Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 56400

Bioengineering and Life Sciences

Spawning Induction and Early Larval Development of the Giant Reef Clam Periglypta multicostata (Sowerby, 1835) under Controlled Conditions
Ecuador is one of the countries with the greatest aquatic biodiversity worldwide. In particular, there are at least a dozen native marine species with great aquaculture potential locally. This research concerns one of those species. It has proposed to implement experimental protocols in order to induce spawning and to generate the early larval development of the giant reef clam P. multicostata under controlled conditions. Bioassays were carried out with one adult batch (n= 8) with an average valvar length of 118,4 ± 5,8 mm, which were collected near of the Puerto Santa Rosa (2° 12' 30'' S, 80° 58' 28'' W), Santa Elena Province. During a short acclimation stage, the eight adults of giant reef clam P. multicostata were exposed to thermal stress. Briefly, the experimental protocol for spawning induction was based on the application of 20°C for 1 h and 30°C for 1 h on P. multicostata broodstock at least three consecutive times by one day. After spawning, collected sexual material was released for external fertilization process. After the delivery of gametes, it was achieved 3,25 × 10⁶ viable zygotes. As results, fertilized eggs had 56 µm diameter; while first and second cell divisions were observed to 2,5 h post-fertilization, with individual average length of 68 ± 5 µm and polar body. Latter cell divisions, including gastrula stage, appeared at 9 h post-fertilization, with individual average length of 73 ± 4 µm and trochophore stage at 15 h post-fertilization with individual average length of 75 ± 4 µm. In addition, veliger stage was registered at 20 h post-fertilization with individual average length of 82 ± 6 µm. Umboned larvae appeared at day 8 post-fertilization, with individual average length of 148 ± 6 µm. These pioneering results worldwide can strengthen the local conservation process of the overexploited P. multicostata and to encourage its production for commercial purposes.
The Changes of Chemical Composition of Rice Straw Treated by a Biodecomposer Developed from Rumen Bacterial of Buffalo
In tropical countries such as in Indonesia, rice straw plays an important role in fulfilling the needs of feed for ruminant, especially during the dry season in which the availability of forage is very limited. However, the main problem of using rice straw as a feedstuff is low digestibility due to the existence of the links between lignin and cellulose or hemicellulose, and imbalance of its minerals content. One alternative to solve this problem is by application of biodecomposer (BS) derived from rumen bacterial of the ruminant. This study was designed to assess the effects of BS application on the changes of the chemical composition of rice straw. Four adults local buffalo raised under typical feeding conditions were used as a source of inoculum for BS development. The animal was fed for a month with a diet consisted of rice straw and elephant grass before taking rumen fluid samples. Samples of rumen fluid were inoculated in the carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) media under anaerobic condition for 48 hours at 37°C. The mixture of CMC media and microbes are ready to be used as a biodecomposer following incubation of the mixture under anaerobic condition for 7 days at 45°C. The effectiveness of BS then assessed by applying the BS on the straw according to completely randomized design consisted of four treatments and three replication. One hundred g of ground coarse rice straw was used as the substrate. The BS was applied to the rice straw substrate with the following composition: Rice straw without BS (P0), rice straw + 5% BS (P1), rice straw +10% BS (P2), and rice straw + 15% BS. The mixture of rice straw and BS then fermented under anaerobic for four weeks. Following the fermentation, the chemical composition of rice straw was evaluated. The results indicated that the crude protein content of rice straw significantly increased (P < 0.05) as the level of BS increased. On the other hand, the concentration of crude fiber of the rice straw was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) as the level of BS increased. Other nutrients such as minerals did not change (P > 0.05) due to the treatments. In conclusion, application of BS developed from rumen bacterial of buffalo has a promising prospect to be used as a biological agent to improve the quality of rice straw as feeding for ruminant.
The Cytoprotective Role of Antioxidants in Mammalian Cells Exposed to Variable Temperature, Pressure Overload and Radiation in the Stratosphere
Researchers are still looking for an answer to the question which has been fascinating the mankind for generations, specifically – is there life beyond Earth? As long as routine flights to other planets remain beyond our reach, there is a need to find alternative ways to conduct the astrobiological research. It is worth noticing that the part of the Earth’s atmosphere, stratosphere, has been found to show subcosmic environmental conditions, namely temperatures around -50°C, very rarefied air, increased cosmic radiation and the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. This phenomenon gives rise to the opportunity for the use of stratospheric environment as a research model for the space conditions. Therefore the idea of conducting astrobiological experiments during the stratospheric flights arose. Up to now, the preliminary work in this field included launching balloons containing solely microbiological samples into the stratosphere to figure out if they would be able to survive under the stratospheric conditions. In our study, we take this concept further, sending the human healthy and cancerous cells treated with various compounds to investigate whether these medicines are capable to protect the cells against stratospheric stress. Due to oxidative stress caused by ionizing radiation and temperature shock, we used natural compounds which display antioxidant properties. In this way, we were able to reduce the reactive oxygen species production affecting cells, which results in their death. After-flight laboratory tests of biological samples from the stratosphere have been performed and indicated the most active antioxidants as potential agents which can minimize the harmful impacts of stratospheric conditions, especially radiation and temperature.
Survey of Potato Viral Infection Using Das-Elisa Method in Georgia
Plant viruses can cause loss of yield and quality in a lot of important crops. Symptoms of pathogens are variable depending on the cultivars and virus strain. Selection of resistant potato varieties would reduce the risk of virus transmission and significant economic impact. Other way to avoid reduced harvest yields is regular potato seed production sampling and testing for viral infection. The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence and distribution of viral diseases according potato cultivars for further selection of virus-free material in Georgia. During the summer 2015- 2016, 5 potato cultivars (Sante, Laura, Jelly, Red Sonia, Anushka) at 5 different farms located in Akhalkalaki were tested for 6 different potato viruses: Potato virus A (PVA), Potato virus M (PVM), Potato virus S (PVS), Potato virus X (PVX), Potato virus Y (PVY) and potato leaf roll virus (PLRV). A serological method, Double Antibody Sandwich-Enzyme linked Immunosorbent Assay (DASELISA) was used at the laboratory to analyze the results. The result showed that PVY (21.4%) and PLRV (19.7%) virus presence in collected samples was relatively high compared to others. Researched potato cultivars except Jelly and Laura were infected by PVY with different concentrations. PLRV was found only in three potato cultivars (Sante, Jelly, Red Sonia) and PVM virus (3.12%) was characterized with low prevalence. PVX, PVA and PVS virus infection was not reported. It would be noted that 7.9% of samples were containing PVY/PLRV mix infection. Based on the results it can be concluded that PVY and PLRV infections are dominant in all research cultivars. Therefore significant yield losses are expected. Systematic, long-term control of potato viral infection, especially seed-potatoes, must be regarded as the most important factor to increase seed productivity.
