Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 14

Biological, Biomolecular, Agricultural, Food and Biotechnological Engineering

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  • 14
    Evaluation of Electro-Flocculation for Biomass Production of Marine Microalgae Phaodactylum tricornutum

    The commercial production of biodiesel using microalgae demands a high-energy input for harvesting biomass, making production economically unfeasible. Methods currently used involve mechanical, chemical, and biological procedures. In this work, a flocculation system is presented as a cost and energy effective process to increase biomass production of Phaeodactylum tricornutum. This diatom is the only species of the genus that present fast growth and lipid accumulation ability that are of great interest for biofuel production. The algae, selected from the Bank of Microalgae, Institute of Biology, Federal University of Bahia (Brazil), have been bred in tubular reactor with photoperiod of 12 h (clear/dark), providing luminance of about 35 μmol photons m-2s-1, and temperature of 22 °C. The medium used for growing cells was the Conway medium, with addition of silica. The seaweed growth curve was accompanied by cell count in Neubauer camera and by optical density in spectrophotometer, at 680 nm. The precipitation occurred at the end of the stationary phase of growth, 21 days after inoculation, using two methods: centrifugation at 5000 rpm for 5 min, and electro-flocculation at 19 EPD and 95 W. After precipitation, cells were frozen at -20 °C and, subsequently, lyophilized. Biomass obtained by electro-flocculation was approximately four times greater than the one achieved by centrifugation. The benefits of this method are that no addition of chemical flocculants is necessary and similar cultivation conditions can be used for the biodiesel production and pharmacological purposes. The results may contribute to improve biodiesel production costs using marine microalgae.

    A Review on Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture in Southeast Nigeria

    Climate change has both negative and positive effects in agricultural production. For agriculture to be sustainable in adverse climate change condition, some natural measures are needed. The issue is to produce more food with available natural resources and reduce the contribution of agriculture to climate change. The study reviewed climate change and sustainable agriculture in southeast Nigeria. Data from the study were from secondary sources. Ten scientific papers were consulted and data for the review were collected from three. The objectives of the paper were as follows: to review the effect of climate change on one major arable crop in southeast Nigeria (yam; Dioscorea rotundata); evident of climate change impact and methods for sustainable agricultural production in adverse weather condition. Some climatic parameter as sunshine, relative humidity and rainfall have negative relationship with yam production and significant at 10% probability. Crop production was predicted to decline by 25% per hectare by 2060 while livestock production has increased the incidence of diseases and pathogens as the major effect to agriculture. Methods for sustainable agriculture and damage of natural resources by climate change were highlighted. Agriculture needs to be transformed as climate changes to enable the sector to be sustainable. There should be a policy in place to facilitate the integration of sustainability in Nigeria agriculture.

    Impact of Long Term Application of Municipal Solid Waste on Physicochemical and Microbial Parameters and Heavy Metal Distribution in Soils in Accordance to Its Agricultural Uses

    Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), being a rich source of organic materials, can be used for agricultural applications as an important source of nutrients for soil and plants. This is also an alternative beneficial management practice for MSW generated in developing countries. In the present study, MSW treated soil samples from last four to six years at farmer’s field in Rohtak and Gurgaon states (Haryana, India) were collected. The samples were analyzed for all-important agricultural parameters and compared with the control untreated soil samples. The treated soil at farmer’s field showed increase in total N by 48 to 68%, P by 45.7 to 51.3%, and K by 60 to 67% compared to untreated soil samples. Application of sewage sludge at different sites led to increase in microbial biomass C by 60 to 68% compared to untreated soil. There was significant increase in total Cu, Cr, Ni, Fe, Pb, and Zn in all sewage sludge amended soil samples; however, concentration of all the metals were still below the current permitted (EU) limits. To study the adverse effect of heavy metals accumulation on various soil microbial activities, the sewage sludge samples (from wastewater treatment plant at Gurgaon) were artificially contaminated with heavy metal concentration above the EU limits. They were then applied to soil samples with different rates (0.5 to 4.0%) and incubated for 90 days under laboratory conditions. The samples were drawn at different intervals and analyzed for various parameters like pH, EC, total N, P, K, microbial biomass C, carbon mineralization, and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) exactable heavy metals. The results were compared to the uncontaminated sewage sludge. The increasing level of sewage sludge from 0.5 to 4% led to build of organic C and total N, P and K content at the early stages of incubation. But, organic C was decreased after 90 days because of decomposition of organic matter. Biomass production was significantly increased in both contaminated and uncontaminated sewage soil samples, but also led to slight increases in metal accumulation and their bioavailability in soil. The maximum metal concentrations were found in treatment with 4% of contaminated sewage sludge amendment.

