Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 39602

Biotechnology and Bioengineering

Lignin Valorization: Techno-Economic Analysis of Three Lignin Conversion Routes
Effective utilization of lignin is an important mean for developing economically profitable biorefineries. Current literature suggests that large amounts of lignin will become available in second generation biorefineries. New conversion technologies will, therefore, be needed to carry lignin transformation well beyond combustion to produce energy, but towards high-value products such as chemicals and transportation fuels. In recent years, significant progress on catalysis has been made to improve transformation of lignin, and new catalytic processes are emerging. In this work, a techno-economic assessment of two of these novel conversion routes and comparison with more established lignin pyrolysis route were made. The aim is to provide insights into the potential performance and potential hotspots in order to guide the experimental research and ease the commercialization by early identifying cost drivers, strengths, and challenges. The lignin conversion routes selected for detailed assessment were: (non-catalytic) lignin pyrolysis as the benchmark, direct hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of lignin and hydrothermal lignin depolymerisation. Products generated were mixed oxygenated aromatic monomers (MOAMON), light organics, heavy organics, and char. For the technical assessment, a basis design followed by process modelling in Aspen was done using experimental yields. A design capacity of 200 kt/year lignin feed was chosen that is equivalent to a 1 Mt/y scale lignocellulosic biorefinery. The downstream equipment was modelled to achieve the separation of the product streams defined. For determining external utility requirement, heat integration was considered and when possible gasses were combusted to cover heating demand. The models made were used in generating necessary data on material and energy flows. Next, an economic assessment was carried out by estimating operating and capital costs. Return on investment (ROI) and payback period (PBP) were used as indicators. The results of the process modelling indicate that series of separation steps are required. The downstream processing was found especially demanding in the hydrothermal upgrading process due to the presence of significant amount of unconverted lignin (34%) and water. Also, external utility requirements were found to be high. Due to the complex separations, hydrothermal upgrading process showed the highest capital cost (50 M€ more than benchmark). Whereas operating costs were found the highest for the direct HDO process (20 M€/year more than benchmark) due to the use of hydrogen. Because of high yields to valuable heavy organics (32%) and MOAMON (24%), direct HDO process showed the highest ROI (12%) and the shortest PBP (5 years). This process is found feasible with a positive net present value. However, it is very sensitive to the prices used in the calculation. The assessments at this stage are associated with large uncertainties. Nevertheless, they are useful for comparing alternatives and identifying whether a certain process should be given further consideration. Among the three processes investigated here, the direct HDO process was seen to be the most promising.
Double Functionalization of Magnetic Colloids with Electroactive Molecules and Antibody for Platelet Detection and Separation
Neonatal thrombopenia occurs when the mother generates antibodies against her baby’s platelet antigens. It is particularly critical for newborns because it can cause coagulation troubles leading to intracranial hemorrhage. In this case, diagnosis must be done quickly to make platelets transfusion immediately after birth. Before transfusion, platelet antigens must be tested carefully to avoid rejection. The majority of thrombopenia (95 %) are caused by antibodies directed against Human Platelet Antigen 1a (HPA-1a) or 5b (HPA-5b). The common method for antigen platelets detection is polymerase chain reaction allowing for identification of gene sequence. However, it is expensive, time-consuming and requires significant blood volume which is not suitable for newborns. We propose to develop a point-of-care device based on double functionalized magnetic colloids with 1) antibodies specific to antigen platelets and 2) highly sensitive electroactive molecules in order to be detected by an electrochemical microsensor. These magnetic colloids will be used first to isolate platelets from other blood components, then to capture specifically platelets bearing HPA-1a and HPA-5b antigens and finally to attract them close to sensor working electrode for improved electrochemical signal. The expected advantages are an assay time lower than 20 min starting from blood volume smaller than 100 µL. Our functionalization procedure based on amine dendrimers and NHS-ester modification of initial carboxyl colloids will be presented. Functionalization efficiency was evaluated by colorimetric titration of surface chemical groups, zeta potential measurements, infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence scanning and cyclic voltammetry. Our results showed that electroactive molecules and antibodies can be immobilized successfully onto magnetic colloids. Application of a magnetic field onto working electrode increased the detected electrochemical signal. Magnetic colloids were able to capture specific purified antigens extracted from platelets.
Assessment of Mammary Gland Immunity and Therapeutic Potential of Topical Herbal Gel against Bovine Subclinical Mastitis
In-vivo immunotherapeutic potential on cytokines production and antibacterial activity of a topical herbal gel was evaluated in two breeds of cattle in bovine subclinical mastitis. The response to treatment was evaluated by enumerating somatic cell count (SCC), determining total bacterial count and studying the expression of different cytokines like (interleukin 6, 8, 12, GMCSF, interferon–γ and TNF‑α). The pre‑ and post‑treatment SCC in mastitic quarters did not differ statistically-significantly. However, total bacterial count declined significantly from day 0 onwards in both the breeds. Significant differences (P < 0.01) were observed in all types of cytokines production on day 0, 5, and 21 post last treatments in both the breeds. The comparison of cytokine expression profiles between crossbred and Gir cattle affirmed a significant difference in expression of IL-6 and TNF-α. The topical herbal gel showed immunomodulatory and antimicrobial activities in subclinical mastitis, and therefore the work supports its use as substitute herbal therapy against subclinical mastitis in bovines.
