Abstract: In soilless culture, the definition of efficient fertigation
strategies is fundamental for the growth of crops. Flexible
test-benches able to independently manage groups of crops are key for
investigating efficient fertigation practices through experimentation.
These test-benches must be able to provide nutrient solution (NS) in a
precise, uniform and repeatable way in order to effectively implement
and compare different fertigation strategies. This article describes
a distribution module for investigating fertigation practices able to
control the fertigation dose and frequency. The proposed solution is
characterized in terms of precision, uniformity and repeatability since
these parameters are fundamental in the implementation of effective
experiments for the investigation of fertigation practices. After a
calibration process, the implemented system reaches a precision of
1mL, a uniformity of 98.5% at a total cost of 735USD.
Abstract: Native plants are better adapted to the local environment providing a more natural effect on landscape projects; their use will both conserve natural resources and produce sustainable greenery. Continuation of evaluation of additional native plants is essential to increase diversity of plant resources for greenery projects. Therefore, in this project an effort was made to study the mass multiplication of further native plants for greenery applications. Standardization of vegetative propagation methods is essential for conservation and sustainable utilization of native plants in restoration projects. Moreover, these simple propagation methods can be readily adapted by the local nursery sector in Kuwait. In the present study, various treatments were used to mass multiply selected plants using vegetative parts to secure maximum rooting and initial growth. Soft or semi-hardwood cuttings of selected native plants were collected from mother plants and subjected to different treatments. Pennisetum divisum can be vegetatively propagated by cuttings/off-shoots. However, Tamarix aucheriana showed maximum number of rooted cuttings and stronger vigor seedlings with the lowest growth hormone concentration. Standardizing the propagation techniques for the native plant species will add to the rehabilitation and landscape revegetation projects in Kuwait.
Abstract: Compote (fruit in syrup) of pineapple (Ananas comosus L. Merrill) is expected to have a high market potential as one of convenient ready-to-eat (RTE) foods worldwide. High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) in combination with low temperature (LT) was applied to the processing of pineapple compote as well as medium HHP (MHHP) in combination with medium-high temperature (MHT) since both processes can enhance liquid impregnation and inactivate microbes. MHHP+MHT (55 or 65 °C) process, as well as the HHP+LT process, has successfully inactivated the microbes in the compote to a non-detectable level. Although the compotes processed by MHHP+MHT or HHP+LT have lost the fresh texture as in a similar manner as those processed solely by heat, it was indicated that the texture degradations by heat were suppressed under MHHP. Degassing process reduced the hardness, while calcium (Ca) contributed to be retained hardness in MHT and MHHP+MHT processes. Electrical impedance measurement supported the damage due to degassing and heat. The color, Brix, and appearance were not affected by the processing methods significantly. MHHP+MHT and HHP+LT processes may be applicable to produce high-quality, safe RTE pineapple compotes. Further studies on the optimization of packaging and storage condition will be indispensable for commercialization.
Abstract: Produced water (PW), which is water extracted along with oil, is the largest waste stream in the oil and gas industry. With the proper treatment, this wastewater can be used in agricultural irrigation. This study evaluated the effects the application of PW treated by electroflocculation (EF) and combined electroflocculation-reverse osmosis (EF-RO) on soil salinity and sodification parameters. Excessive sodium levels in PW treated by EF may affect soil structural stability and plant growth, and tends to accumulate in upper layers, displacing the nutrient K to deeper layers of the soil profile. PW treated by EF-RO did not promote salinization and soil sodification, indicating that this combined technique may be a viable alternative for oily water treatment aiming at irrigation use in semiarid regions.