The Effect of Common Daily Schedule on the Human Circadian Rhythms during the Polar Day on Svalbard: Field Study
Any Arctic visitor has to deal with extreme conditions, including constant light during the summer season or constant darkness during winter time. Light/dark cycle is the most powerful synchronizing signal for biological clock and the absence of daily dark period during the polar day can significantly alter the functional state of the internal clock. However, the inner clock can be synchronized by other zeitgebers such as physical activity, food intake or social interactions. Here, we investigated the effect of polar day on circadian clock of 10 researchers attending the polar base station in the Svalbard region during July. The data obtained on Svalbard were compared with the data obtained before the researchers left for the expedition (in the Czech Republic). To determine the state of circadian clock we used wrist actigraphy followed by sleep diaries, saliva, and buccal mucosa samples, both collected every 4 hours during 24h-interval to detect melatonin by radioimmunoassay and clock gene (PER1, BMAL1, NR1D1, DBP) mRNA levels by RT-qPCR. The clock gene expression was analyzed using cosinor analysis. From our results, it is apparent that the constant sunlight delayed melatonin onset and postponed the physical activity in the same order. Nevertheless, the clock gene expression displayed higher amplitude on Svalbard compared to the amplitude detected in the Czech Republic. These results have suggested that the common daily schedule at the Svalbard expedition can strengthen circadian rhythm in the environment that is lacking light/dark cycle. In conclusion, the constant sunlight delays melatonin onset, but it still maintains its rhythmic secretion. The effect of constant sunlight on circadian clock can be minimalized by common daily scheduled activity.
Data Analysis for Taxonomy Prediction and Annotation of 16S rRNA Gene Sequences from Metagenome Data
Skin metagenomics has a wide range of applications with direct relevance to the health of the organism. It gives us insight to the diverse community of microorganisms (the microbiome) harbored on the skin. In the recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that the interaction between skin microbiome and the human body plays a prominent role in immune system development, cancer development, disease pathology, and many other biological implications. Next Generation Sequencing has led to faster and better understanding of environmental organisms and their mutual interactions. This project is studying the human skin microbiome of different individuals having varied skin conditions. Bacterial 16S rRNA data of skin microbiome is downloaded from SRA toolkit provided by NCBI to perform metagenomics analysis. Twelve samples are selected with two controls, and 3 different categories, i.e., sex (male/female), skin type (moist/intermittently moist/sebaceous) and occlusion (occluded/intermittently occluded/exposed). Quality of the data is increased using Cutadapt, and its analysis is done using FastQC. USearch, a tool used to analyze an NGS data, provides a suitable platform to obtain taxonomy classification and abundance of bacteria from the metagenome data. The statistical tool used for analyzing the USearch result is METAGENassist. The results revealed that the top three abundant organisms found were: Prevotella, Corynebacterium, and Anaerococcus. Prevotella is known to be an infectious bacterium found on wound, tooth cavity, etc. Corynebacterium and Anaerococcus are opportunist bacteria responsible for skin odor. This result infers that Prevotella thrives easily in sebaceous skin conditions. Therefore it is better to undergo intermittently occluded treatment such as applying ointments, creams, etc. to treat wound for sebaceous skin type. Exposing the wound should be avoided as it leads to an increase in Prevotella abundance. Moist skin type individuals can opt for occluded or intermittently occluded treatment as they have shown to decrease the abundance of bacteria during treatment.
Generating a Multiplex Sensing Platform for the Accurate Diagnosis of Sepsis
Sepsis is a complex and rapidly evolving condition, resulting from uncontrolled prolonged activation of host immune system due to pathogenic insult. The aim of this study is the development of a multiplex electrochemical sensing platform, capable of detecting both pathogen associated and host immune markers to enable the rapid and definitive diagnosis of sepsis. A combination of aptamers and molecular imprinting approaches have been employed to generate sensing systems for lipopolysaccharide (LPS), c-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin (PCT). Gold working electrodes were mechanically polished and electrochemically cleaned with 0.1 M sulphuric acid using cyclic voltammetry (CV). Following activation, a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) was generated, by incubating the electrodes with a thiolated anti-LPS aptamer / dithiodibutiric acid (DTBA) mixture (1:20). 3-aminophenylboronic acid (3-APBA) in combination with the anti-LPS aptamer was used for the development of the hybrid molecularly imprinted sensor (apta-MIP). Aptasensors, targeting PCT and CRP were also fabricated, following the same approach as in the case of LPS, with mercaptohexanol (MCH) replacing DTBA. In the case of the CRP aptasensor, the SAM was formed following incubation of a 1:1 aptamer: MCH mixture. However, in the case of PCT, the SAM was formed with the aptamer itself, with subsequent backfilling with 1 μM MCH. The binding performance of all systems has been evaluated using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The apta-MIP’s polymer thickness is controlled by varying the number of electropolymerisation cycles. In the ideal number of polymerisation cycles, the polymer must cover the electrode surface and create a binding pocket around LPS and its aptamer binding site. Less polymerisation cycles will create a hybrid system which resembles an aptasensor, while more cycles will be able to cover the complex and demonstrate a bulk polymer-like behaviour. Both aptasensor and apta-MIP were challenged with LPS and compared to conventional imprinted (absence of aptamer from the binding site, polymer formed in presence of LPS) and non-imprinted polymers (NIPS, absence of LPS whilst hybrid polymer is formed). A stable LPS aptasensor, capable of detecting down to 5 pg/ml of LPS was generated. The apparent Kd of the system was estimated at 17 pM, with a Bmax of approximately 50 pM. The aptasensor demonstrated high specificity to LPS. The apta-MIP demonstrated superior recognition properties with a limit of detection of 1 fg/ml and a Bmax of 100 pg/ml. The CRP and PCT aptasensors were both able to detect down to 5 pg/ml. Whilst full binding performance is currently being evaluated, there is none of the sensors demonstrate cross-reactivity towards LPS, CRP or PCT. In conclusion, stable aptasensors capable of detecting LPS, PCT and CRP at low concentrations have been generated. The realisation of a multiplex panel such as described herein, will effectively contribute to the rapid, personalised diagnosis of sepsis.