High Frequency Nanomechanical Oscillators Based on Synthetic Nanowires
We demonstrate nanomechanical resonators constructed with synthetic nanowires (NWs) and study their electro-mechanical properties at millikelvin temperatures. Nanomechanical resonators are fabricated using single-crystalline Au NWs and InAs NWs. The mechanical resonance signals are acquired by either magnetomotive or capacitive detection methods. The Au NWs are synthesized by chemical vapor transport method at 1100 °C, and they exhibit clean surface and single-crystallinity with little defects. Due to pristine surface quality, these Au NW mechanical resonators could provide an ideal model system for studying surface-related effects on the mechanical systems. The InAs NWs are synthesized by molecular beam epitaxy or metal organic chemical vapor deposition method. The InAs NWs show electronic conductance modulation resembling Coulomb blockade, which also manifests in the mechanical resonance signals in the form of damping and resonance frequency shift. Our result provides an evidence of strong electro-mechanical coupling in synthetic NW nanomechanical resonators.
Improving of Antibacterial Activity for Ceftazidime by Partially Purified Tannase from Penicillium expansum
Tannase has wide applications in food, beverage, brewing, cosmetics and chemical industries and one of the major application of tannase is the production of gallic acid. Gallic acid is used for manufacturing of trimethoprim. In the present study, a local fungal strain of Penicillium expansum A4 isolated from spoilt apples samples gave the highest production level of tannase. Tannase was partially purified with a recovery yield of 92.52% and 6.32 fold of purification by precipitation using ammonium sulfate at 50% saturation. Tannase led to increase antimicrobial activity of ceftazidime against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and S. aureus and had synergism effect at low concentrations of ceftazidime and thus tannase may be useful adjuvant agent for the treatment of many bacterial infections in combination with ceftazidime.
Genome Sequencing of the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strain 202-3
In this work the sequencing and genome characterization of a natural isolate of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast (strain 202-3), identified with potential for the production of second generation ethanol from sugarcane bagasse hydrolysates is presented. This strain was selected because its capability to consume xylose during the fermentation of sugarcane bagasse hydrolysates, taking into account that many strains of S. cerevisiae are incapable of processing this sugar. This advantage and other prominent positive aspects during fermentation profiles evaluated in bagasse hydrolysates made the strain 202-3 a candidate strain to improve the production of second-generation ethanol, which was proposed as a first step to study the strain at the genomic level. The molecular characterization was carried out by genome sequencing with the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform paired end; the assembly was performed with different programs, finally choosing the assembler ABYSS with kmer 89. Gene prediction was developed with the approach of hidden Markov models with Augustus. The genes identified were scored based on similarity with public databases of nucleotide and protein. Records were organized from ontological functions at different hierarchical levels, which identified central metabolic functions and roles of the S. cerevisiae strain 202-3, highlighting the presence of four possible new proteins, two of them probably associated with the positive consumption of xylose.
Evaluation of the Effect of Lactose Derived Monosaccharide on Galactooligosaccharides Production by β-Galactosidase
Numerous benefits of galactooligosaccharides (GOS) as prebiotics have motivated the study of enzymatic processes for their production. These processes have special complexities due to several factors that make difficult high productivity, such as enzyme type, reaction medium pH, substrate concentrations and presence of inhibitors, among others. In the present work the production of galactooligosaccharides (with different degrees of polymerization: two, three and four) from lactose was studied. The study considers the formulation of a mathematical model that predicts the production of GOS from lactose using the enzyme β-galactosidase. The effect of pH in the reaction was studied. For that, phosphate buffer was used and with this was evaluated three pH values ( and 7.0). Thus it was observed that at pH 6.0 the enzymatic activity insignificant. On the other hand, at pH 7.0 the enzymatic activity was approximately 27 times greater than at 6.5. The last result differs from previously reported results. Therefore, pH 7.0 was chosen as working pH. Additionally, the enzyme concentration was analyzed, which allowed observing that the effect of the concentration depends on the pH and the concentration was set for the following studies in 0.272 mM. Afterwards, experiments were performed varying the lactose concentration to evaluate its effects on the process and to generate the data for the adjustment of the mathematical model parameters. The mathematical model considers the reactions of lactose hydrolysis and transgalactosylation for the production of disaccharides and trisaccharides, with their inverse reactions. The production of tetrasaccharides was negligible and, because of that, it was not included in the model. The reaction was monitored by HPLC and for the quantitative analysis of the experimental data the Matlab programming language was used, including solvers for differential equations systems integration (ode15s) and nonlinear problems optimization (fminunc). The results confirm that the transgalactosylation and hydrolysis reactions are reversible, additionally inhibition by glucose and galactose is observed on the production of GOS. In relation to the production process of galactooligosaccharides, the results show that it is necessary to have high initial concentrations of lactose considering that favors the transgalactosylation reaction, while low concentrations favor hydrolysis reactions.
