Hematologic Inflammatory Markers and Inflammation-Related Hepatokines in Pediatric Obesity

Obesity in children particularly draws attention, because it may threaten the individual’s future life due to many chronic diseases it may lead to. Most of these diseases including obesity itself altogether are related to inflammation. For this reason, inflammation-related parameters gain importance. Within this context, complete blood cell counts, ratios or indices derived from these counts have recently found some platform to be used as inflammatory markers. So far, mostly adipokines were investigated within the field of obesity. Metabolic inflammation is closely associated with cellular dysfunction. In this study, hematologic inflammatory markers and cytokines produced predominantly by the liver (fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21) and fetuin A) were investigated in pediatric obesity. Two groups were constituted from 76 obese children based on World Health Organization criteria. Group 1 was composed of children, whose age- and sex-adjusted body mass index (BMI) percentiles were between 95 and 99. Group 2 consists of children, who are above 99th percentile. The first and the latter groups were defined as obese (OB) and morbid obese (MO). Anthropometric measurements of the children were performed. Informed consent forms and the approval of the institutional ethics committee were obtained. Blood cell counts and ratios were determined by automated hematology analyzer. The related ratios and indexes were calculated. Statistical evaluation of the data was performed by SPSS program. There was no statistically significant difference in terms of neutrophil-to lymphocyte ratio, monocyte-to-high density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio between the groups. Mean platelet volume and platelet distribution width values were decreased (p < 0.05), total platelet count, red cell distribution width (RDW) and systemic immune inflammation index values were increased (p < 0.01) in MO group. Both hepatokines were increased in the same group, however increases were not statistically significant. In this group, also a strong correlation was calculated between FGF-21 and RDW when controlled by age, hematocrit, iron and ferritin (r = 0.425; p < 0.01). In conclusion, the association between RDW, a hematologic inflammatory marker, and FGF-21, an inflammation-related hepatokine, found in MO group is an important finding discriminating between OB and MO children. This association is even more powerful when controlled by age and iron-related parameters.

Fatigue Life Prediction on Steel Beam Bridges under Variable Amplitude Loading

Steel bridges are normally subjected to random loads with different traffic frequencies. They are structures with dynamic behavior and are subject to fatigue failure process, where the nucleation of a crack, growth and failure can occur. After locating and determining the size of an existing fault, it is important to predict the crack propagation and the convenient time for repair. Therefore, fracture mechanics and fatigue concepts are essential to the right approach to the problem. To study the fatigue crack growth, a computational code was developed by using the root mean square (RMS) and the cycle-by-cycle models. One observes the variable amplitude loading influence on the life structural prediction. Different loads histories and initial crack length were considered as input variables. Thus, it was evaluated the dispersion of results of the expected structural life choosing different initial parameters.

Analysing the Changes of the Tourist Functions of the Seaside Resorts with the Growth in the Number of Second Homes

Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have been observing in some seaside resorts aging demography, combined with an increase in second homes. These seaside resorts are said to have become places undergoing profound changes, leading to hybridization of functions (personal services, health, residential, etc.) and practices. All of these issues are part of the challenges of silver tourism, which stems from the silver economy. The Hauts-de-France region is made up of numerous seaside resorts that have a significant proportion of second homes in their real estate stock. The seaside resorts have tourist offers based on sports and leisure activities. They also offer a suitable environment for the installation of this category of the population. This set of attractive criteria in the choice of installation in seaside resorts is likely to be replaced by personal and health services due to the advanced age of the population. The resorts of Le Touquet Paris-Plage, Bray-Dunes, Neufchâtel-Hardelot and Le Crotoy seem to be evolving towards other functions of residential resorts, as opposed to seaside resorts This paper will be an opportunity to present the results of the surveys we conducted in 4 seaside resorts in the Hauts-de-France region, where more than 420 retired secondary residents were questioned. The results show that nearly 90% of retirees spend their time in their second home at any time of the year. The criteria that lead them there are school vacations and the weather. More than 40% of them have been living there for more than 20 years. The reasons for the installations are the living environment (83%) and the quality of life (79%). Their activities are walking and strolling, as well as sports. More than 99% of the respondents do not take into account the health service offers. Personal services are also little taken into account - around 60% of respondents say they do not know whether personal services exist in the resort. 80% of respondents answer that their grandchildren benefit from activities organized by the commune and the tourist offices during their stay. To conclude, the influx of retired secondary residents will not lead to a change in the functions of the seaside resorts. Their classic tourist offers - leisure and sports activities, the environment - will remain the attractive criteria of the seaside resorts.  The results of the study prove that personal services and health services are not the first choice criteria in the installation of retired secondary residents, quite the contrary. We can even complete that retirees in secondary residences are demanding and concerned about living in a calm, safe and clean environment and quality of life.