Salt-Induced Modulation in Biomass Production, Pigment Concentration, Ion Accumulation, Antioxidant System and Yield in Pea Plant
Salinity is one of the most important environmental factors that limit the production of crop plants to the greatest proportion than any other ones. Salt-induced changes in growth, pigment concentration, water status, malondialdehydes (MDA) and H₂O₂ content, enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, Na⁺, K⁺ content and yield attributes were examined in the glasshouse on ten pea (Pisum Sativum L.) accessions, namely ‘13240’, ‘18302’, ‘19666’, ‘19700’, ‘19776’, ‘19785’, ‘19788’, ‘20153’, ‘20155’, ‘26719’ were subjected to non-stress (0 mM NaCl) and salt stress (100 mM and150 mM NaCl) in pots containing sand medium. The results showed that salt stress at level150 mM substantially reduced biomass production, leaf water status, pigment concentration (chlorophyll ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘carotenoid content’ total chlorophyll), K⁺ content, quantum yield and yield attributes as compared to plants treated with 100 mM NaCl. Antioxidant enzymes, Catalase (CAT), Peroxidase (POD), Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Ascorbate peroxidase (APX), proline content, total soluble protein, total amino acids, Malondialdehyde content (MDA), Hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂) content and Na⁺ uptake markedly enhanced due to the influence of salt stress. On the basis of analyses (expressed as percent of control), of 10 accessions of pea plant, two were ranked as salt tolerant namely (‘19666’, ‘20153’), four were moderately tolerant namely (‘19700’, ‘19776’, ‘19785’, ‘20155’), and three were salt sensitive namely (‘13240’, ‘18302’, ‘26719’) at 150 mM NaCl level.
Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis in Trema orientalis: Effect of a Naturally-Occurring Symbiosis Receptor Kinase Mutant Allele
The Trema genus represents a group of fast-growing tropical tree species within the Cannabaceae. Interestingly, five species nested in this lineage -known as Parasponia- can establish rhizobium nitrogen-fixing root nodules, similar to those found in legumes. Parasponia and legumes use a conserved genetic network to control root nodule formation, among which are genes also essential for mycorrhizal symbiosis (the so-called common symbiotic pathway). However, Trema species lost several genes that function exclusively in nodulation, suggesting a loss-of the nodulation trait in Trema. Strikingly, in a Trema orientalis population found in Malaysian Borneo we identified a truncated SYMBIOSIS RECEPTOR KINASE (SYMRK) mutant allele lacking a large portion of the c-terminal kinase domain. In legumes this gene is essential for nodulation and mycorrhization. This raises the question whether Trema orientalis can still be mycorrhized. To answer this question, we established quantitative mycorrhization assay for Parasponia andersonii and Trema orientalis. Plants were grown in closed pots on half strength Hoagland medium containing 20 µM potassium phosphate in sterilized sand and inoculated with 125 spores of Rhizopagus irregularis (Agronutrion-DAOM197198). Mycorrhization efficiency was determined by analyzing the frequency of mycorrhiza (%F), the intensity of the mycorrhizal colonization (%M) and the arbuscule abundance (%A) in the root system. Trema orientalis RG33 can be mycorrhized, though with lower efficiency compared to Parasponia andersonii. From this we conclude that a functional SYMRK kinase domain is not essential for Trema orientalis mycorrhization. In ongoing experiments, we aim to investigate the role of SYMRK in Parasponia andersonii mycorrhization and nodulation. For this two Parasponia andersonii symrk CRISPR-Cas9 mutant alleles were created. One mimicking the TorSYMRKRG33 allele by deletion of exon 13-15, and a full Parasponia andersonii SYMRK knockout.
Meta-Review of Scholarly Publications on Biosensors: A Bibliometric Study
With over 70,000 scholarly publications on the topic of biosensors, an overview of the field has become a challenge. To facilitate, there are currently over 700 expert-reviews of publications on biosensors and related topics. This study focuses on these review papers in order to provide a Meta-Review of the area. This paper provides a statistical analysis and overview of biosensor-related review papers. Comprehensive searches are conducted in the Web of Science, and PubMed databases and the resulting empirical material are analyzed using bibliometric methods and tools. The study finds that the biosensor-related review papers can be categorized in five related subgroups, broadly denoted by (i) properties of materials and particles, (ii) analysis and indicators, (iii) diagnostics, (iv) pollutant and analytical devices, and (v) treatment/ application. For an easy and clear access to the findings visualization of clusters and networks of connections are presented. The study includes a temporal dimension and identifies the trends over the years with an emphasis on the most recent developments. This paper provides useful insights for those who wish to form a better understanding of the research trends in the area of biosensors.
The Role of the STAT3 Signaling for Melatonergic Synthetic Pathway in the Rat Pineal Gland
The pineal gland of the vertebrate brain is a circumventricular organ which serves as a major neuroendocrine gland with the primary function of rhythmic secretion of neurohormone melatonin under the control of the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Soon after the onset of the darkness, the activity of the key rate-limiting enzyme for melatonin synthesis, arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), raises due to the increased release of norepinephrine from sympathetic neurons terminating on the parenchymal cells where it binds to β-adrenergic receptors. Melatonin codes the length of the night, and it is well recognized for its anti-inflammatory effects. However, to our knowledge, less is known about the effect of the immune system on the melatonin biosynthesis and the precise role of the STAT3 in the signaling pathway leading to the expression of AANAT. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the essential component in the outer surface membrane of gram-negative bacteria and acts as a strong stimulator of natural and innate immunity. STAT3 acts as an important factor in immune response. Here we investigated the effect of LPS on the components of the melatonergic synthetic pathway in the pineal gland. The experiments were performed both in vivo and in vitro. The changes in AANAT activity were determined by radioenzymatic assay. PCR analyses were carried out to detect aa-nat, icer, spi-3 and stat3 gene expression. From our results, it is apparent that the high basal level of phosphorylated forms of STAT3 can be elevated after systemic as well as in vitro administration of LPS. Our experiments have shown that LPS reduces melatonin synthesis, nevertheless, the activity of AANAT was increased. Moreover, the basal level of phosphorylated STAT3 counteracts β-adrenergic receptor-mediated aa-nat gene expression and sustains its own and spi-3 gene expression. In conclusion, LPS can affect immunomodulators such as melatonin in the pineal gland.