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 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 with the same conditions and without the use of template molecule was also performed. We have noticed that the fabricated 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 DX 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 a recoveries of 87 % and 95 %. Considering these advantages, this system provides a further perspective for food quality control in industrial fields.
Combinated Effect of Cadmium and Municipal Solid Waste Compost Addition on Physicochemical and Biochemical Proprieties of Soil and Lolium Perenne Production
Monitoring the effect addition bio-amendment as compost to an agricultural soil for growing plant lolium perenne irrigated with a CdCl2 solution at 50 µM on physicochemical soils characteristics and plant production in laboratory condition. Even microbial activity indexes (acid phosphatase, β-glucosidase, urease, and dehydrogenase) was determined. Basal respiration was the most affected index, while enzymatic activities and microbial biomass showed a decrease due to the cadmium treatments. We noticed that this clay soil with higher pH showed inhibition of basal respiration. Our results provide evidence for the importance of ameliorating effect compost on plant growth even when soil was added with cadmium solution at 50 µmoml.l-1. Soil heavy metal concentrations depended on heavy metals types, increased substantially with cadmium increase and with compost addition, but the recorded values were below the toxicity limits in soils and plants except for cadmium.
Metagenomic Analysis and Pharmacokinetics of Phage Therapy in the Treatment of Bovine Subclinical Mastitis
Metagenomic analysis of milk samples collected from local cattle breed, kankrej (Bos indicus), Gir (Bos indicus) and Crossbred (Bos indicus X Bos taurus) cattle harbouring subclinical mastitis was carried out by next-generation sequencing (NGS) 454 GS-FLX technology. Around 56 different species including members of Enterobacteriales, Pseudomonadales, Bacillales and Lactobacillales with varying abundance were detected in infected milk. The interesting presence of bacteriophages against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter and Yersinia species were observed, especially Enterobacteria and E. coli phages (0∙32%) in Kankrej, Enterobacteria and Staphylococcus phages (1∙05%) in Gir and Staphylococcus phages (2∙32%) in crossbred cattle. NGS findings suggest that phages may be involved in imparting natural resistance of the cattle against pathogens. Further infected milk samples were subjected for bacterial isolation. Fourteen different isolates were identified, and DNA was extracted. Genes (Tet-K, Msr-A, and Mec-A) providing antibiotic resistance to the bacteria were screened by Polymerase Chain Reaction and results were validated with traditional antibiotic assay. Total 3 bacteriophages were isolated from nearby environment of the cattle farm. The efficacy of phages was checked against multi-drug resistant bacteria, identified by PCR. In-vivo study was carried out for phage therapy in mammary glands of female rats “Wister albino”. Mammary glands were infused with MDR isolates for 3 consecutive days. Recovery was observed in infected rats after intramammary infusion of sterile phage suspension. From day 4th onwards, level of C-reactive protein was significant increases up to day 12th . However, significant reduction was observed between days 12th to 18th post treatment. Bacteriophages have significant potential as antibacterial agents and their ability to replicate exponentially within their hosts and their specificity, make them ideal candidates for more sustainable mastitis control.
Dietary Ergosan as a Supplemental Nutrient on Growth Performance, and Stress in Zebrafish (Danio Rerio)
In this study, the effects of different levels of Ergosan (control group (0), 2, 4 and 6 gr Ergosan per Kg diet) as a nutritional supplement were investigated on growth indices and stress in Zebrafish for 3 months. Larvae (4-day-old after hatching) were fed with experimental diet from the beginning of feeding until adult (adolescence) (average weight: 69.3 g, length: 5.1 cm). Different levels of Ergosan had no significant effect on rate survival (P < 0.05). The results showed that diet containing 6 gr Ergosan significantly caused the best FCR in Zebrafish (P < 0.05). By increasing the Ergosan diet, specific growth rate increased. Body weight gain and condition factor had significant differences (P < 0.05) as the highest and the lowest were observed in treatment 3 gr of Ergosan and control, respectively. The results showed that fish fed with experimental diet, had the highest resistance to environmental stresses compared to control, and the test temperature, oxygen, salinity and alkalinity samples containing 6 gr/kg, was significantly more resistance compared to the other treatments (P < 0.05). Overall, to achieve high resistance to environmental stress and increase final biomass using 6 gr/kg Ergosan in diet fish Zebrafish.
Controlling Dimensions and Shape of Carbon Nanotubes Using Nanoporous Anodic Alumina under Different Conditions
In situ synthesis of carbon nanotubes featuring different diameters (10-200 nm), lengths (1 to 100 µm) and periodically nanostructured shape was performed in a custom designed chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system using nanoporous anodic alumina (NAA) under different conditions. The morphology of the resulting CNTs/NAA composites and free-standing CNTs were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results confirm that highly ordered arrays of CNTs with precise control of nanotube dimensions in the range 20-200 nm with tube length in the range < 1 µm to > 100 μm and with periodically shaped morphology can be fabricated using nanostructured NAA templates prepared by anodization. This technique allows us to obtain tubes open at one / both ends with a uniform diameter along the pore length without using any metal catalyst. Our finding suggests that this fabrication strategy for designing new CNTs membranes and structures can be significant for emerging applications as molecular separation/transport, optical biosensing, and drug delivery.