    Effect of Entomopathogenic Fungi on the Food Consumption of Acrididae Species

    This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of Aspergillus species on acridid populations which are major agricultural pests of rice, sugarcane, wheat, maize and fodder crops in Pakistan. Three and replicates i.e. Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus and A. niger, excluding the control, were held under laboratory conditions. It was observed that consumption faecal production of acridids was significantly reduced after the pathogenic application of Aspergillus. In the control replicate, the mortality ratio for stage (N4-N6) was maximum on day 2nd i.e. [F10.7 = 18.33, P < 0.05] followed by [F4.20 = 07.85, P < 0.05] and [F3.77 = 06.11, P < 0.05] on 4th and 3rd day, respectively. Similarly, it was a minimum i.e. [F0.48 = 84.65, P < 0.05] on the 1st day. It was also noted that faecal production of Acridid nymphs was not significantly affected when treated with conidial concentration in H2O formulation; however, it was significantly reduced after the contamination with conidial concentration in oil. The high morality of acridids after contamination of Aspergillus supports their use as bio-control agent for reducing pest population. The present study recommends that exploration and screening must be conducted to provide additional pathogens for evaluation as potential biological control against grasshoppers and locusts.

    Chemical and Sensory Properties of Chardonnay Wines Produced in Different Oak Barrels

    French oak and American oak barrels are most famous all over the world, but barrels of different origin can also be used for obtaining high quality wines. The aim of this research was to compare the influence of different Slovenian (Croatian) and French oak barrels on the quality of Chardonnay wine. Grapes were grown in the Croatian wine growing region of Kutjevo in 2015. Chardonnay wines were tested for basic oenological parameters (alcohol, extract, reducing sugar, SO2, acidity), total polyphenols content (Folin-Ciocalteu method), antioxidant activity (ABTS and DPPH method) and colour density. Sensory evaluation was performed by students of viticulture/oenology. Samples produced by classical fermentation and ageing in French oak barrels had better results for polyphenols and sensory evaluation (especially low toasting level) than samples in Slovenian barrels. All tested samples were scored as a “quality” or “premium quality” wines. Sur lie method of fermentation and ageing in Slovenian oak barrel had very good extraction of polyphenols and high antioxidant activity with the usage of authentic yeasts, while commercial yeast strain resulted in worse chemical and sensory parameters.

    Increase of Atmosphere CO2 Concentration and Its Effects on Culture/Weed Interaction

    Climate change projections based on the emission of greenhouse effect gases suggest an increase in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in up to 750 ppm. In this scenario, we have significant changes in plant development, and consequently, in agricultural systems. This study aims to evaluate the interaction between culture (Glycine max) and weed (Amaranthus viridis and Euphorbia heterophylla) in two conditions of CO2, 400 and 800 ppm. The results showed that the coexistence of culture with both weed species resulted in a mutual loss, with decrease in dry mass productivity of culture + weeds, in both conditions of CO2. However, when the culture is grown in association with E. heterophylla, total dry mass of culture + weed was smaller at 800 ppm. Soybean was more aggressive in comparison to the A. viridis in both the concentrations of CO2, but not in relation to the E. heterophylla.