Predicting the Lack of GDP Growth: A Logit Model for 40 Advanced and Developing Countries

This paper identifies leading triggers of deficient episodes in terms of GDP growth based on a sample of countries at different stages of development over 1994-2017. Using logit models, we build early warning systems (EWS) and our results show important differences between developing countries (DCs) and advanced economies (AEs). For AEs, the main predictors of the probability of entering in a GDP growth deficient episode are the deterioration of external imbalances and the vulnerability of fiscal position while DCs face different challenges that need to be considered. The key indicators for them are first, the low ability to pay its debts and second, their belonging or not to a common currency area. We also build homogeneous pools of countries inside AEs and DCs. For AEs, the evolution of the proportion of countries in the riskiest pool is marked first, by three distinct peaks just after the high-tech bubble burst, the global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis, and second by a very low minimum level in 2006 and 2007. In contrast, the situation of DCs is characterized first by a relative stability of this proportion and then by an upward trend from 2006, that can be explained by more unfavorable socio-political environment leading to shortcomings in the fiscal consolidation.

The Impact of ISO 9001 Certification on Brazilian Firms’ Performance: Insights from Multiple Case Studies

The evolution of quality management by companies was strongly enabled by, among others, ISO 9001 certification, which is considered a crucial requirement for several customers. Likewise, performance measurement provides useful insights for companies to identify the reflection of their decision-making process on their improvement. One of the most used performance measurement models is the balanced scorecard (BSC), which uses four perspectives to address a firm’s performance: financial, internal process, customer satisfaction, and learning and growth. Since ISO 9001 certified firms are likely to measure their performance through BSC approach, it is important to verify whether the certificate influences the firm performance or not. Therefore, this paper aims to verify the impact of ISO 9001:2015 on Brazilian firms’ performance based on the BSC perspective. Hence, nine certified companies located in the Southeast region of Brazil were studied through a multiple case study approach. Within this study, it was possible to identify the positive impact of ISO 9001 on firms’ overall performance, and four Critical Success Factors (CSFs) were identified as relevant on the linkage among ISO 9001 and firms’ performance: employee involvement, top management, process management, and customer focus. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of interviews was limited to the quality manager specialist, and the sample was limited since several companies were closed during the period of the study. This study presents an in-depth analysis of how the relationship between ISO 9001 certification and firms’ performance in a developing country is.

Image Processing Approach for Detection of Three-Dimensional Tree-Rings from X-Ray Computed Tomography

Tree-ring analysis is an important part of the quality assessment and the dating of (archaeological) wood samples. It provides quantitative data about the whole anatomical ring structure, which can be used, for example, to measure the impact of the fluctuating environment on the tree growth, for the dendrochronological analysis of archaeological wooden artefacts and to estimate the wood mechanical properties. Despite advances in computer vision and edge recognition algorithms, detection and counting of annual rings are still limited to 2D datasets and performed in most cases manually, which is a time consuming, tedious task and depends strongly on the operator’s experience. This work presents an image processing approach to detect the whole 3D tree-ring structure directly from X-ray computed tomography imaging data. The approach relies on a modified Canny edge detection algorithm, which captures fully connected tree-ring edges throughout the measured image stack and is validated on X-ray computed tomography data taken from six wood species.

Multi-Temporal Mapping of Built-up Areas Using Daytime and Nighttime Satellite Images Based on Google Earth Engine Platform

The built-up area is a significant proxy to measure regional economic growth and reflects the Gross Provincial Product (GPP). However, an up-to-date and reliable database of built-up areas is not always available, especially in developing countries. The cloud-based geospatial analysis platform such as Google Earth Engine (GEE) provides an opportunity with accessibility and computational power for those countries to generate the built-up data. Therefore, this study aims to extract the built-up areas in Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Thailand using day and nighttime satellite imagery based on GEE facilities. The normalized indices were generated from Landsat 8 surface reflectance dataset, including Normalized Difference Built-up Index (NDBI), Built-up Index (BUI), and Modified Built-up Index (MBUI). These indices were applied to identify built-up areas in EEC. The result shows that MBUI performs better than BUI and NDBI, with the highest accuracy of 0.85 and Kappa of 0.82. Moreover, the overall accuracy of classification was improved from 79% to 90%, and error of total built-up area was decreased from 29% to 0.7%, after night-time light data from the Visible and Infrared Imaging Suite (VIIRS) Day Night Band (DNB). The results suggest that MBUI with night-time light imagery is appropriate for built-up area extraction and be utilize for further study of socioeconomic impacts of regional development policy over the EEC region.