Abstract: Trapping efficiency of methyl eugenol and three locally made food-based lures were evaluated in three locations for trapping of B. dorsalis on mango homestead trees in Ibadan South west Nigeria. The treatments were methyl eugenol, brewery waste, pineapple juice, orange juice, and control (water). The experiment was laid in a Complete Randomized Block Design (CRBD) and replicated three times in each location. Data collected were subjected to analysis of variance and significant means were separated by Turkey’s test. The results showed that B. dorsalis was recorded in all locations of study. Methyl eugenol significantly (P < 0.05) trapped higher population of B. dorsalis in all the study area. The population density of B. dorsalis was highest during the ripening period of mango in all locations. The percentage trapped flies after 7 weeks were 77.85%-82.38% (methyl eugenol), 7.29%-8.64% (pineapple juice), 5.62-7.62% (brewery waste), 4.41%-5.95% (orange juice), and 0.24-0.47% (control). There were no significance differences (p > 0.05) on the population of B. dorsalis trapped in all locations. Similarly, there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) on the population of flies trapped among the food attractants. However, the three food attractants significantly (p < 0.05) trapped higher flies than control. Methyl eugenol trapped only male flies while brewery waste and other food based attractants trapped both male and female flies. The food baits tested were promising attractants for trapping B. dorsalis on mango homestead tress, hence increased dosage could be considered for monitoring and mass trapping as management strategies against fruit fly infestation.
Abstract: Dairy industry is flourishing in world to provide milk and milk products to local population. Besides milk products, dairy industries also generate a substantial amount of cow manure that significantly affects the environment. Moreover, heat produced during the decomposition of the cow manure adversely affects the crop germination. Different companies are producing vermicompost using different species of worms/larvae to overcome the harmful effects using fresh manure. Tiger worm treatment enhanced plant growth, especially in the compost-manure ratio (75% compost, 25% cow manure), followed by a ratio of 50% compost, 50% cow manure. Results also indicated that plant growth in Waxworm treated manure was weak as compared to plant growth in compost treated with Fruit Beetle (FB), Waxworms (WW), and Control (C) especially in the compost (25% compost, 75% cow manure) and 100% cow manure where there was no growth at all. Freshplant weight, fresh leaf weight and fresh root weight were significantly higher in the compost treated with Tiger worms in (75% compost, 25% cow manure); no evidence was seen for any significant differences in the dry root weight measurement between FB, Tiger worms (TW), WW, Control (C) in all composts. TW produced the best product, especially at the compost ratio of 75% compost, 25% cow manure followed by 50% compost, 50% cow manure.
Abstract: Microbial contamination of ready-to-eat foods and beverages sold by street vendors has become an important public health issue. In developing countries including South Africa, health risks related to such kinds of foods are thought to be common. Thus, this study assessed knowledge, attitude and practices of street food vendors. Street vendors in the city of Mangaung Metro were investigated in order to assess their knowledge, attitudes and handling practices. A semi-structured questionnaire and checklist were used in interviews to determine the status of the vending sites and associa. ted food-handling practices. Data was collected by means of a face-to-face interview. The majority of respondents were black females. Hundred percent (100%) of the participants did not have any food safety training. However, street vendors showed a positive attitude towards food safety. Despite the positive attitude, vendors showed some non-compliance when it comes to handling food. During the survey, it was also observed that the vending stalls lack basic infrastructures like toilets and potable water that is currently a major problem. This study indicates a need for improvements in the environmental conditions at these sites to prevent foodborne diseases. Moreover, based on the results observed food safety and food hygiene training or workshops for street vendors are highly recommended.