Application of Human Biomonitoring and Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic Modelling to Quantify Exposure to Selected Toxic Elements in Soil
Current exposure models used in contaminated land risk assessment are highly conservative. Use of these models may lead to over-estimation of actual exposures, possibly resulting in negative financial implications due to un-necessary remediation. Thus, we are carrying out a study seeking to improve our understanding of human exposure to selected toxic elements in soil: arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), and lead (Pb) resulting from allotment land-use. The study employs biomonitoring and physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling to quantify human exposure to these elements. We recruited 37 allotment users (adults > 18 years old) in Scotland, UK, to participate in the study. Concentrations of the elements (and their bioaccessibility) were measured in allotment samples (soil and allotment produce). Amount of produce consumed by the participants and participants’ biological samples (urine and blood) were collected for up to 12 consecutive months. Ethical approval was granted by the University of Reading Research Ethics Committee. PBPK models (coded in MATLAB) were used to estimate the distribution and accumulation of the elements in key body compartments, thus indicating the internal body burden. Simulating low element intake (based on estimated ‘doses’ from produce consumption records), predictive models suggested that detection of these elements in urine and blood was possible within a given period of time following exposure. This information was used in planning biomonitoring, and is currently being used in the interpretation of test results from biological samples. Evaluation of the models is being carried out using biomonitoring data, by comparing model predicted concentrations and measured biomarker concentrations. The PBPK models will be used to generate bioavailability values, which could be incorporated in contaminated land exposure models. Thus, the findings from this study will promote a more sustainable approach to contaminated land management.
Transcriptome Analysis of Dry and Soaked Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Seeds in Response to Fast Neutron Irradiation
Fast neutron irradiation (FNI) can cause mutations on plant genome but, in the most of cases, these irradiated plants have not shown significant characteristics phenotypically. In this study, we utilized RNA-Seq to generate a high-resolution transcriptome map of the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) genome effected by FNI. To quantify the different transcription levels in tomato irradiated by FNI, tomato seeds were irradiated by using MC-50 cyclotron (KIRAMS, Korea) for 0, 30 and 90 minutes, respectively. To investigate the effects on the pre-soaking condition, experimental groups were divided into dry and soaked seeds, which were soaked for 8 hours before irradiation. There was no noticeable difference in the percentage germination (PG) among dry seeds, while irradiated soaked seeds have about 10 % lower PG compared to the unirradiated control group. Using whole transcriptome sequencing by HiSeq 2000, we analyzed the differential gene expression in response to different time of FNI in dry and soaked seeds. More than 1.4 million base pair reads were mapped onto the tomato reference genome and the expression pattern differences between irradiated and unirradiated seeds were assessed. In 0, 30 and 90 minutes irradiation, 12,135, 28,495 and 28,675 transcripts were generated, respectively. Gene ontology analysis suggested the different enrichment of transcripts involved in response to different FNI. The present study showed that FNI effects on plant gene expression, which can become a new parameters for evaluating the responses against FNI on plants. In addition, the comparative analysis of differentially expressed genes in D and S seeds by FNI will also give us a chance to deep explore novel candidate genes for FNI, which could be a good model system to understand the mechanisms behind the adaption of plant to space biology research.
Extracellular Laccase Production by Co-culture between Galactomyces reessii 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 reessii 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. reessii 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.
Molecular Approach for the Detection of Lactic Acid Bacteria in the Kenyan Spontaneously Fermented Milk, Mursik
Many spontaneously fermented milk products are produced in Kenya, where they are integral to the human diet and play a central role in enhancing food security and income generation via small-scale enterprises. Fermentation enhances product properties such as taste, aroma, shelf-life, safety, texture, and nutritional value. Some of these products have demonstrated therapeutic and probiotic effects although recent reports have linked some to death, biotoxin infections, and esophageal cancer. These products are mostly processed from poor quality raw materials under unhygienic conditions resulting to inconsistent product quality and limited shelf-lives. Though very popular, research on their processing technologies is low, and none of the products has been produced under controlled conditions using starter cultures. To modernize the processing technologies for these products, our study aims at describing the microbiology and biochemistry of a representative Kenyan spontaneously fermented milk product, Mursik using modern biotechnology (DNA sequencing) and their chemical composition. Moreover, co-creation processes reflecting stakeholders’ experiences on traditional fermented milk production technologies and utilization, ideals and senses of value, which will allow the generation of products based on common ground for rapid progress will be discussed. Knowledge of the value of clean starting raw material will be emphasized, the need for the definition of fermentation parameters highlighted, and standard equipment employment to attain controlled fermentation discussed. This presentation will review the available information regarding traditional fermented milk (Mursik) and highlight our current research work on the application of molecular approaches (metagenomics) for the valorization of Mursik production process through starter culture/ probiotic strains isolation and identification, and quality and safety aspects of the product. The importance of the research and future research areas on the same subject will also be highlighted.