Insect Diversity Assessment of Maize Crop (Zea mays L.) by Using Sweep Net, Pitfall Trap and Plant Inspection Methods
Maize is known as queen of cereals because of its highest genetic yield potential and multipurpose characteristics in human being and animal diet. Maize crop visited by many major, minor, visitors and sporadic insect pests. This study was conducted during 2014 to evaluate the richness and evenness of these insect pests and their interaction with metrological conditions at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. In this experiment, two localities were selected; one was treated with pesticide and second was untreated. Maize field visited by many insect pests. Those insect pests were collected by using three collection method: sweep net, pitfall trap and plant inspection. The data was collected weekly interval from August to October and statistically analyzed by using Shannon Index which showed the results of insect pest richness and evenness. The value of Shannon Index was higher with the increase in number of species and abundance of insects. Camponotus nearcticus was most abundant in sweep net and pitfall trap method while Rhopalosiphum maidis was abundant in plant inspection method. Temperature was negatively co-relate with the insect population in all three collection methods while the relative humidity and rainfall had varying results.
Geographic Variation in the Baseline Susceptibility of Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Noctuidae: Lepidoptera) Field Populations to Bacillus thuringiensis Cry Toxins for Resistance Monitoring
The transgenic cotton expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) provides an effective control of Helicoverpa armigera, a most damaging pest of the cotton crop. However, Bt cotton may not be the optimal solution owing to the selection pressure of Cry toxins. As Bt cotton express the insecticidal proteins throughout the growing seasons, there are the chances of resistance development in the target pests. A regular monitoring and surveillance of target pest’s baseline susceptibility to Bt Cry toxins is crucial for early detection of any resistance development. The present study was conducted to monitor the changes in the baseline susceptibility of the field population of H. armigera to Bt Cry1Ac toxin. The field-collected larval populations were maintained in the laboratory on artificial diet and F1 generation larvae were used for diet incorporated diagnostic studies. The LC₅₀ and MIC₅₀ were calculated to measure the level of resistance of population as a ratio over susceptible population. The monitoring results indicated a significant difference in the susceptibility (LC₅₀) of H. armigera for first, second, third and fourth instar larval populations sampled from different cotton growing areas over the study period 2016-17. The variations in susceptibility among the tested insects depended on the age of the insect and susceptibility decreased with the age of larvae. The overall results show that the average resistant ratio (RR) of all field-collected populations (FSD, SWL, MLT, BWP and DGK) exposed to Bt toxin Cry1Ac ranged from 3.381-fold to 7.381-fold for 1st instar, 2.370-fold to 3.739-fold for 2nd instar, 1.115-fold to 1.762-fold for 3rd instar and 1.141-fold to 2.504-fold for 4th instar, depicting maximum RR from MLT population, whereas minimum RR for FSD and SWL population. The results regarding moult inhibitory concentration of H. armigera larvae (1-4th instars) exposed to different concentrations of Bt Cry1Ac toxin indicated that among all field populations, overall Multan (MLT) and Bahawalpur (BWP) populations showed higher MIC₅₀ values as compared to Faisalabad (FSD) and Sahiwal (SWL), whereas DG Khan (DGK) population showed an intermediate moult inhibitory concentrations. This information is important for the development of more effective resistance monitoring programs. The development of Bt Cry toxins baseline susceptibility data before the widespread commercial release of transgenic Bt cotton cultivars in Pakistan is important for the development of more effective resistance monitoring programs to identify the resistant H. armigera populations.
A Multiscale Approach in the Computational Modeling of the Cruciate Ligaments under Functionally Loading Conditions
It’s well recognized that the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL) are key structures in maintaining knee stability, and supporting relatively large load during activities of daily living. This mechanical burden increases in many occupational and recreational tasks causing ligaments injuries. Any failure or alteration in one of these structures influences the response of the entire joint and likely increases the risk of further perturbations. We argue that a clear connection between micro and macro mechanical behaviors of the ligaments, if identified, may elucidate the biochemical and mechanical underpinnings associated with the ligaments injury state, specifically for collagen fibrils. This later has been well documented as the main contributor to the integrity of the ligamentous structures. During this research, a multiplicative decomposition of the deformation gradient into elastic and plastic parts is introduced here to create the fiber reinforced composites model of cruciate ligaments. Therefore, the proposed model is considered as a hierarchical hyper-elastoplastic composite material starting from the tropocollagen molecules level (300 nm) to continuum macro level (+100 µm). Fundamentally, for soft tissues, the plastic flow is associated only with the uniaxial deformation of the collagen fibril. Thereafter, the yield strength of the fibril is a function of the cross-link density between tropocollagen molecules, defined here by a density function. Coarse-graining procedure is employed to link the nanoscale collagen features and the tissue level materials properties, using the cross-link density function as a building block. Neo-Hookean generalized strain energy is used to model the fibrils, fibers and tissue behavior by considering the rule of mixtures. Unknown materials parameters were calculated from tensile testing experiments using a Bayesian algorithm for the elastic part and manual calibration for the plastic part. The model then implemented into a real structure of cruciate ligaments (OpenKnee) and simulated under realistic loading conditions. With the maximum likelihood set of material parameters, the computed axial stress lies well with the experimental measurement with a coefficient of determination (R²) equal to 0.96. Under yield loading, for the cross-link density parameter 8 and 8.5 yielded the 'best' prediction of the yielding strength and strain as compared with the reported experimental data. The stiffness of the cruciate ligaments under axial tension increased significantly with increasing the cross link-density between the tropocollagen molecules. With the fully calibrated material model and for the simulated realistic ligaments structures, the damage was observed in the area of the ligament tibial insertions. Our results clearly showed a meaningful correlation between the cross-link density of the tropocollagen molecules and the stiffness of the cruciate ligaments. These simulation-based findings are qualitatively consistent with the earlier published results. Also, damage initiation and propagation were documented with this model, which were in satisfactory agreement with earlier observation. The current model that accounts for the synergy between atomistic and continuum syntheses was used to determine the short-term stresses/strains ligaments response. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to model ligaments from the bottom up, predicted depending to the tropocollagen cross-link density.
Preventing Neurodegenerative Diseases by Stabilization of Superoxide Dismutase by Natural Polyphenolic Compounds
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by misfolding and aggregation of Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1). The use of small molecules has been shown to stabilize the SOD1 dimer and preventing its dissociation and aggregation. In this study, we employed molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulation and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to study the interactions between SOD1 and natural polyphenolic compounds. In order to explore the noncovalent interaction between SOD1 and natural polyphenolic compounds, molecular docking and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations were employed to gain insights into the binding modes and free energies of SOD1-polyphenolic compounds. MM/PBSA methods were used to calculate free energies from obtained MD trajectories. The compounds, Hesperidin, Ergosterol, and Rutin showed the excellent binding affinity in micromolar range with SOD1. Ergosterol and Hesperidin have the strongest binding affinity to SOD1 and was subjected to further characterization. Biophysical experiments using Circular Dichroism and Thioflavin T fluorescence spectroscopy results show that the binding of these two compounds can stabilize SOD1 dimer and inhibit the aggregation of SOD1. Molecular simulation results also suggest that these compounds reduce the dissociation of SOD1 dimers through direct interaction with the dimer interface. This study will be helpful to develop other drug-like molecules which may have the effect to reduce the aggregation of SOD1.
