminata showed a short circuit current (Jsc) of 0.027 mA/ cm2, 0.026 mA/ cm2 and 0.018 mA/ cm2 with a mixture of mercury chloride and iodine (Hgcl2 + I); potassium bromide and iodine (KBr + I); and potassium chloride and iodine (KCl + I) respectively. The open circuit voltage (Voc) was 24 mV, 25 mV and 20 mV for the three dyes respectively. L. arboreus had Jsc of 0.034 mA/ cm2, 0.021 mA/ cm2 and 0.013 mA/ cm2; and corresponding Voc of 28 mV, 14.2 mV and 15 mV for the three electrolytes respectively. B. spectabilis recorded Jsc 0.023 mA/ cm2, 0.026 mA/ cm2 and 0.015 mA/ cm2; and corresponding Voc values of 6.2 mV, 14.3 mV and 4.0 mV for the three electrolytes respectively. It was observed that the fill factor (FF) was 0.140 for C. acuminata, 0.3198 for L. arboreus and 0.1138 for B. spectabilis. Internal conversions of 0.096%, 0.056% and 0.063% were recorded for three dyes when combined with (KBr + I) electrolyte. The internal efficiency of C. acuminata DSSC was highest in value.
Biosensor Design through Molecular Dynamics Simulation

The beginning of 21st century has witnessed new advancements in the design and use of new materials for biosensing applications, from nano to macro, protein to tissue. Traditional analytical methods lack a complete toolset to describe the complexities introduced by living systems, pathological relations, discrete hierarchical materials, cross-phase interactions, and structure-property dependencies. Materiomics – via systematic molecular dynamics (MD) simulation – can provide structureprocess- property relations by using a materials science approach linking mechanisms across scales and enables oriented biosensor design. With this approach, DNA biosensors can be utilized to detect disease biomarkers present in individuals’ breath such as acetone for diabetes. Our wireless sensor array based on single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-decorated single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) has successfully detected trace amount of various chemicals in vapor differentiated by pattern recognition. Here, we present how MD simulation can revolutionize the way of design and screening of DNA aptamers for targeting biomarkers related to oral diseases and oral health monitoring. It demonstrates great potential to be utilized to build a library of DNDA sequences for reliable detection of several biomarkers of one specific disease, and as well provides a new methodology of creating, designing, and applying of biosensors.

Noninvasive Disease Diagnosis through Breath Analysis Using DNA-Functionalized SWNT Sensor Array

Noninvasive diagnostics of diseases via breath analysis has attracted considerable scientific and clinical interest for many years and become more and more promising with the rapid advancements in nanotechnology and biotechnology. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath, which are mainly blood borne, particularly provide highly valuable information about individuals’ physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Additionally, breath analysis is noninvasive, real-time, painless, and agreeable to patients. We have developed a wireless sensor array based on single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) for the detection of a number of physiological indicators in breath. Seven DNA sequences were used to functionalize SWNT sensors to detect trace amount of methanol, benzene, dimethyl sulfide, hydrogen sulfide, acetone, and ethanol, which are indicators of heavy smoking, excessive drinking, and diseases such as lung cancer, breast cancer, and diabetes. Our test results indicated that DNA functionalized SWNT sensors exhibit great selectivity, sensitivity, and repeatability; and different molecules can be distinguished through pattern recognition enabled by this sensor array. Furthermore, the experimental sensing results are consistent with the Molecular Dynamics simulated ssDNAmolecular target interaction rankings. Thus, the DNA-SWNT sensor array has great potential to be applied in chemical or biomolecular detection for the noninvasive diagnostics of diseases and personal health monitoring.

In vitro Environmental Factors Controlling Root Morphological Traits of Pineapple (Ananas comosus L. Merr)
Developing our knowledge of when pineapple roots grow can lead to improved water, fertilizer applications, and more precise culture management. This paper presents current understanding of morphological traits in pineapple roots, highlighting studies using incubation periods and various solid MS media treated with different sucrose concentrations and pH, which directly assess in vitro environmental factors. Rooting parameters had different optimal sucrose concentrations and incubation periods. All shoots failed to root in medium supplemented with sucrose at 5 g/L and no roots formed within the first 45 days in medium enriched with sucrose at 10 g/L. After 75 days, all shoots rooted in medium enriched with 10 and 20 g/L sucrose. Moreover, MS medium supplied with 20 g/L sucrose resulted in the longest and the highest number of roots with 27.3 mm and 4.7, respectively. Root function, such as capacity for P and N uptake, declined rapidly with root length. As a result, the longer the incubation period, the better the rooting responses would be.
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