Abstract: Recent rapid progress in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) has advanced the penetration of sensor networks (SNs) and their attractive applications. Agriculture is one of the fields well able to benefit from ICT. Plant factories control several parameters related to plant growth in closed areas such as air temperature, humidity, water, culture medium concentration, and artificial lighting by using computers and AI (Artificial Intelligence) is being researched in order to obtain stable and safe production of vegetables and medicinal plants all year anywhere, and attain self-sufficiency in food. By providing isolation from the natural environment, a plant factory can achieve higher productivity and safe products. However, the biggest issue with plant factories is the return on investment. Profits are tenuous because of the large initial investments and running costs, i.e. electric power, incurred. At present, LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are being adopted because they are more energy-efficient and encourage photosynthesis better than the fluorescent lamps used in the past. However, further cost reduction is essential. This paper introduces experiments that reveal which color of LED lighting best enhances the growth of cultured radish sprouts. Radish sprouts were cultivated in the experimental environment formed by a hydroponics kit with three cultivation shelves (28 samples per shelf) each with an artificial lighting rack. Seven LED arrays of different color (white, blue, yellow green, green, yellow, orange, and red) were compared with a fluorescent lamp as the control. Lighting duration was set to 12 hours a day. Normal water with no fertilizer was circulated. Seven days after germination, the length, weight and area of leaf of each sample were measured. Electrical power consumption for all lighting arrangements was also measured. Results and discussions: As to average sample length, no clear difference was observed in terms of color. As regards weight, orange LED was less effective and the difference was significant (p < 0.05). As to leaf area, blue, yellow and orange LEDs were significantly less effective. However, all LEDs offered higher productivity per W consumed than the fluorescent lamp. Of the LEDs, the blue LED array attained the best results in terms of length, weight and area of leaf per W consumed. Conclusion and future works: An experiment on radish sprout cultivation under 7 different color LED arrays showed no clear difference in terms of sample size. However, if electrical power consumption is considered, LEDs offered about twice the growth rate of the fluorescent lamp. Among them, blue LEDs showed the best performance. Further cost reduction e.g. low power lighting remains a big issue for actual system deployment. An automatic plant monitoring system with sensors is another study target.
Abstract: HCV is a hepatotropic RNA virus, transmitted primarily via the blood route, which causes progressive disease such as chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, or hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV nowadays is a global healthcare problem. A variety of immunoassays including old and new technologies are being applied to detect HCV in our country. These methods include Immunochromatography assays (ICA), Fluorescence immunoassay (FIA), Enzyme linked fluorescent assay (ELFA), and Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect HCV antibodies in blood serum, which lately is being slowly replaced by more sensitive methods such as rapid automated analyzer chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA). The aim of this study is to estimate HCV infection in carriers and chronic acute patients and to evaluate the use of new diagnostic methods. This study was realized from September 2016 to May 2018. During this study period, 2913 patients were analyzed for the presence of HCV by taking samples from their blood serum. The immunoassays performed were ICA, FIA, ELFA, ELISA, and CLIA assays. Concluding, 82% of patients taken in this study, resulted infected with HCV. Diagnostic methods in clinical laboratories are crucial in the early stages of infection, in the management of chronic hepatitis and in the treatment of patients during their disease.
Abstract: Dairy by-products are a fairly good environment for microorganisms due to their composition for their growth. Microbial populations have a significant impact in the production of cheese, butter, yogurt, etc. in terms of their organoleptic quality and at the same time some also cause their breakdown. In this paper, the microbiological contamination of soft cheese, butter and yogurt produced in the country (domestic) and imported is assessed, as an indicator of hygiene with impact on public health. The study was extended during September 2018-June 2019 and was divided into three periods, September-December, January-March, and April-June. During this study, a total of 120 samples were analyzed, of which 60 samples of cheese and butter locally produced, and 60 samples of imported soft cheese and butter productions. The microbial indicators analyzed are Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Analyzes have been conducted at the Food Safety Laboratory (FSIV) in Tirana in accordance with EU Regulation 2073/2005. Sampling was performed according to the specific international standards for these products (ISO 6887 and ISO 8261). Sampling and transport of samples were done under sterile conditions. Also, coding of samples was done to preserve the anonymity of subjects. After the analysis, the country's soft cheese products compared to imports were more contaminated with S. aureus and E. coli. Meanwhile, the imported butter samples that were analyzed, resulted within norms compared to domestic ones. Based on the results, it was concluded that the microbial quality of samples of cheese, butter and yogurt analyzed remains a real problem for hygiene in Albania. The study will also serve business operators in Albania to improve their work to ensure good hygiene on the basis of the HACCP plan and to provide a guarantee of consumer health.