Development of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer-Based Nanosensor for Measurement of Sialic Acid in vivo
Sialic acid (5-Acetylneuraminic acid, Neu5Ac) is a common sugar found as a terminal residue on glycoconjugates in many animals. Humans brain and the central nervous system contain the highest concentration of sialic acid (as N-acetylneuraminic acid) where these acids play an important role in neural transmission and ganglioside structure in synaptogenesis. Due to its important biological function, sialic acid is attracting increasing attention. To understand metabolic networks, fluxes and regulation, it is essential to be able to determine the cellular and subcellular levels of metabolites. Genetically-encoded fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensors represent a promising technology for measuring metabolite levels and corresponding rate changes in live cells. Taking this, we developed a genetically encoded FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) based nanosensor to analyse the sialic acid level in living cells. Sialic acid periplasmic binding protein (sia P) from Haemophilus influenzae was taken and ligated between the FRET pair, the cyan fluorescent protein (eCFP) and Venus. The chimeric sensor protein was expressed in E. coli BL21 (DE3) and purified by affinity chromatography. Conformational changes in the binding protein clearly confirmed the changes in FRET efficiency. So any change in the concentration of sialic acid is associated with the change in FRET ratio. This sensor is very specific to sialic acid and found stable with the different range of pH. This nanosensor successfully reported the intracellular level of sialic acid in bacterial cell. The data suggest that the nanosensors may be a versatile tool for studying the in vivo dynamics of sialic acid level non-invasively in living cells
Effectiveness Assessment of a Brazilian Larvicide on Aedes Control
The susceptibility status of an insect population to any larvicide depends on several factors such includes genetic constitution, environmental conditions and others. The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of three important viral diseases, Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya. The frequent outbreaks of those diseases in different parts of Brazil demonstrate the importance of testing the susceptibility of vectors in different environments. Since the control of this mosquito leads to the control of disease, alternatives for vector control that value the different Brazilian environmental conditions are needed for effective actions. The aim of this study was to evaluate a new commercial formulation of Bacillus thuringiensis israelenses (DengueTech: Brazilian innovative technology) in the Brazilian Legal Amazon considering the climate conditions. Semi-field tests were conducted in the Institute of Scientific and Technological Research of the State of Amapa in two different environments, one in a shaded area and the other exposed to sunlight. The mosquito larvae were exposed to larvicide concentration and a control; each group was tested in three containers of 40 liters each. To assess persistence 50 third instar larvae of Aedes aegypti laboratory lineages (Rockefeller) and 50 larvae of Aedes aegypti collected in the municipality of Macapa, Brazil’s Amapa state, were added weekly and after 24 hours the mortality was assessed. In total 16 tests were performed, where 12 were done with replacement of water (1/5 of the volume, three times per week). The effectiveness of the product was determined through mortality of ≥ 80%, as recommend by the World Health Organization. The results demonstrated that high-water temperatures (26-35 °C) on the containers influenced the residual time of the product, where the maximum effect achieved was 21 days in the shaded area; and no effectiveness of 60 days was found in any of the tests, as expected according to the larvicide company. The test with and without water replacement did not present significant differences in the mortality rate. Considering the different environments and climate, these results stimulate the need to test larvicide and its effectiveness in specific environmental settings in order to identify the parameters required for better results. Thus, we see the importance of semi-field researches considering the local climate conditions for a successful control of Aedes aegypti.
Relationships of Plasma Lipids, Lipoproteins and Cardiovascular Outcomes with Climatic Variations: A Large 8-Year Period Brazilian Study
Objectives: The outcome of cardiovascular disease is affected by environment and climate. This study evaluated the possible relationships between climatic and environmental changes and the occurrence of biological rhythms in serum lipids and lipoproteins in a large population sample in the city of Campinas, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In addition, it determined the temporal variations of death due to atherosclerotic events in Campinas during the time window examined. Methods: A large 8-year retrospective study was carried out to evaluate the lipid profiles of individuals attended at the University of Campinas (Unicamp). The study population comprised 27.543 individuals of both sexes and of all ages. Normolipidemic and dyslipidemic individuals classified according to Brazilian guidelines on dyslipidemias, participated in the study. For the same period, the temperature, relative humidity and daily brightness records were obtained from the Centro de Pesquisas Meteorologicas e Climaticas Aplicadas a Agricultura/Unicamp and frequencies of death due to atherosclerotic events in Campinas were acquired from the Brazilian official database DATASUS, according to the International Classification of Diseases. Statistical analyses were performed using both Cosinor and ARIMA temporal analysis methods. For cross-correlation analysis between climatic and lipid parameters, cross-correlation functions were used. Results: Preliminary results indicated that rhythmicity was significant for LDL-C and HDL-C in the cases of both normolipidemic and dyslipidemic subjects (n =respectively 11.892 and 15.651 both measures increasing in the winter and decreasing in the summer). On the other hand, for dyslipidemic subjects triglycerides increased in summer and decreased in winter, in contrast to normolipidemic ones, in which triglycerides did not show rhythmicity. The number of deaths due to atherosclerotic events showed significant rhythmicity, with maximum and minimum frequencies in winter and summer, respectively. Cross-correlation analyzes showed that low humidity and temperature, higher thermal amplitude and dark cycles are associated with increased levels of LDL-C and HDL-C during winter. In contrast, TG showed moderate cross-correlations with temperature and minimum humidity in an inverse way: maximum temperature and humidity increased TG during the summer. Conclusions: This study showed a coincident rhythmicity between low temperatures and high concentrations of LDL-C and HDL-C and the number of deaths due to atherosclerotic cardiovascular events in individuals from the city of Campinas. The opposite behavior of cholesterol and TG suggest different physiological mechanisms in their metabolic modulation by climate parameters change. Thus, new analyses are underway to better elucidate these mechanisms, as well as variations in lipid concentrations in relation to climatic variations and their associations with atherosclerotic disease and death outcomes in Campinas.