Production of Lignocellulosic Enzymes by Bacillus safensis LCX using Agro-Food Wastes in Solid State Fermentation
The increasing demand for renewable fuels and chemicals is pressuring manufacturing industry toward finding more sustainable cost-effective resources. Lignocellulose, such as agro-food wastes, is a suitable equivalent to petroleum for fine chemicals and fuels production. The complex structure of lignocellulose, however, requires a variety of enzymes in order to degrade its components into their respective building blocks that can be used further for the production of various value added products. This study aimed to isolate bacterial strain with the ability to produce a variety of lignocellulosic enzymes. One bacterial isolate was identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis as Bacillus safensis LCX found to have CMCase, xylanase, manganese peroxidase, lignin peroxidase, and laccase activities. The enzymes production was induced by growing Bacillus safensis LCX in solid state fermentation using wheat straw, wheat bran, and corn stover. The activities of enzymes were determined by specific colorimetric assays. This study presents Bacillus safensis LCX as a promising source for lignocellulosic enzymes. These findings can extend the knowledge on agro-food wastes valorization strategies toward a sustainable production of fuels and chemicals.
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 some bioprocess pattern evolution using especially trained neural network, to estimate the modeling parameters and to globally control the bioprocesses with hierarchically put into operation: an expert system and a fuzzy controller. The design of the control algorithm is presented as well as its tuning through realistic simulations. Taking in 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.
In silico Screening, Identification and Validation of Cryptosporidium hominis Hypothetical Protein and Virtual Screening of Inhibitors as Therapeutics
Computational approaches to predict structure, function and other biological characteristics of proteins are becoming more common in comparison to the traditional methods in drug discovery. Cryptosporidiosis is a major zoonotic diarrheal disease particularly in children, which is caused primarily by Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum. Currently, there are no vaccines for cryptosporidiosis and recommended drugs are not effective. With the availability of complete genome sequence of C. hominis, new targets have been recognized for the development of effective and better drugs and/or vaccines. We identified a unique hypothetical epitopic protein in C. hominis genome through BLASTP analysis. A 3D model of the hypothetical protein was generated using I-Tasser server through threading methodology. The quality of the model was validated through Ramachandran plot by PROCHECK server. The functional annotation of the hypothetical protein through DALI server revealed structural similarity with human Transportin 3. Phylogenetic analysis for this hypothetical protein also showed C. hominis hypothetical protein (CUV04613) was the closely related to human transportin 3 protein. The 3D protein model is further subjected to virtual screening study with inhibitors from the Zinc Database by using Dock Blaster software. Docking study reported N-(3-chlorobenzyl) ethane-1,2-diamine as the best inhibitor in terms of docking score. Docking analysis elucidated that Leu 525, Ile 526, Glu 528, Glu 529 are critical residues for ligand–receptor interactions. The molecular dynamic simulation was done to access the reliability of the binding pose of inhibitor and protein complex using GROMACS software at 10ns time point. Trajectories were analyzed at each 2.5 ns time interval, among which, H-bond with LEU-525 and GLY- 530 are significantly present in MD trajectories. Furthermore, antigenic determinants of the protein were determined with the help of DNA Star software. Our study findings showed a great potential in order to provide insights in the development of new drug(s) or vaccine(s) for control as well as prevention of cryptosporidiosis among humans and animals.
Preliminary Evaluation of the Probiotic Potential of Leuconostoc Mesonteroides Strain Isolated from Goat's Milk
One strain (V1) of Leuconostoc mesonteroides was isolated from goat’s milk collected from El Bayadh which is located in the west of Algeria and was characterized by phenotypic and biochemical methods. This strain was tested for their antimicrobial activity against indicator bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 43300, Listeria innocua ATCC 33090, Listeria ivanovii ATCC 19119) and was evaluated for certain properties relevant to probiotic including acid resistance (pH 2 ; 3and 4), bile tolerance at 0.5%, 1% and 2%, pepsin resistance 3mg/ml at pH 2 and 3, hemolytic activity and antibiotics sensitivity. Our results revealed the strain V1 showed antagonistic activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria innocua and Listeria ivanovii, due to a production of proteinous nature substances. The strain was resistant to pH 3 and 4, bile salts at 0.5%, 1% and 2% and pepsin at pH 3; and was γ-hemolytic and susceptible to four antibiotics: Chloramphenicol, pristinamycin, Clindamycin and Lincomycin. These results may be considered the strain V1 as suitable probiotic candidate.