Abstract: Wild almond is a woody species, which is difficult to propagate either generatively by seed or by vegetative methods (grafting or cuttings) and also considered as Endangered (EN) in Albania based on IUCN criteria. As a wild relative of cultivated fruit trees, this species represents a source of genetic variability and can be very important in breeding programs and cultivation. For this reason, it would be of interest to use an effective method of in vitro mid-term conservation, which involves strategies to slow plant growth through physicochemical alterations of in vitro growth conditions. Multiplication of wild almond was carried out using zygotic embryos, as primary explants, with the purpose to develop a successful propagation protocol. Results showed that zygotic embryos can proliferate through direct or indirect organogenesis. During subculture, stage was obtained a great number of new plantlets identical to mother plants derived from the zygotic embryos. All in vitro plantlets obtained from subcultures underwent in vitro conservation by minimal growth in low temperature (4ºC) and darkness. The efficiency of this technique was evaluated for 3, 6, and 10 months of conservation period. Maintenance in these conditions reduced micro cuttings growth. Survival and regeneration rates for each period were evaluated and resulted that the maximal time of conservation without subculture on 4ºC was 10 months, but survival and regeneration rates were significantly reduced, specifically 15.6% and 7.6%. An optimal period of conservation in these conditions can be considered the 5-6 months storage, which can lead to 60-50% of survival and regeneration rates. This protocol may be beneficial for mass propagation, mid-term conservation, and for genetic manipulation of wild almond.
Abstract: Aloe Vera is a short-stemmed succulent plant which is commonly used in Myanmar traditional medicine. A. vera gel was also used as food addictive. This study aims to improve the Myanmar folk medicine to a functional beverage. In this research, Aloe vera was fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae for 6 months. Three different processes were carried out. Process I contains A. vera 10%, sugar 30%, water 50%, and starter culture 10%, process II contains A. vera 10%, sugar 15%, honey 15%, and water 50%, starter culture 10%; process III contains A. vera 10%, honey 30%, water 50%, starter culture 10%. During wine fermentation, the wine parameters such as alcohol content, total soluble solid (ºBrix), pH, color and cell population were analyzed. After 30 days of fermentation, total cell population remained 2.8x106 in P-I, P-II and 3.2x106 in P-III. Total soluble solid content dropped to 15.8 in P-I, P-II and 15.7 in P-III. After 30 days, clear wine was transferred to other vassals for racking. After 6 months of racking, microbial population reached under detectable level and alcohol content was round about 11% but not significantly different among these processes. P-II was found to have the highest color intensity at 450 nm and it got the most taster satisfaction when sensory evaluation was carried out using five hedonic scales after 6 month of racking.
Abstract: One of the most damaging species in sunflower crops in Brazil is the hairy beggarticks (Bidens pilosa L.). The large number of seeds, the various vegetative cycles during the year, the staggered germination and the scarcity of selective and effective herbicides to control this weed in sunflower are some of attributes that hinder the effectiveness in controlling hairy beggarticks populations. The experiment was carried out with the objectives of evaluating the control of hairy beggarticks plants in sunflower crops, and to assess sunflower tolerance to residual herbicides. The treatments were as follows: S-metolachlor (1,200 and 2,400 g ai ha-1), flumioxazin (60 and 120 g ai ha-1), sulfentrazone (150 and 300 g ai ha-1) and two controls (weedy and weed-free check). Phytotoxicity on sunflower plants, percentage of control and density of hairy beggarticks plants, sunflower stand and plant height, head diameter, oil content and sunflower yield were evaluated. The herbicides flumioxazin and sulfentrazone were the most efficient in hairy beggarticks control. S-metolachlor provided acceptable control levels. S-metolachlor (1,200 g ha-1), flumioxazin (60 g ha-1) and sulfentrazone (150 g ha-1) were the most selective doses for sunflower crop.