The Residual Efficacy of Etofenprox WP on Different Surfaces for Malaria Control in the Brazilian Legal Amazon
Malaria is a public health problem in the Brazilian Legal Amazon. Among the integrated approaches for anopheline control, the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) remains one of the main tools in the basic strategy applied in the Amazonian States, where the National Malaria Control Program currently uses one of the insecticides from the pyrethroid class, the Etofenprox WP. Understanding the residual efficacy of insecticides on different surfaces is essential to determine the spray cycles, in order to maintain a rational use and to avoid product waste. The aim of this study was to evaluate the residual efficacy of Etofenprox - VECTRON ® 20 WP on surfaces of Unplastered Cement (UC) and Unpainted Wood (UW) on panels, in field, and in semi-field evaluation of Brazil’s Amapa State. The evaluation criteria used was the cone bioassay test, following the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended method, using plastic cones and female mosquitos of Anopheles sp. The tests were carried out in laboratory panels, semi-field evaluation in a “test house” built in the Macapa municipality, and in the field in 20 houses, being ten houses per surface type (UC and UW), in an endemic malaria area in Mazagão’s municipality. The residual efficacy was measured from March to September 2017, starting one day after the spraying, repeated monthly for a period of six months. The UW surface presented higher residual efficacy than the UC. In fact, the UW presented a residual efficacy of the insecticide throughout the period of this study with a mortality rate above 80% in the panels (= 95%), in the "test house" (= 86%) and in field houses ( = 87%). On the UC surface it was observed a mortality decreased in all the tests performed, with a mortality rate of 45, 47 and 29% on panels, semi-field and in field, respectively; however, the residual efficacy ≥ 80% only occurred in the first evaluation after the 24-hour spraying bioassay in the "test house". Thus, only the UW surface meets the specifications of the World Health Organization Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES) regarding the duration of effective action (three to six months). To sum up, the insecticide residual efficacy presented variability on the different surfaces where it was sprayed. Although the IRS with Etofenprox WP was efficient on UW surfaces, and it can be used in spraying cycles at 4-month intervals, it is important to consider the diversity of houses in the Brazilian Legal Amazon, in order to implement alternatives for vector control, including the evaluation of new products or different formulations types for insecticides.
Assessment of Sex Differences in Serum Urea and Creatinine Level in Response to Spinal Cord Injury Using Albino Rat Models
Background: One of the most serious consequences of spinal cord injury (SCI) is progressive deterioration of renal function mostly as a result of urine stasis and ascending infection of the paralyzed bladder. This necessitates for investigation of early changes in serum urea and creatinine and associated sex related differences in response to SCI. Methods: A total of 24 adult albino rats weighing above 150g were divided equally into two groups, a control and experimental group (n = 12) each containing an equal number of male and female rats. The experimental group animals were paralyzed by complete transection of spinal cord below T4 level after deep anesthesia with ketamine 75mg/kg. Blood samples were collected from both groups five days post SCI for analysis. Mean values of serum urea (mmol/L) and creatinine (µmol/L) for both groups were compared. P < 0.05 was considered as significant. Results: The results showed significantly higher levels (P < 0.05) of serum urea and creatinine in the male SCI models with mean values of 92.12 ± 0.98 and 2573 ± 70.97 respectively compared with their controls where the mean values for serum urea and creatinine were 6.31 ± 1.48 and 476. 95 ± 4.67 respectively. In the female SCI models, serum urea 13.11 ± 0.81 and creatinine 519.88 ± 31.13 were not significantly different from that of female controls with serum urea and creatinine levels of 11.71 ± 1.43 and 493.69 ± 17.10 respectively (P > 0.05). Conclusion: Spinal cord injury caused a significant increase in serum Urea and Creatinine levels in the male models compared to the females. This indicated that males might have higher risk of renal dysfunction following SCI.
Synthesis of Methanol through Photocatalytic Conversion of CO₂: A Green Chemistry Approach
Methanol is one of the most important chemical products and intermediates. It can be used as a solvent, intermediate or raw material for a number of higher valued products, fuels or additives. From the last one decay, the total global demand of methanol has increased drastically which forces the scientists to produce a large amount of methanol from a renewable source to meet the global demand with a sustainable way. Different types of non-renewable based raw materials have been used for the synthesis of methanol on a large scale which makes the process unsustainable. In this circumstances, photocatalytic conversion of CO₂ into methanol under solar/UV excitation becomes a viable approach to give a sustainable production approach which not only meets the environmental crisis by recycling CO₂ to fuels but also reduces CO₂ amount from the atmosphere. Development of such sustainable production approach for CO₂ conversion into methanol still remains a major challenge in the current research comparing with conventional energy expensive processes. In this backdrop, the development of environmentally friendly materials, like photocatalyst has taken a great perspective for methanol synthesis. Scientists in this field are always concerned about finding an improved photocatalyst to enhance the photocatalytic performance. Graphene-based hybrid and composite materials with improved properties could be a better nanomaterial for the selective conversion of CO₂ to methanol under visible light (solar energy) or UV light. The present invention relates to synthesis an improved heterogeneous graphene-based photocatalyst with improved catalytic activity and surface area. Graphene with enhanced surface area is used as coupled material of copper-loaded titanium oxide to improve the electron capture and transport properties which substantially increase the photoinduced charge transfer and extend the lifetime of photogenerated charge carriers. A fast reduction method through H₂ purging has been adopted to synthesis improved graphene whereas ultrasonication based sol-gel method has been applied for the preparation of graphene coupled copper loaded titanium oxide with some enhanced properties. Prepared photocatalysts were exhaustively characterized using different characterization techniques. Effects of catalyst dose, CO₂ flow rate, reaction temperature and stirring time on the efficacy of the system in terms of methanol yield and productivity have been studied in the present study. The study shown that the newly synthesized photocatalyst with an enhanced surface resulting in a sustained productivity and yield of methanol 0.14 g/Lh, and 0.04 g/gcat respectively, after 3 h of illumination under UV (250W) at an optimum catalyst dosage of 10 g/L having 1:2:3 (Graphene: TiO₂: Cu) weight ratio.
Lethal and Sub-Lethal Effects of Pyriproxyfen on Demography of Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens (Goeze) (Coccinellidae: Coleoptera)
To further develop integrated pest management (IPM) tactics against insect pests, demographic toxicology is considered important and efficient to evaluate the long-term effects of pesticides on biological control agents. In this study, lethal and sub-lethal effects of Pyriproxyfen (insect growth regulator) two concentrations of LC10 and LC30 were tested on second instar larvae of convergent lady beetle, Hippodamia convergens (Goeze) in order to evaluate the effect of insecticide on demographic parameters of the predator under laboratory conditions. The life table parameters were analysed statistically by using age-stage, two sex life table procedure. The results of this study show that developmental time for immature was prolonged in treated population (LC30 and LC10) rather than in control. Similarly, male and female longevity was also longer in the control group as compared to the treated population. Adult pre-oviposition period and fecundity were also greater in control as compared to the treated population. In addition, population parameters such as net reproductive rate (R0), intrinsic rate of increase (r) and finite rate of increase (λ) were also greater in control group rather than treated population. However, mean generation time (T) was greater in the treated group. The results revealed that pyriproxyfen, even at low concentrations, has potential to greatly affect the population growth of predatory lady beetle, therefore care should be taken when insect growth regulators are used within an IPM framework.