Fabricating Method for Complex 3D Microfluidic Channel Using Soluble Wax Mold
PDMS (Polydimethylsiloxane)-based microfluidic device has been recently applied to area of biomedical research, tissue engineering, and diagnostics because PDMS is low cost, nontoxic, optically transparent, gas-permeable, and especially biocompatible. Generally, PDMS microfluidic devices are fabricated by conventional soft lithography. Microfabrication requires expensive cleanroom facilities and a lot of time; however, only two-dimensional or simple three-dimensional structures can be fabricated. In this study, we introduce fabricating method for complex three-dimensional microfluidic channels using soluble wax mold. Using the 3D printing technique, we firstly fabricated three-dimensional mold which consists of soluble wax material. The PDMS pre-polymer is cast around, followed by PDMS casting and curing. The three-dimensional casting mold was removed from PDMS by chemically dissolved with methanol and acetone. In this work, two preliminary experiments were carried out. Firstly, the solubility of several waxes was tested using various solvents, such as acetone, methanol, hexane, and IPA. We found the combination between wax and solvent which dissolves the wax. Next, side effects of the solvent were investigated during the curing process of PDMS pre-polymer. While some solvents let PDMS drastically swell, methanol and acetone let PDMS swell only 2% and 6%, respectively. Thus, methanol and acetone can be used to dissolve wax in PDMS without any serious impact. Based on the preliminary tests, three-dimensional PDMS microfluidic channels was fabricated using the mold which was printed out using 3D printer. With the proposed fabricating technique, PDMS-based microfluidic devices have advantages of fast prototyping, low cost, optically transparence, as well as having complex three-dimensional geometry. Acknowledgements: This research was supported by Supported by a Korea University Grant and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF).
Microbial Bioproduction with Design of Metabolism and Enzyme Engineering
Technologies of metabolic engineering or synthetic biology are essential for effective microbial bioproduction. It is especially important to develop an in silico tool for designing a metabolic pathway producing an unnatural and valuable chemical such as fossil materials of fuel or plastics. We here demonstrated two in silico tools for designing novel metabolic pathways: BioProV and HyMeP. Furthermore, we succeeded in creating an artificial metabolic pathway by enzyme engineering.
Facile Surfactant-Assisted Green Synthesis of Stable Biogenic Gold Nanoparticles with Potential Antibacterial Activity
The major issue which decides the impending use of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in nanobiotechnological applications is their particle size and stability. Often the AuNPs obtained biomimetically are considered useless owing to their instability in the aqueous medium and thereby limiting the widespread acceptance of this facile green synthesis procedure. So, the use of nontoxic surfactants is warranted to stabilize the biogenic nanoparticles (NPs). But does the surfactant only play a role in stabilizing by being adsorbed to the NPs surface or can it have any other significant contribution in synthesis process and controlling their size as well as shape? Keeping this idea in mind, AuNPs were synthesized by using surfactant treated (lechate) and untreated (cell lysate supernatant) Bacillus licheniformis cell extract. The cell extracts mediated reduction of chloroauric acid (HAuCl 4) in the presence of non-ionic surfactant, Tween 20 (TW20), and its effect on the AuNPs stability was studied. Interestingly, the surfactant used in the study served as potential alternative to harvest cellular enzymes involved in bioreduction process in a hassle free condition. The surfactants ability to solubilize/leach membrane proteins and simultaneously stabilizing the AuNPs could have advantage from process point of view as it will reduce the time and economics involve in the nanofabrication of biogenic NPs. The synthesis was substantiated with UV-Vis spectroscopy, Dynamic light scattering study, FTIR spectroscopy, and Transmission electron microscopy. The Zeta potential of AuNPs solutions was measured routinely to corroborate the stability observations recorded visually. Highly stable, ultra-small AuNPs of 2.6 nm size were obtained from the study. Further, the biological efficacy of the obtained AuNPs as potential antibacterial agent was evaluated against Bacilllus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli by observing the zone of inhibition. This potential of AuNPs of size < 3 nm as antibacterial agent could pave way for development of new antimicrobials and overcoming the problems of antibiotics resistance
Identification and Characterization of Genes Expressed in Diseased Condition Silkworms (Bombyx mori): A Systematic Investigation
The silkworm Bombyx mori is a commercially important insect, but a major roadblock in silk production are silkworm diseases. Flacherie is one of the diseases of the silkworm, that affects the midgut of the 4th and 5th instar larvae and eventually makes them lethargic, stop feeding and finally result in their death. The concerned disease is a result of bacterial and viral infection and in some instances a combination of both. The present study aims to identify and study the expression level of genes in the flacherie condition. For the said work, total RNA was isolated from the infected larvae at their most probable infectious instar and cDNA was synthesized using Reverse Transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). This cDNA was then used to amplify disease relalted genes whose expression levels were checked using quantitaive PCR (qPCR) using the double delta Ct method. Cry toxin receptors like APN and BtR-175, ROS mediator Dual Oxidase are few proteins whose genes were overexpressed. Interestingly, pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) C-type lectins' genes were found to be downregulated. The results explain about the strong expression of genes that can distinguish the concerned protein in the midgut of diseased silkworm and thereby aiding knowledge in the field of inhibitor designing research.