    Characterization and Optimization of Culture Conditions for Sulphur Oxidizing Bacteria after Isolation from Rhizospheric Mustard Soil, Decomposing Sites and Pit House

    Sulphur oxidizing bacteria (SOB) have marked their significant role in perspectives of maintaining healthy environment as researchers from all over the world tested and apply these in waste water treatment plants, bioleaching of heavy metals, deterioration of bridge structures, concrete and for bioremediation purposes, etc. Also, these SOB are well adapted in all kinds of environment ranging from normal soil, water habitats to extreme natural sources like geothermal areas, volcanic eruptions, black shale and acid rock drainage (ARD). SOB have been isolated from low pH environment of anthropogenic origin like acid mine drainage (AMD) and bioleaching heaps, hence these can work efficiently in different environmental conditions. Besides having many applications in field of environment science, they may be proven to be very beneficial in area of agriculture as sulphur is the fourth major macronutrients required for the growth of plants. More amount of sulphur is needed by pulses and oilseed crops with respect to the cereal grains. Due to continuous use of land for overproduction of more demanding sulphur utilizing crops and without application of sulphur fertilizers, its concentration is decreasing day by day, and thus, sulphur deficiency is becoming a great problem as it affects the crop productivity and quality. Sulphur is generally found in soils in many forms which are unavailable for plants (cannot be use by plants) like elemental sulphur, thiosulphate which can be taken up by bacteria and converted into simpler forms usable by plants by undergoing a series of transformations. So, keeping the importance of sulphur in view for various soil types, oilseed crops and role of microorganisms in making them available to plants, we made an effort to isolate, optimize, and characterize SOB. Three potential strains of bacteria were isolated, namely SSF7, SSA21, and SSS6, showing sulphate production of concentration, i.e. 2.268, 3.102, and 2.785 mM, respectively. Also, these were optimized for various culture conditions like carbon, nitrogen source, pH, temperature, and incubation time, and characterization was also done.

    Susceptibility of Spodoptera littoralis, Field Populations in Egypt to Chlorantraniliprole and the Role of Detoxification Enzymes

    The cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval) is a major insect pest of vegetables and cotton crops in Egypt, and exhibits different levels of tolerance to certain insecticides. Chlorantraniliprole has been registered recently in Egypt for control this insect. The susceptibilities of three S. littoralis populations collected from El Behaira governorate, north Egypt to chlorantraniliprole were determined by leaf-dipping technique on 4th instar larvae. Obvious variation of toxicity was observed among the laboratory susceptible, and three field populations with LC50 values ranged between 1.53 µg/ml and 6.22 µg/ml. However, all the three field populations were less susceptible to chlorantraniliprole than a laboratory susceptible population. The most tolerant populations were sampled from El Delengat (ED) Province where S. littoralis had been frequently challenged by insecticides. Certain enzyme activity assays were carried out to be correlated with the mechanism of the observed field population tolerance. All field populations showed significantly enhanced activities of detoxification enzymes compared with the susceptible strain. The regression analysis between chlorantraniliprole toxicities and enzyme activities revealed that the highest correlation is between α-esterase or β-esterase (α-β-EST) activity and collected field strains susceptibility, otherwise this correlation is not significant (P > 0.05). Synergism assays showed the ED and susceptible strains could be synergized by known detoxification inhibitors such as piperonyl butoxide (PBO), triphenyl phosphate (TPP) and diethyl-maleate (DEM) at different levels (1.01-8.76-fold and 1.09-2.94 fold, respectively), TPP showed the maximum synergism in both strains. The results show that there is a correlation between the enzyme activity and tolerance, and carboxylic-esterase (Car-EST) is likely the main detoxification mechanism responsible for tolerance of S. littoralis to chlorantraniliprole.