Chemistry and Biological Activity of Feed Additive for Poultry Farming

Essential oils are one of the most important groups of biologically active substances present in plants. Due to the chemical diversity of components, essential oils and their preparations have a wide spectrum of pharmacological action. They have bactericidal, antiviral, fungicidal, antiprotozoal, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, sedative and other activities. They are expectorant, spasmolytic, sedative, hypotensive, secretion enhancing, antioxidant remedies. Based on preliminary pharmacological studies, we have developed a formulation called “Phytobiotic” containing essential oils, a feed additive for poultry as an alternative to antibiotics. Phytobiotic is a water-soluble powder containing a composition of essential oils of thyme, clary, monarda and auxiliary substances: dry extract of liquorice and inhalation lactose. On this stage of research, the goal was to study the chemical composition of provided phytobiotic, identify the main substances and determine their quantity, investigate the biological activity of phytobiotic through in vitro and in vivo studies. Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, 38 components were identified in phytobiotic, representing acyclic-, monocyclic-, bicyclic-, and sesquiterpenes. Together with identification of main active substances, their quantitative content was determined, including acyclic terpene alcohol β-linalool, acyclic terpene ketone linalyl acetate, monocyclic terpenes: D-limonene and γ-terpinene, monocyclic aromatic terpene thymol. Provided phytobiotic has pronounced and at the same time broad spectrum of antibacterial activity. In the cell model, phytobiotic showed weak antioxidant activity, and it was stronger in the ORAC (chemical model) tests. Meanwhile anti-inflammatory activity was also observed. When fowls were supplied feed enriched with phytobiotic, it was observed that gained weight of the chickens in the experimental group exceeded the same data for the control group during the entire period of the experiment. The survival rate of broilers in the experimental group during the growth period was 98% compared to -94% in the control group. As a result of conducted researches probable four different mechanisms which are important for the action of phytobiotics were identified: sensory, metabolic, antioxidant and antibacterial action. General toxic, possible local irritant and allergenic effects of phytobiotic were also investigated. Performed assays proved that formulation is safe.

Evaluation of Gingival Hyperplasia Caused by Medications

Purpose: Drug gingival hyperplasia is an uncommon pathology encountered during routine work in dental units. The purpose of this paper is to present the clinical appearance of gingival hyperplasia caused by medications. There are already three classes of medications that cause hyperplasia and based on data from the literature, the clinical cases encountered and included in this study have been compared. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in a total of 311 patients, out of which 182 patients were included in our study, meeting the inclusion criteria. After each patient's history was recorded and it was found that patients were in their knowledge of chronic illness, undergoing treatment of gingivitis hypertrophic drugs was performed with a clinical examination of oral cavity and assessment by vertical and horizontal evaluation according to the periodontal indexes. Results: Of the data collected during the study, it was observed that 97% of patients with gingival hyperplasia are treated with nifedipine. 84% of patients treated with selected medicines and gingival hyperplasia in the oral cavity has been exposed at time period for more than 1 year and 1 month. According to the GOI, in the first rank of this index are about 21% of patients, in the second rank are 52%, in the third rank are 24% and in the fourth grade are 3%. According to the horizontal growth index of gingival hyperplasia, grade 1 included about 61% of patients and grade 2 included about 39% of patients with gingival hyperplasia. Bacterial index divides patients by degrees: grading 0 - 8.2%, grading 1 - 32.4%, grading 2 - 14% and grading 3 - 45.1%. Conclusions: The highest percentage of gingival hyperplasia caused by drugs is due to dosing of nifedipine for a duration of dosing and application for systemic healing for more than 1 year.