An Efficient Hybrid Feedstock Pretreatment Technique for the Release of Fermentable Sugar from Cassava Peels for Biofuel Production
Agricultural residues present a low-cost feedstock for bioenergy production around the world. Cassava peels waste are rich in organic molecules that can be readily converted to value added products such as biomaterials and biofuels. However, due to the presence of high proportion of structural carbohydrates and lignin, the hydrolysis of this feedstock is imperative to achieve maximum substrate utilization and energy yield. This study model and optimises the release of Fermentable Sugar (FS) from cassava peels waste using the Response Surface Methodology. The investigated pretreatment input parameters consisted of soaking temperature (oC), soaking time (hours), autoclave duration (minutes), acid concentration (% v/v), substrate solid loading (% w/v) within the range of 30 to 70, 0 to 24, 5 to 20, 0 to 5 and 2 to 10 respectively. The Box-Behnken design was used to generate 46 experimental runs which were investigated for FS release. The obtained data were used to fit a quadratic model. A coefficient of determination of 0.87 and F value of 8.73 was obtained indicating the good fitness of the model. The predicted optimum pretreatment conditions were 69.62 oC soaking temperature, 2.57 hours soaking duration, 5 minutes autoclave duration, 3.68 % v/v HCl and 9.65 % w/v solid loading corresponding to FS yield of 91.83g/l (0.92 g/g cassava peels) thus 58% improvement on the non-optimised pretreatment. Our findings demonstrate an efficient pretreatment model for fermentable sugar release from cassava peels waste for various bioprocesses.
LaeA/1-Velvet Interplay in Aspergillus and Trichoderma: Regulation of Secondary Metabolites and Cellulases
Filamentous fungi are of considerable economic and social significance for human health, nutrition and in white biotechnology. These organisms are dominant producers of a range of primary metabolites such as citric acid, microbial lipids (biodiesel) and higher unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs). In particular, they produce also important but structurally complex secondary metabolites with enormous therapeutic applications in pharmaceutical industry, for example: cephalosporin, penicillin, taxol, zeranol and ergot alkaloids. Several fungal secondary metabolites, which are significantly relevant to human health do not only include antibiotics, but also e.g. lovastatin, a well-known antihypercholesterolemic agent produced by Aspergillus. terreus, or aflatoxin, a carcinogen produced by A. flavus. In addition to their roles for human health and agriculture, some fungi are industrially and commercially important: Species of the ascomycete genus Hypocrea spp. (teleomorph of Trichoderma) have been demonstrated as efficient producer of highly active cellulolytic enzymes. This trait makes them effective in disrupting and depolymerization of lignocellulosic materials and thus applicable tools in number of biotechnological areas as diverse as clothes-washing detergent, animal feed, and pulp and fuel productions. Fungal LaeA/LAE1 (Loss of aflR Expression A) homologs their gene products act at the interphase between secondary metabolisms, cellulase production and development. Lack of the corresponding genes results in significant physiological changes including loss of secondary metabolite and lignocellulose degrading enzymes production. At the molecular level, the encoded proteins are presumably methyltransferases or demethylases which act directly or indirectly at heterochromatin and interact with velvet domain proteins. Velvet proteins bind to DNA and affect expression of secondary metabolites (SMs) genes and cellulases. The dynamic interplay between LaeA/LAE1, velvet proteins and additional interaction partners is the key for an understanding of the coordination of metabolic and morphological functions of fungi and is required for a biotechnological control of the formation of desired bioactive products. Aspergilli and Trichoderma represent different biotechnologically significant species with significant differences in the LaeA/LAE1-Velvet protein machinery and their target proteins. We, therefore, performed a comparative study of the interaction partners of this machinery and the dynamics of the various protein-protein interactions using our robust proteomic and mass spectrometry techniques. This enhances our knowledge about the fungal coordination of secondary metabolism, cellulase production and development and thereby will certainly improve recombinant fungal strain construction for the production of industrial secondary metabolite or lignocellulose hydrolytic enzymes.
Harnessing the Generation of Ferromagnetic and Silver Nanostructures from Tropical Aquatic Microbial Nanofactories
Iron based ferromagnetic nanoparticles (IONP) and silver nanostructures (AgNP) have found a wide range of application in antimicrobial therapy, cell targeting, and environmental applications. As such, the design of well-defined monodisperse IONPs and AgNPs have become an essential tool in nanotechnology. Fabrication of these nanostructures using conventional methods is not environmentally conducive and weigh heavily on energy and outlays. Selected microorganisms possess the innate ability to reduce metallic ions in colloidal aqueous solution to generate nanoparticles. Hence, harnessing this potential is a way forward in constructing microbial nano-factories, capable of churning out high yields of well-defined IONP’s and AgNP's with physicochemical characteristics on par with the best synthetically produced nanostructures. In this paper, we report the isolation and characterization of bacterial strains isolated from the tropical marine and freshwater ecosystems of Malaysia that demonstrated facile and rapid generation of ferromagnetic nanoparticles and silver nanostructures when precursors such as FeCl₃.6H₂O and AgNO₃ were added to the cell-free bacterial lysate in colloidal solution. Characterization of these nanoparticles was carried out using FESEM, UV Spectrophotometer, XRD, DLS and FTIR. This aerobic bioprocess was carried out at ambient temperature and humidity and has the potential to be developed for environmental friendly, cost effective large scale production of IONP’s. A preliminary bioprocess study on the harvesting time, incubation temperature and pH was also carried out to determine pertinent abiotic parameters contributing to the optimal production of these nanostructures.