Abstract: This paper presents the development of a low-cost monitoring system for a hydroponic urban vertical farm, enabling its automation and a quantitative assessment of the farm performance. Urban farming has seen increasing interest in the last decade thanks to the development of energy efficient and affordable LED lights; however, the optimal configuration of such systems (i.e. amount of nutrients, light-on time, ambient temperature etc.) is mostly based on the farmers’ experience and empirical guidelines. Moreover, even if simple, the maintenance of such systems is labor intensive as it requires water to be topped-up periodically, mixing of the nutrients etc. To unlock the full potential of urban farming, a quantitative understanding of the role that each variable plays in the growth of the plants is needed, together with a higher degree of automation. The low-cost monitoring system proposed in this paper is a step toward filling this knowledge and technological gap, as it enables collection of sensor data related to water and air temperature, water level, humidity, pressure, light intensity, pH and electric conductivity without requiring any human intervention. More sensors and actuators can also easily be added thanks to the modular design of the proposed platform. Data can be accessed remotely via a simple web interface. The proposed platform can be used both for quantitatively optimizing the setup of the farms and for automating some of the most labor-intensive maintenance activities. Moreover, such monitoring system can also potentially be used for high-level decision making, once enough data are collected.
Abstract: The synergistic impact and optimization of gas flow rate, concentration of CO2, and light intensity on CO2 biofixation rate were investigated using wastewater as a medium to cultivate Chlorella vulgaris under different conditions (gas flow rate 1-8 L/min), CO2 concentration (0.03-7%), and light intensity (150-400 µmol/m2.s)). Response Surface Methodology and Box-Behnken experimental Design were applied to find optimum values for gas flow rate, CO2 concentration, and light intensity. The optimum values of the three independent variables (gas flow rate, concentration of CO2, and light intensity) and desirability were 7.5 L/min, 3.5%, and 400 µmol/m2.s, and 0.904, respectively. The highest amount of biomass produced and CO2 biofixation rate at optimum conditions were 5.7 g/L, 1.23 gL-1d-1, respectively. The synergistic effect between gas flow rate and concentration of CO2, and between gas flow rate and light intensity was significant on the three responses, while the effect between CO2 concentration and light intensity was less significant on CO2 biofixation rate. The results of this study could be highly helpful when using microalgae for CO2 biofixation in wastewater treatment.
Abstract: The mineral in human bone is not pure stoichiometric calcium phosphate (Ca/P) as it is partially substituted by in organic elements. In this study, the copper ions (Cu2+) substituted hydroxyapatite (CuHA) powder has been synthesized by the co-precipitation method. The CuHA powder has been used to fabricate CuHA fiber scaffolds by sol-gel process and the following sinter process. The resulted CuHA fibers have slightly different microstructure (i.e. porosity) compared to HA fiber scaffold, which is denser. The mechanical properties test was used to evaluate CuHA, and the results showed decreases in both compression strength and hardness tests. Moreover, the in vitro used endothelial cells to evaluate the angiogenesis of CuHA. The result illustrated that the viability of endothelial cell on CuHA fiber scaffold surfaces tends to antigenic behavior. The results obtained with CuHA scaffold give this material benefit in biological applications such as antimicrobial, antitumor, antigens, compacts, filling cavities of the tooth and for the deposition of metal implants anti-tumor, anti-cancer, bone filler, and scaffold.
Abstract: Two earliness cotton genotypes I and II, which had been developed by hybridization and backcross methods between sindise-80 as an early maturing gene parent and two other lines i.e. Red leaf and Bulgare-557 as a second parent, are subjected to different environmental conditions. The early maturing genotypes with coded names of I and II were compared with four native cotton cultivars in randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four replications in three ecological regions of Iran from 2016-2017. Two early maturing genotypes along with four native cultivars viz. Varamin, Oltan, Sahel and Arya were planted in Agricultural Research Station of Varamin, Moghan and Kashmar for evaluation. Earliness data were collected for six treatments during two years in the three regions except missing data for the second year of Kashmar. Therefore, missed data were estimated and imputed. For testing the homogeneity of error variances, each experiment at a given location or year is analyzed separately using Hartley and Bartlett’s Chi-square tests and both tests confirmed homogeneity of variance. Combined analysis of variance showed that genotypes I and II were superior in Varamin, Moghan and Kashmar regions. Earliness means and their interaction effects were compared with Duncan’s multiple range tests. Finally combined analysis of variance showed that genotypes I and II were superior in Varamin, Moghan and Kashmar regions. Earliness means and their interaction effects are compared with Duncan’s multiple range tests.