    Effects of Irrigation Scheduling and Soil Management on Maize (Zea mays L.) Yield in Guinea Savannah Zone of Nigeria

    The main objective of any irrigation program is the development of an efficient water management system to sustain crop growth and development and avoid physiological water stress in the growing plants. Field experiment to evaluate the effects of some soil moisture conservation practices on yield and water use efficiency (WUE) of maize was carried out in three locations (i.e. Mubi and Yola in the northern Guinea Savannah and Ganye in the southern Guinea Savannah of Adamawa State, Nigeria) during the dry seasons of 2013 and 2014. The experiment consisted of three different irrigation levels (7, 10 and 12 day irrigation intervals), two levels of mulch (mulch and un-mulched) and two tillage practices (no tillage and minimum tillage) arranged in a randomized complete block design with split-split plot arrangement and replicated three times. The Blaney-Criddle method was used for measuring crop evapotranspiration. The results indicated that seven-day irrigation intervals and mulched treatment were found to have significant effect (P>0.05) on grain yield and water use efficiency in all the locations. The main effect of tillage was non-significant (P<0.05) on grain yield and WUE. The interaction effects of irrigation and mulch were significant (P>0.05) on grain yield and WUE at Mubi and Yola. Generally, higher grain yield and WUE were recorded on mulched and seven-day irrigation intervals, whereas lower values were recorded on un-mulched with 12-day irrigation intervals. Tillage exerts little influence on the yield and WUE. Results from Ganye were found to be generally higher than those recorded in Mubi and Yola; it also showed that an irrigation interval of 10 days with mulching could be adopted for the Ganye area, while seven days interval is more appropriate for Mubi and Yola.

    CompPSA: A Component-Based Pairwise RNA Secondary Structure Alignment Algorithm
    The biological function of an RNA molecule depends on its structure. The objective of the alignment is finding the homology between two or more RNA secondary structures. Knowing the common functionalities between two RNA structures allows a better understanding and a discovery of other relationships between them. Besides, identifying non-coding RNAs -that is not translated into a protein- is a popular application in which RNA structural alignment is the first step A few methods for RNA structure-to-structure alignment have been developed. Most of these methods are partial structure-to-structure, sequence-to-structure, or structure-to-sequence alignment. Less attention is given in the literature to the use of efficient RNA structure representation and the structure-to-structure alignment methods are lacking. In this paper, we introduce an O(N2) Component-based Pairwise RNA Structure Alignment (CompPSA) algorithm, where structures are given as a component-based representation and where N is the maximum number of components in the two structures. The proposed algorithm compares the two RNA secondary structures based on their weighted component features rather than on their base-pair details. Extensive experiments are conducted illustrating the efficiency of the CompPSA algorithm when compared to other approaches and on different real and simulated datasets. The CompPSA algorithm shows an accurate similarity measure between components. The algorithm gives the flexibility for the user to align the two RNA structures based on their weighted features (position, full length, and/or stem length). Moreover, the algorithm proves scalability and efficiency in time and memory performance.
    Displaying of GnRH Peptides on Bacteriophage T7 and Its Immunogenicity in Mice Model

    T7 phage could be used as a perfect vector for peptides expression and haptens presentation. T7-3GnRH recombinant phage was constructed by inserting three copies of Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) gene into the multiple cloning site of T7 Select 415-1b phage genome. The positive T7-3GnRH phage was selected by using polymerase chain reaction amplification, and the p10B-3GnRH fusion protein was verified by SDS-PAGE and Western-blotting assay. T7-3GnRH vaccine was made and immunized with 1010 pfu in 0.2 ml per dose in mice. Blood samples were collected at an interval in weeks, and anti-GnRH antibody and testosterone concentrations were detected by ELISA and radioimmunoassay, respectively. The results show that T7-3GnRH phage particles confer a high immunogenicity to the GnRH-derived epitope. Moreover, the T7-3GnRH vaccine induced higher level of anti-GnRH antibody than ImproVac®. However, the testosterone concentrations in both immunized groups were at a similar level, and the testis developments were significantly inhibited compared to controls. These findings demonstrated that the anti-GnRH antibody could neutralize the endogenous GnRH to down regulate testosterone level and limit testis development, highlighting the potential value of T7-3GnRH in the immunocastration vaccine research.