Sensitivity, Specificity and Efficiency Real-Time PCR Using SYBR Green Method to Determine Porcine and Bovine DNA Using Specific Primer Cytochrome B Gene
Real-time PCR is a molecular biology technique that is currently being widely used for halal services to differentiating between porcine and bovine DNA. The useful of technique become very important for student or workers (who works in the laboratory) to learn how the technique could be run smoothly without fail. Same concept with conventional PCR, real-time PCR also needed DNA template, primer, enzyme polymerase, dNTP, and buffer. The difference is in real-time PCR, have additional component namely fluorescent dye. The most common use of fluorescent dye in real-time PCR is SYBR green. The purpose of this study was to find out how sensitive, specific and efficient real-time PCR technique was combined with SYBR green method and specific primers of CYT b. The results showed that real-time PCR technique using SYBR Green, capable of detecting porcine and bovine DNA concentrations up to 0.0001 µl/ng. The level of efficiency for both types of DNA was 91% (90-110). Not only that in specific primer CYT b bovine primer could detect only bovine DNA, and porcine primer could detect only porcine primer. So, from the study could be concluded that real-time PCR technique that was combined with specific primer CYT b and SYBR green method, was sensitive, specific and efficient to detect porcine and bovine DNA.
Physicochemical Properties of Soy Protein Isolate (SPI): Starch Conjugates Treated by Sonication
In recent years there is growing interested in using soy protein because of several advantages compared to other protein sources, such as high nutritional value, steady supply, and low cost. Soy protein isolate (SPI) is the most refined soy protein product. It contains 90% protein in a moisture-free form and has some desirable functionalities. Creating a protein-polysaccharide conjugate to be the emulsifying agent rather than the protein alone can markedly enhance its stability. This study was undertaken to examine the effects of ultrasound treatments on the physicochemical properties of SPI-starch conjugates. The soy protein isolate (SPI, Pro-Fam® 955) samples were obtained from the Archer Daniels Midland Company. Protein concentrations were analyzed by the Bardford method using BSA as the standard. The volume-weighted mean diameters D [4,3] of protein–polysaccharide conjugates were measured by dynamic light scattering (DLS). Surface hydrophobicity of the conjugates was measured by using 1-anilino-8-naphthalenesulfonate (ANS) (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO, USA). Increasing the pH from 2 to 12 resulted in increased protein solubility. The highest solubility was 69.2% for the sample treated with ultrasonication at pH 12, while the lowest (9.13%) was observed in the Control. For the other pH conditions, the protein solubility values ranged from 40.53 to 49.65%. The ultrasound treatment significantly decreased the particle sizes of the SPI-modified starch conjugates. While the D [4,3] for the Control was 731.6 nm, it was 293.7 nm for the samples treated by sonication at pH 12. The surface hydrophobicity (H0) of SPI-starch at all pH conditions were significantly higher than those in the Control. Ultrasonication was proven to be effective in improving the solubility and emulsifying properties of soy protein isolate-starch conjugates.
Industrial Effluents as Raw Material for Xanthan Production
Industry generally faces the issue of producing waste effluents in large amounts and with high organic loads. Untreated or insufficiently treated waste effluents have an extremely negative influence on the environment, which makes reducing pollution a high priority. This is achieved by using technologies which generate as little waste as possible, utilize raw materials to their full extent and use secondary raw materials. Thus, wastewaters from one industry become useful raw materials for another industry, which not only produces a new product but also lowers the amount of pollution of these wastewaters. Effluents generated in the food processing industry represent significant environmental pollutants due to large amounts of inorganic and organic substances. Additionally, these effluents represent potential raw materials for the production of several high value biotechnological products, such as xanthan. Xanthan is a complex exopolysaccharide produced by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, and has a wide range of applications due to its various beneficial properties. Due to its increasing use in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, agricultural, and petroleum industries, the world market of xanthan is expected to rise significantly in the next decade. In this research, several effluents obtained from different food and beverage processing industries were used as the basis for the cultivation media for xanthan production with Xanthomonas campestris ATCC 13951. Utilized effluents were first analyzed in terms of parameters that are significant for biotechnological production. Based on the obtained results, effluents were prepared and used as a basis for the cultivation media in order to examine the possibility of their utilization as a raw material in this biotechnological process. Additionally, it was important to experimentally determine the absence of substances that have an inhibitory effect on the metabolism of the production microorganism. The success of the performed biotechnological process was determined by measuring the amount of the obtained biopolymer and rheology of the obtained cultivation media, and by calculating conversion rate of carbon source into xanthan, as well as conversion rates of the most significant nutrients. The obtained results showed that all applied industrial effluents can be used for xanthan biosynthesis and represent a basis for further optimization of this biotechnological process in order to produce higher quantities of high quality xanthan. Additionally, this biotechnological process and its application could reduce the negative environmental impact of industrial effluents. Furthermore, the possibility of utilization of effluents generated in several different branches of food and beverage processing industries as raw material in the aforementioned biotechnological process is of the utmost importance to sustainable development.