Abstract: Using effluent as a sustainable water resource for agriculture not only could provide part of water needs but also would save the existing water resources, durably. Vinasse, the effluent of ethanol alcohol factories, a by-product, which is derived from sugarcane molasses, is one of the water resources that could be effectively utilized for agricultural purposes. In the present study in order to investigate the application of different ratios of water: vinasse on germination and growth of barley seedlings an experiment was designed in pots with completely randomized design with three replications and control treatment. The consequences of four irrigation levels were studied with different water: effluent ratios (100% water, 90% water & 10% effluent, 75% water & 25% effluent, 50% water & 50% effluent) on germination and growth of barley seedling components in sandy-loam soil. The results showed that, with increasing the percentage of vinasse in the irrigation admixture, the germination percentage in barley seedlings decreased, significantly, so that the decrease in germination in comparison with the control samples in the second and third treatments was 20% and 93.33%, respectively. Seed germination percentage was about 46.66. The average stem length in seedlings was 14.3 mm and the average root length was 9.37 mm. The averages of the soils Electrical Conductivity (EC) and pH which were under irrigation with different ratios of vinasse (dSm-1) were 5.85 and 7.32, respectively, which showed a 76.2% increase in soil salinity.
Abstract: The most demanded organic foods worldwide are those that are consumed fresh, such as fruits and vegetables. However, there is a knowledge gap about some aspects of organic food microbiological quality and safety. Organic fruits and vegetables are more exposed to pathogenic microorganisms due to surface contact with natural fertilizers such as animal manure, wastes and vermicompost used during farming. Therefore, the objective of this work was to study the contamination of organic fresh green leafy vegetables by two emergent pathogens, Arcobacter spp. and Helicobacter pylori. For this purpose, a total of 24 vegetable samples, 13 lettuce and 11 spinach were acquired from 10 different ecological supermarkets and greengroceries and analyzed by culture and PCR. Arcobacter spp. was detected in five samples (20%) by PCR, four spinach and one lettuce. One spinach sample was found to be also positive by culture. For H. pylori, the H. pylori VacA gene-specific band was detected in 12 vegetable samples (50%), 10 lettuces and two spinach. Isolation in the selective medium did not yield any positive result, possibly because of low contamination levels together with the presence of the organism in its viable but non-culturable form. Results showed significant levels of H. pylori and Arcobacter contamination in organic vegetables that are generally consumed raw, which seems to confirm that these foods can act as transmission vehicles to humans.
Abstract: The purpose of the analysis is estimation of viability and profitability of kenaf plant farming in Kelantan State. The monetary information was gathered through interviewing kenaf growers as well group discussion. In addition, the production statistics were collected from Kenaf factory administrative group. The monetary data were analyzed using the Precision financial Calculator. For kenaf production per hectare three scenarios of productivity were adopted, they were 15, 12 and ten; the research results exposed that, when kenaf productivity was 15 ton and the agronomist received financial supports from kenaf administration, the margin profit reached up to 37% which is almost dual profitability that is expected without government support. The financial analysis explains that, the adopted scenarios of the productivity are feasible when Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) was used as financial indicator. Nonetheless, the kenaf productivity of 15 ton is the superlative viable among the others and payback period is 5 years which equals to middle period time to return the invested amount back. The study concluded that for the farmer to increase the productivity of kenaf per hectare the well farming practices as well as continuously farmers financial support are highly needed.
Abstract: Composting is one of the conventional techniques adopted for organic waste management but the practice is very limited in emerging cities despite that most of the waste generated is organic. This paper aims to examine the viability of composting for organic waste management in the emerging city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by addressing the composting practice, quality of compost and application of compost in urban agriculture. The study collects data using compost laboratory testing and urban farm households’ survey and uses descriptive analysis on the state of compost production and application, physicochemical analysis of the compost samples, and regression analysis on the urban farmer’s willingness to pay for compost. The findings of the study indicated that there is composting practice at a small scale, most of the producers use unsorted feedstock materials, aerobic composting is dominantly used and the maturation period ranged from four to 10 weeks. The carbon content of the compost ranges from 30.8 to 277.1 due to the type of feedstock applied and this surpasses the ideal proportions for C:N ratio. The total nitrogen, pH, organic matter and moisture content are relatively optimal. The levels of heavy metals measured for Mn, Cu, Pb, Cd and Cr6+ in the compost samples are also insignificant. In the urban agriculture sector, chemical fertilizer is the dominant type of soil input in crop productions but vegetable producers use a combination of both fertilizer and other organic inputs including compost. The willingness to pay for compost depends on income, household size, gender, type of soil inputs, monitoring soil fertility, the main product of the farm, farming method and farm ownership. Finally, this study recommends the need for collaboration among stakeholders along the value chain of waste, awareness creation on the benefits of composting and addressing challenges faced by both compost producers and users.