Real-Time Land Use and Land Information System in Homagama Divisional Secretariat Division

Lands are valuable & limited resource which constantly changes with the growth of the population. An efficient and good land management system is essential to avoid conflicts associated with lands. This paper aims to design the prototype model of a Mobile GIS Land use and Land Information System in real-time. Homagama Divisional Secretariat Division situated in the western province of Sri Lanka was selected as the study area. The prototype model was developed after reviewing related literature. The methodology was consisted of designing and modeling the prototype model into an application running on a mobile platform. The system architecture mainly consists of a Google mapping app for real-time updates with firebase support tools. Thereby, the method of implementation consists of front-end and back-end components. Software tools used in designing applications are Android Studio with JAVA based on GeoJSON File structure. Android Studio with JAVA in GeoJSON File Synchronize to Firebase was found to be the perfect mobile solution for continuously updating Land use and Land Information System (LIS) in real-time in the present scenario. The mobile-based land use and LIS developed in this study are multiple user applications catering to different hierarchy levels such as basic users, supervisory managers, and database administrators. The benefits of this mobile mapping application will help public sector field officers with non-GIS expertise to overcome the land use planning challenges with land use updated in real-time.

Numerical Modelling of Dust Propagation in the Atmosphere of Tbilisi City in Case of Western Background Light Air

Tbilisi, a large city of the South Caucasus, is a junction point connecting Asia and Europe, Russia and republics of the Asia Minor. Over the last years, its atmosphere has been experienced an increasing anthropogenic load. Numerical modeling method is used for study of Tbilisi atmospheric air pollution. By means of 3D non-linear non-steady numerical model a peculiarity of city atmosphere pollution is investigated during background western light air. Dust concentration spatial and time changes are determined. There are identified the zones of high, average and less pollution, dust accumulation areas, transfer directions etc. By numerical modeling, there is shown that the process of air pollution by the dust proceeds in four stages, and they depend on the intensity of motor traffic, the micro-relief of the city, and the location of city mains. In the interval of time 06:00-09:00 the intensive growth, 09:00-15:00 a constancy or weak decrease, 18:00-21:00 an increase, and from 21:00 to 06:00 a reduction of the dust concentrations take place. The highly polluted areas are located in the vicinity of the city center and at some peripherical territories of the city, where the maximum dust concentration at 9PM is equal to 2 maximum allowable concentrations. The similar investigations conducted in case of various meteorological situations will enable us to compile the map of background urban pollution and to elaborate practical measures for ambient air protection.

Strategic Investment in Infrastructure Development to Facilitate Economic Growth in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in terms of its global reach and economic impacts. Historically, investment in infrastructure development projects has been touted to boost the economic growth of a nation. The State and Local governments responsible for delivering infrastructure assets work under tight budgets. Therefore, it is important to understand which infrastructure projects have the highest potential of boosting economic growth in the post-pandemic era. This paper presents relationships between infrastructure projects and economic growth. Statistical relationships between investment in different types of infrastructure projects (transit, water and wastewater, highways, power, manufacturing etc.) and indicators of economic growth are presented using historic data between 2002 and 2020 from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The outcome of the paper is the comparison of statistical correlations between investment in different types of infrastructure projects and indicators of economic growth. The comparison of the statistical correlations is useful in ranking the types of infrastructure projects based on their ability to influence economic prosperity. Therefore, investment in the infrastructures with the higher rank will have a better chance of boosting the economic growth. Once, the ranks are derived, they can be used by the decision-makers in infrastructure investment related decision-making process.

Growth of Non-Polar a-Plane AlGaN Epilayer with High Crystalline Quality and Smooth Surface Morphology

Non-polar a-plane AlGaN epilayers of high structural quality have been grown on r-sapphire substrate by using metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). A graded non-polar AlGaN buffer layer with variable aluminium concentration was used to improve the structural quality of the non-polar a-plane AlGaN epilayer. The characterisations were carried out by high-resolution X-ray diffraction (HR-XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and Hall effect measurement. The XRD and AFM results demonstrate that the Al-composition-graded non-polar AlGaN buffer layer significantly improved the crystalline quality and the surface morphology of the top layer. A low root mean square roughness 1.52 nm is obtained from AFM, and relatively low background carrier concentration down to 3.9×  cm-3 is obtained from Hall effect measurement.