A Diurnal Light Based CO₂ Elevation Strategy for Up-Scaling Chlorella sp. Production by Minimizing Oxygen Accumulation
Achieving high cell densities of microalgae under obligatory light-limiting and high light conditions of diurnal (low-high-low variations of daylight intensity) sunlight are further limited by CO₂ supply and dissolved oxygen (DO) accumulation in large-scale photobioreactors. High DO levels cause low growth due to photoinhibition and/or photorespiration. Hence, scalable elevated CO₂ levels (% in air) and their effect on DO accumulation in a 10 L cylindrical membrane photobioreactor (a vertical tubular type) are studied in the present study. The CO₂ elevation strategies; biomass-based, pH control based (types II & I) and diurnal light based, were explored to study the growth of Chlorella sp. FC2 IITG under single-sided LED lighting in the laboratory, mimicking diurnal sunlight. All the experiments were conducted in fed-batch mode by maintaining N and P sources at least 50% of initial concentrations of the optimized BG-11 medium. It was observed that biomass-based (2% - 1st day, 2.5% - 2nd day and 3% - thereafter) and well-known pH control based, type-I (5.8 pH throughout) strategies were found lethal for FC2 growth. In both strategies, the highest peak DO accumulation of 150% air saturation was resulted due to high photosynthetic activity caused by higher CO₂ levels. In the pH control based type-I strategy, automatically resulted CO₂ levels for pH control were recorded so high (beyond the inhibition range, 5%). However, pH control based type-II strategy (5.8 – 2 days, 6.3 – 3 days, 6.7 – thereafter) showed final biomass titer up to 4.45 ± 0.05 g L⁻¹ with peak DO of 122% air saturation; high CO₂ levels beyond 5% (in air) were recorded thereafter. Thus, it became sustainable for obtaining high biomass. Finally, a diurnal light based (2% - low light, 2.5 % - medium light and 3% - high light) strategy was applied on the basis of increasing/decreasing photosynthesis due to increase/decrease in diurnal light intensity. It has resulted in maximum final biomass titer of 5.33 ± 0.12 g L⁻¹, with total biomass productivity of 0.59 ± 0.01 g L⁻¹ day⁻¹. The values are remarkably higher than constant 2% CO₂ level (final biomass titer: 4.26 ± 0.09 g L⁻¹; biomass productivity: 0.27 ± 0.005 g L⁻¹ day⁻¹). However, 135% air saturation of peak DO was observed. Thus, the diurnal light based elevation should be further improved by using CO₂ enriched N₂ instead of air. To the best of knowledge, the light-based CO₂ elevation strategy is not reported elsewhere.
Phylogenetic Inferences based on Morphoanatomical Characters in Plectranthus esculentus N. E. Br. (Lamiaceae) from Nigeria
P. esculentus is indigenous to Nigeria yet no wild relation has been encountered or reported. This has made it difficult to establish proper lineages between the varieties and landraces under cultivation. The present work is the first to determine the apormophy of 135 morphoanatomical characters in organs of 46 accessions drawn from 23 populations of this species based on dicta. The character states were coded in accession x character-state matrices and only 83 were informative and utilised for neighbour joining clustering based on euclidean values, and heuristic search in parsimony analysis using PAST ver. 3.15 software. Compatibility and evolutionary trends between accessions were then explored from values and diagrams produced. The low consistency indices (CI) recorded support monophyly and low homoplasy in this taxon. Agglomerative schedules based on character type and source data sets divided the accessions into mainly 3 clades, each of complexes of accessions. Solenostemon rotundifolius (Poir) J.K Morton was the outgroup (OG) used, and it occurred within the largest clades except when the characters were combined in a data set. The OG showed better compatibility with accessions of populations of landrace Isci, and varieties Riyum and Long’at. Otherwise, its aerial parts are more consistent with those of accessions of variety Bebot. The highly polytomous clades produced due to anatomical data set may be an indication of how stable such characters are in this species. Strict consensus trees with more than 60 nodes outputted showed that the basal nodes were strongly supported by 3 to 17 characters across the data sets, suggesting that populations of this species are more alike. The OG was clearly the first diverging lineage and closely related to accessions of landrace Gwe and variety Bebot morphologically, but different from them anatomically. It was also distantly related to landrace Fina and variety Long’at in terms of root, stem and leaf structural attributes. There were at least 5 other clades with each comprising of complexes of accessions from different localities and terrains within the study area. Spherical stem in cross section, size of vascular bundles at the stem corners as well as the alternate and whorl phyllotaxy are attributes which may have facilitated each other’s evolution in all accessions of the landrace Gwe, and they may be innovative since such states are not characteristic of the larger Lamiaceae, and Plectranthus L’Her in particular. In conclusion, this study has provided valuable information about infraspecific diversity in this taxon. It supports recognition of the varietal statuses accorded to populations of P. esculentus, as well as the hypothesis that the wild gene might have been distributed on the Jos Plateau. However, molecular characterisation of accessions of populations of this species would resolve this problem better.
Diversity of Insect Pests of Paddy in Panhala Tehasil, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India
Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy and India is one of the world’s largest producers of Rice. Today, paddy crop is facing a severe problem of insect pests and is attacked by more than 100 species of insects, among those 20 species cause economic damage. Rice is the staple food of people of panhala tehasil, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India. During June 2017 to September 2017 efforts were made to study the diversity of insect pests associated with the paddy crop in the study region. The collection and preservation of the specimens were done by following standard procedure and the identification was done with the help standard literature, taxonomic keys, and webography. In all, 6 species were recorded as pests of paddy in which order Lepidoptera was dominant with 2 species, while orders Diptera, Orthoptera, Hemiptera, and Coleoptera were represented by 1 species each respectively. The results of the present investigation will be helpful for formulating control strategies against these paddy pests.