    BeamGA Median: A Hybrid Heuristic Search Approach
    The median problem is significantly applied to derive the most reasonable rearrangement phylogenetic tree for many species. More specifically, the problem is concerned with finding a permutation that minimizes the sum of distances between itself and a set of three signed permutations. Genomes with equal number of genes but different order can be represented as permutations. In this paper, an algorithm, namely BeamGA median, is proposed that combines a heuristic search approach (local beam) as an initialization step to generate a number of solutions, and then a Genetic Algorithm (GA) is applied in order to refine the solutions, aiming to achieve a better median with the smallest possible reversal distance from the three original permutations. In this approach, any genome rearrangement distance can be applied. In this paper, we use the reversal distance. To the best of our knowledge, the proposed approach was not applied before for solving the median problem. Our approach considers true biological evolution scenario by applying the concept of common intervals during the GA optimization process. This allows us to imitate a true biological behavior and enhance genetic approach time convergence. We were able to handle permutations with a large number of genes, within an acceptable time performance and with same or better accuracy as compared to existing algorithms.
    Assessing the Impact of Quinoa Cultivation Adopted to Produce a Secure Food Crop and Poverty Reduction by Farmers in Rural Pakistan

    Main purpose of this study was to assess adoption level of farmers for quinoa cultivation after they had been taught through training and visit extension approach. At this time of the 21st century, population structure, climate change, food requirements and eating habits of people are changing rapidly. In this scenario, farmers must play their key role in sustainable crop development and production through adoption of new crops that may also be helpful to overcome the issue of food insecurity as well as reducing poverty in rural areas. Its cultivation in Pakistan is at the early stages and there is a need to raise awareness among farmers to grow quinoa crops. In the middle of the 2015, a training and visit extension approach was used to raise awareness and convince farmers to grow quinoa in the area. During training and visit extension program, 80 farmers were randomly selected for the training of quinoa cultivation. Later on, these farmers trained 60 more farmers living into their neighborhood. After six months, a survey was conducted with all 140 farmers to assess the impact of the training and visit program on adoption level of respondents for the quinoa crop. The survey instrument was developed with the help of literature review and other experts of the crop. Validity and reliability of the instrument were checked before complete data collection. The data were analyzed by using SPSS. Multiple regression analysis was used for interpretation of the results from the survey, which indicated that factors like information/ training, change in agronomic and plant protection practices play a key role in the adoption of quinoa cultivation by respondents. In addition, the model explains more than 50% of variation in the adoption level of respondents. It is concluded that farmers need timely information for improved knowledge of agronomic and plant protection practices to adopt cultivation of the quinoa crop in the area.

    Sustainable Cities: Viability of a Hybrid Aeroponic/Nutrient Film Technique System for Cultivation of Tomatoes

    Growing environmental and sustainability concerns have driven continual modernization of horticultural practices, especially for urban farming. Controlled environment and soilless production methods are increasing in popularity because of their efficient resource use and intensive cropping capabilities. However, some popular substrates used for hydroponic cultivation, particularly rock wool, represent a large environmental burden in regard to their manufacture and disposal. Substrate-less hydroponic systems are effective in producing short cropping cycle plants such as lettuce or herbs, but less information is available for the production of plants with larger root-systems and longer cropping times. Here, we investigated the viability of a hybrid aeroponic/nutrient film technique (AP/NFT) system for the cultivation of greenhouse tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum ‘Panovy’). The plants grown in the AP/NFT system had a more compact phenotype, accumulated more Na+ and less P and S than the rock wool grown counterparts. Due to forced irrigation interruptions, we propose that the differences observed were cofounded by the differing severity of water-stress for plants with and without substrate. They may also be caused by a higher root zone temperature predominant in plants exposed to AP/NFT. However, leaf area, stem diameter, and number of trusses did not differ significantly. The same was found for leaf pigments and plant photosynthetic efficiency. Overall, the AP/NFT system appears to be viable for the production of greenhouse tomato, enabling the environment to be relieved by way of lessening rock wool usage.