Organic Agriculture Harmony in Nutrition, Environment and Health: Case Study in Iran

Organic agriculture is a kind of living and dynamic agriculture that was introduced in the early 20th century. The fundamental basis for organic agriculture is in harmony with nature. This version of farming emphasizes removing growth hormones, chemical fertilizers, toxins, radiation, genetic manipulation and instead, integration of modern scientific techniques (such as biologic and microbial control) that leads to the production of healthy food and the preservation of the environment and use of agricultural products such as forage and manure. Supports from governments for the markets producing organic products and taking advantage of the experiences from other successful societies in this field can help progress the positive and effective aspects of this technology, especially in developing countries. This research proves that till 2030, 25% of the global agricultural lands would be covered by organic farming. Consequently Iran, due to its rich genetic resources and various climates, can be a pioneer in promoting organic products. In addition, for sustainable farming, blend of organic and other innovative systems is needed. Important limitations exist to accept these systems, also a diversity of policy instruments will be required to comfort their development and implementation. The paper was conducted to results of compilation of reports, issues, books, articles related to the subject with library studies and research. Likewise we combined experimental and survey to get data.

Podcasting as an Instructional Method: Case Study of a School Psychology Class

There has been considerable growth in online learning. Researchers continue to explore the impact various methods of delivery. Podcasting is a popular method for sharing information. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of student motivation and the perception of the acquisition of knowledge in an online environment of a skill-based class. 25 students in a school psychology graduate class completed a pretest and posttest examining podcast use and familiarity. In addition, at the completion of the course they were administered a modified version of the Instructional Materials Motivation Survey. The four subscales were examined (attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction). Results indicated that students are motivated, they perceive podcasts as positive instructional tools, and students are successful in acquiring the needed information. Additional benefits of using podcasts and recommendations in school psychology training are discussed.

Analyzing the Prospects and Challenges in Implementing the Legal Framework for Competition Regulation in Nigeria

Competition law promotes market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by undertakings. There is a need for a third party to regulate the market for efficiency and supervision, since, if the market is left unchecked, it may be skewed against the consumers and the economy. Competition law is geared towards the protection of consumers from economic exploitation. It is the duty of every rational government to optimally manage its economic system by employing the best regulatory practices over the market to ensure it functions effectively and efficiently. The Nigerian government has done this by enacting the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 (FCCPA). This is a comprehensive legal framework with the objective of governing competition issues in Nigeria. Prior to its enactment, the competition law regime in Nigeria was grossly inadequate despite Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa. This latest legislation has become a bold step in the right direction. This study will use the doctrinal methodology in analyzing the FCCPA, 2018 in order to discover the extent to which the Act will guard against anti-competitive practices and promote competitive markets for the benefit of the Nigerian economy and consumers. The study finds that although the FCCPA, 2018 provides for the regulation of competition in Nigeria, there is a need to effectively tackle the challenges to the implementation of the Act and the development of anti-trust jurisprudence in Nigeria. This study concludes that incisive implementation of competition law in Nigeria will help protect consumers and create a conducive environment for economic growth, development, and protection of consumers from obnoxious competition practices.

Impact of Increasing Distributed Solar PV Systems on Distribution Networks in South Africa

South Africa is experiencing an exponential growth of distributed solar PV installations. This is due to various factors with the predominant one being increasing electricity tariffs along with decreasing installation costs, resulting in attractive business cases to some end-users. Despite there being a variety of economic and environmental advantages associated with the installation of PV, their potential impact on distribution grids has yet to be thoroughly investigated. This is especially true since the locations of these units cannot be controlled by Network Service Providers (NSPs) and their output power is stochastic and non-dispatchable. This report details two case studies that were completed to determine the possible voltage and technical losses impact of increasing PV penetration in the Northern Cape of South Africa. Some major impacts considered for the simulations were ramping of PV generation due to intermittency caused by moving clouds, the size and overall hosting capacity and the location of the systems. The main finding is that the technical impact is different on a constrained feeder vs a non-constrained feeder. The acceptable PV penetration level is much lower for a constrained feeder than a non-constrained feeder, depending on where the systems are located.

Construction of a Fusion Gene Carrying E10A and K5 with 2A Peptide-Linked by Using Overlap Extension PCR

E10A is a kind of replication-defective adenovirus which carries the human endostatin gene to inhibit the growth of tumors. Kringle 5(K5) has almost the same function as angiostatin to also inhibit the growth of tumors since they are all the byproduct of the proteolytic cleavage of plasminogen. Tumor size increasing can be suppressed because both of the endostatin and K5 can restrain the angiogenesis process. Therefore, in order to improve the treatment effect on tumor, 2A peptide is used to construct a fusion gene carrying both E10A and K5. Using 2A peptide is an ideal strategy when a fusion gene is expressed because it can avoid many problems during the expression of more than one kind of protein. The overlap extension PCR is also used to connect 2A peptide with E10A and K5. The final construction of fusion gene E10A-2A-K5 can provide a possible new method of the anti-angiogenesis treatment with a better expression performance.