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to evaluate the dose- and time-dependent in vitro effects of berberine (BER), a natural alkaloid with numerous biological properties on bovine spermatozoa during three time periods (0 h, 2 h, 24 h). Bovine semen samples were diluted and cultivated in physiological saline solution containing 0.5% DMSO together with 200, 100, 50, 10, 5, and 1 μmol/L BER. Spermatozoa motility was assessed using the computer assisted semen analyzer. The viability of spermatozoa was assessed by the metabolic (MTT) assay, production of superoxide radicals was quantified using the nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) test, and chemiluminescence was used to evaluate the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Cell lysates were prepared and the extent of lipid peroxidation (LPO) was evaluated using the TBARS assay. The results of the movement activity showed a significant increase in the motility during long term cultivation in case of concentrations ranging between 1 and 10 μmol/L BER (P < 0.01; P < 0.001; 24 h). At the same time, supplementation of 1, 5 and 10 μmol/L BER led to a significant preservation of the cell viability (P < 0.001; 24 h). BER addition at a range of 1-50 μmol/L also provided a significantly higher protection against superoxide (P < 0.05) and ROS (P < 0.001; P < 0.01) overgeneration as well as LPO (P < 0.01; P
Abstract: The information of the impact cutting behavior of plants stalk plays an important role in the design and fabrication of plants cutting equipment. It is difficult to investigate a theoretical method for defining cutting properties of plants stalks because the cutting process is complex. Thus, it is necessary to set up an experimental approach to determine cutting parameters for a single stalk. To measure the shear force, shear energy and shear strength of plant stalk, a special impact cutting tester was fabricated. It was similar to an Izod impact cutting tester for metals but a cutting blade and data acquisition system were attached to the end of pendulum's arm. The apparatus was included four strain gages and a digital indicator to show the real-time cutting force of plant stalk. To measure the shear force and also testing the apparatus, two plants’ stalks, like buxus and privet, were selected. The samples (buxus and privet stalks) were cut under impact cutting process at four loading rates 1, 2, 3 and 4 m.s-1 and three internodes fifth, tenth and fifteenth by the apparatus. At buxus cutting analysis: the minimum value of cutting energy was obtained at fifth internode and loading rate 4 m.s-1 and the maximum value of shear energy was obtained at fifteenth internode and loading rate 1 m.s-1. At privet cutting analysis: the minimum value of shear consumption energy was obtained at fifth internode and loading rate: 4 m.s-1 and the maximum value of shear energy was obtained at fifteenth internode and loading rate: 1 m.s-1. The statistical analysis at both plants showed that the increase of impact cutting speed would decrease the shear consumption energy and shear strength. In two scenarios, the results showed that with increase the cutting speed, shear force would decrease.
Abstract: This study was designed to assess the in vitro effects of Origanum vulgare L. (oregano) extract on the testicular steroidogenesis. We focused on identifying major biomolecules present in the oregano extract, as well as to investigate its in vitro impact on the secretion of cholesterol, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione by murine testicular fragments. The extract was subjected to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) which identified cyranosid, daidzein, thymol, rosmarinic and trans-caffeic acid among the predominant biochemical components of oregano. For the in vitro experiments, testicular fragments from 20 sexually mature Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice were incubated in the absence (control group) or presence of the oregano extract at selected concentrations (10, 100 and 1000 μg/mL) for 24 h. Cholesterol levels were quantified using photometry and the hormones were assessed by ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay). Our data revealed that the release of cholesterol and androstenedione (but not dehydroepiandrosterone and testosterone) by the testicular fragments was significantly impacted by the oregano extract in a dose-dependent fashion. Supplementation of the extract resulted in a significant decline of cholesterol (P < 0.05 in case of 100 μg/mL; P < 0.01 with respect 100 μg/mL extract), as well as androstenedione (P < 0.01 with respect to 100 and 1000 μg/mL extract). Our results suggest that the biomolecules present in Origanum vulgare L. could exhibit a dose-dependent impact on the secretion of male steroids, playing a role in the regulation of testicular steroidogenesis.