Large-Scale Screening for Membrane Protein Interactions Involved in Platelet-Monocyte Interactions
Background: Beyond the classical roles in haemostasis and thrombosis, platelets are important in the initiation and development of various thrombo-inflammatory diseases. In atherosclerosis and deep vein thrombosis, for example, platelets bridge monocytes with endothelium and form heterotypic aggregates with monocytes in the circulation. This can alter monocyte phenotype by inducing their activation, stimulating adhesion and migration. These interactions involve cell surface receptor-ligand pairs on both cells. This list is likely incomplete as new interactions of importance to platelet biology are continuing to be discovered as illustrated by our discovery of PEAR-1 binding to FcεR1α. Results: We have developed a highly sensitive avidity-based assay to identify novel extracellular interactions among 126 recombinantly-expressed platelet cell surface and secreted proteins involved in platelet aggregation. In this study, we will use this method to identify novel platelet-monocyte interactions. We aim to identify ligands for orphan receptors and novel partners of well-known proteins. Identified interactions will be studied in preliminary functional assays to demonstrate relevance to the inflammatory processes supporting atherogenesis. Conclusions: Platelet-monocyte interactions are essential for the development of thromboinflammatory disease. Up until relatively recently, technologies only allow us to limit our studies on each individual protein interaction at a single time. These studies propose for the first time to study the cell surface platelet-monocyte interactions in a systematic large-scale approach using a reliable screening method we have developed. If successful, this will likely to identify previously unknown ligands for important receptors that will be investigated in details and also provide a list of novel interactions for the field. This should stimulate studies on developing alternative therapeutic strategies to treat vascular inflammatory disorders such as atherosclerosis, DVT and sepsis and other clinically important inflammatory conditions.
Mass Pheromone Trapping on Red Palm Weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in Oil Palm Plantations of Terengganu
Malaysia houses a broad range of palm trees species and some of these palm trees are very crucial for the country’s social and economic development, especially the oil palm trees. However, the destructive pest of the various palms species, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) or known as Red Palm Weevil (RPW) was first detected in Terengganu in 2007. Recently, the pattern of infestation has move from coastal lines toward inland areas. After the coconut plantations, it is presumed that the RPW will be a serious threat to the oil palm plantations in Malaysia. Thus, this study was carried out to detect the presence and distribution of Red Palm Weevil (RPW) in selected oil palm plantations of Terengganu. A total of 42 traps were installed in the three oil palm plantations in Terengganu and were inspected every week for two months. Oil palm plantation A collected significantly higher adults RPW compared to the other locations. Generally, females of RPW were significantly higher than male individuals. Females were collected more as the synthetic aggregation pheromone used, ferrugineol was synthesized from the male aggregation pheromone of adult RPW. Oil palm plantation A collected the highest number of RPW might be due to the abundance of soft part in the host plant as the oil palm trees age ranged between 6 to 10 years old. As a conclusion, RPW presence was detected in some oil palm plantations of Terengganu and immediate action is crucially needed before it is too late.
Helicoverpa armigera Hubner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Susceptibility to Bacillus thuringiensis Crystal Toxins
Bacillus thuringiensis is a gram-positive spore-forming bacterium that belongs to the Bacillus cereus group of Bacilli and it produces ICP (insecticidal crystal protein) Cry toxins or Cysts toxins. Spores are produced as parasporal crystalline inclusions bodies (also known as endotoxins) at the onset of sporulation during the stationary growth phase. During vegetative growth that does not form crystals and is called vegetative insecticidal proteins (VIP) and secreted an insecticidal protein (SIP). Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is important for pest management either in the form of insecticides or through incorporated in the gene of the crop. Bioassays were conducted on the F2 generation of 1st instar larvae of H. armigera by the diet incorporation method to determine the susceptibility to Bt Cry toxins (Cry1Ac, Cry2Ab, Cry2A). The median lethal concentration (LC₅₀) of Cry1Ac, Cry2Ab, Cry2A ranged from 0.11 to 1.06 µg/ml and moult inhibitory concentration (MIC₅₀) of Cry1Ac, Cry2Ab, Cry2A ranged from 0.05 to 0.25 µg/ml. Cry1Ac was found most toxic to 1st instar larvae of H. armigera as compared to other Bt Cry toxins (Cry1Ac, Cry2Ab, Cry2A). The experimental results are important to policy-makers and technology providers to develop strategies for the exploitation of transgenic Bt cotton varieties as a component of integrated pest management.
A 7 Dimensional-Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship Approach Combining Quantum Mechanics Based Grid and Solvation Models to Predict Hotspots and Kinetic Properties of Mutated Enzymes: An Enzyme Engineering Perspective
Enzymes are molecular machines used in various industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and animal feed, paper and leather processing, biofuel, and etc. Nevertheless, this has been possible only by the breath-taking efforts of the chemists and biologists to evolve/engineer these mysterious biomolecules to work the needful. Main agenda of this enzyme engineering project is to derive screening and selection tools to obtain focused libraries of enzyme variants with desired qualities. The methodologies for this research include the well-established directed evolution, rational redesign and relatively less established yet much faster and accurate insilico methods. This concept was initiated as a Receptor Rependent-4Dimensional Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship (RD-4D-QSAR) to predict kinetic properties of enzymes and extended here to study transaminase by a 7D QSAR approach. Induced-fit scenarios were explored using Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics (QM/MM) simulations which were then placed in a grid that stores interactions energies derived from QM parameters (QMgrid). In this study, the mutated enzymes were immersed completely inside the QMgrid and this was combined with solvation models to predict descriptors. After statistical screening of descriptors, QSAR models showed > 90% specificity and > 85% sensitivity towards the experimental activity. Mapping descriptors on the enzyme structure revealed hotspots important to enhance the enantioselectivity of the enzyme.
Trapping Efficiency of Highly Effective Slow Released Formulations of Biodegradable Waxes with Methyl Eugenol Against Bactrocera zonata
Experiment was carried out to evaluate the performance of highly effective Slow-Released Formulations (SRF) of Methyl eugenol with Lanolin wax, Candellila wax, Bee-wax, Carnauba wax and paraffin wax in the orchard of University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan against fruit flies. The waxes were mixed with methyl eugenol in 1:9 ratio. The results revealed that SRF of Candellila, Paraffin, Bees and Carnauba wax attracted 13.77, 11, 8.15 and 7.23 flies/day/trap which was 2.6, 2, 1.5 and 1.4 times higher than standard respectively and exhibited 41.42%, 32.05%, 20.98% and 12.87% attractive index respectively, proved moderately attractive slow-released formulation to B. zonata and was catagorized as Class-II slow-released formulation (AI = 11-50%). However, SRF of Lanolin wax trapped 1.81 flies/day/trap which was 3 times less than standard and exhibited -61.86% attractive index proved little or non attractive slow-released formulation and was categorized as Class-I slow-released formulation for B. zonata (AI < 11%).