Improving the Utilization of Telfairia occidentalis Leaf Meal with Cellulase-Glucanase-Xylanase Combination and Selected Probiotic in Broiler Diets

Telfairia occidentalis is a leafy vegetable commonly grown in the tropics for nutritional benefits. The use of enzymes and probiotics is becoming prominent due to the ban on antibiotics as growth promoters in many parts of the world. It is conceived that with enzymes and probiotics additives, fibrous leafy vegetables can be incorporated into poultry feeds as protein source. However, certain antinutrients were also found in the leaves of Telfairia occidentalis. Four broiler starter and finisher diets were formulated for the two phases of the broiler experiments. A mixture of fiber degrading enzymes, Roxazyme G2 (combination of cellulase, glucanase and xylanase) and probiotics (Turbotox), a growth promoter, were used in broiler diets at 1:1. The Roxazyme G2/Turbotox mixtures were used in diets containing four varying levels of Telfairia occidentalis leaf meal (TOLM) at 0, 10, 20 and 30%. Diets 1 were standard broiler diets without TOLM and Roxazyme G2 and Turbotox additives. Diets 2, 3 and 4 had enzymes and probiotics additives. Certain mineral elements such as Ca, P, K, Na, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn were found in notable quantities viz. 2.6 g/100 g, 1.2 g/100 g, 6.2 g/100 g, 5.1 g/100 g, 4.7 g/100 g, 5875 ppm, 182 ppm, 136 ppm and 1036 ppm, respectively. Phytin, phytin-P, oxalate, tannin and HCN were also found in ample quantities viz. 189.2 mg/100 g, 120.1 mg/100 g, 80.7 mg/100 g, 43.1 mg/100 g and 61.2 mg/100 g, respectively. The average weight gain was highest at 46.3 g/bird/day for birds on 10% TOLM diet but similar (P > 0.05) to 46.2 g/bird/day for birds on 20% TOLM. The feed conversion ratio (FCR) of 2.27 was the lowest and optimum for birds on 10% TOLM although similar (P > 0.05) to 2.29 obtained for birds on 20% TOLM. FCR of 2.61 was the highest at 2.61 for birds on 30% TOLM diet. The lowest FCR of 2.27 was obtained for birds on 10% TOLM diet although similar (P > 0.05) to 2.29 for birds on 20% TOLM diet. Most carcass characteristics and organ weights were similar (P > 0.05) for the experimental birds on the different diets except for kidney, gizzard and intestinal length. The values for kidney, gizzard and intestinal length were significantly higher (P < 0.05) for birds on the TOLM diets. The nitrogen retention had the highest value of 72.37 ± 0.10% for birds on 10% TOLM diet although similar (P > 0.05) to 71.54 ± 1.89 obtained for birds on the control diet without TOLM and enzymes/probiotics mixture. There was evidence of a better utilization of TOLM as a plant protein source. The carcass characteristics and organ weights all showed evidence of uniform tissue buildup and muscles development particularly in diets containing 10% of TOLM level. There was also better nitrogen utilization in birds on the 10% TOLM diet. Considering the cheap cost of TOLM, it is envisaged that its introduction into poultry feeds as a plant protein source will ultimately reduce the cost of poultry feeds.

Comparison of Two Maintenance Policies for a Two-Unit Series System Considering General Repair

In recent years, maintenance optimization has attracted special attention due to the growth of industrial systems complexity. Maintenance costs are high for many systems, and preventive maintenance is effective when it increases operations' reliability and safety at a reduced cost. The novelty of this research is to consider general repair in the modeling of multi-unit series systems and solve the maintenance problem for such systems using the semi-Markov decision process (SMDP) framework. We propose an opportunistic maintenance policy for a series system composed of two main units. Unit 1, which is more expensive than unit 2, is subjected to condition monitoring, and its deterioration is modeled using a gamma process. Unit 1 hazard rate is estimated by the proportional hazards model (PHM), and two hazard rate control limits are considered as the thresholds of maintenance interventions for unit 1. Maintenance is performed on unit 2, considering an age control limit. The objective is to find the optimal control limits and minimize the long-run expected average cost per unit time. The proposed algorithm is applied to a numerical example to compare the effectiveness of the proposed policy (policy Ⅰ) with policy Ⅱ, which is similar to policy Ⅰ, but instead of general repair, replacement is performed. Results show that policy Ⅰ leads to lower average cost compared with policy Ⅱ.