Abstract: Background: Stroke is a disabling neurological disease. Rehabilitative therapies are important treatment methods. This clinical trial was done to compare the effects of virtual reality (VR) beside conventional rehabilitation versus conventional rehabilitation alone on the spasticity and motor function in stroke patients. Materials and methods: In this open-label randomized controlled clinical trial, 40 consecutive patients with stable first-ever ischemic stroke in the past three to 12 months that were referred to a rehabilitation clinic in Tehran, Iran in 2020 were enrolled. After signing the informed written consent form, subjects were randomly assigned by block randomization of five in each block as cases with 1:1 into two groups of 20 cases; conventional plus VR therapy group: 45-minute conventional therapy session plus 15-minute VR therapy, and conventional group: 60-minute conventional therapy session. VR rehabilitation is designed and developed with different stages. Outcomes were Modified Ashworth scale, Recovery Stage score for motor function, range of motion (ROM) of shoulder abduction/wrist extension, and patients’ satisfaction rate. Data were compared after study termination. Results: The satisfaction rate among the patients was significantly better in combination group (P = 0.003). Only wrist extension was varied between groups and was better in combination group. The variables generally had statistically significant difference (P < 0.05). Conclusion: VR plus conventional rehabilitation therapy is superior versus conventional rehabilitation alone on the wrist and elbow spasticity and motor function in patients with stroke.
Abstract: Senescence changes include postural balance, inferring the risk of falls, and can lead to fractures, bedridden, and the risk of death. Physical activity, e.g., cardiovascular exercises, is notable for improving balance due to brain cell stimulations, but fine coordination exercises also elevate cell brain metabolism. This study aimed to verify whether the elderly person who performs fine motor activity has a balance similar to that of those who practice physical activity. The subjects were divided into three groups according to the activity practice: control group (CG) with seven participants for the sedentary individuals, motor coordination group (MCG) with six participants, and physical activity group (PAG) with eight participants. Data comparisons were from the Berg balance scale, Time up and Go test, and stabilometric analysis. Descriptive statistical and ANOVA analyses were performed for data analysis. The results reveal that including fine motor activities can improve the balance of the elderly and indirectly decrease the risk of falls.
Abstract: It is desirable that most human food is warm when eaten, including when food is obtained by taking it away from the point of sale in disposable food packaging. However, such packaging does not retain heat for a long time, which is necessary to ensure the food remains warm when eaten. The study looked for single-use food packaging that could retain the heat of the food for a long time. The methodology for obtaining such packaging is either by modifying available packages on the market or by making new ones with materials that are easily obtained locally, then testing by loading the local food and measuring its temperature and the length of time until it reaches the lowest acceptable temperature for hot food (56°C). Packages made of plastic boxes lined with thin aluminum foil on the inside are the best way to keep food warm for up to 44 minutes from the time it is put in the package to the time the required temperature is reached. Moreover, packaging made of local common food paper, where the food was put in a transparent plastic bag inside the package, was found to be the simplest package that could retain heat for 82.31% as long as the best packaging could, in this study. Plastic boxes with thin aluminum foil inside were the best single-use food packaging in this study that served to keep hot food warm and fit for consumption.
Abstract: The tools described in this paper enable the location of burned areas where took place the annihilation of natural habitats and establishes a baseline for major changes in forest ecosystems during recovery. Moreover, the result allows the follow up of the surface fuel loading, allowing the evaluation and guidance of restoration measures to remote areas by phased time planning. This case study implements the evaluation of burned areas that suffered successive wildfires in Portugal mainland during the summer of 2017, killing more than 60 people. The goal is to show that this evaluation can be done with remote sense data free of charges in a simple laptop, with open-source software, describing the not-so-simple methodology step by step, to make it accessible for local workers in the areas attained, where the availability of information is essential for the immediate planning of mitigation measures, such as restoring road access, allocate funds for the recovery of human dwellings and assess further needs for restoration of the ecological system. Wildfires also devastate forest ecosystems having a direct impact on vegetation cover and killing or driving away the animal population, besides loss of all crops in rural areas that are essential as local resources. The economic interests are also attained, as the pinewood burned becomes useless for the noblest applications, so its value decreases, and resin extraction ends for several years.
Abstract: Diabetes disease that arises from the higher glucose level due to insulin shortage or insulin opposition in the human body has become a common disease in the world. No medicine can cure it completely. However, by taking medicine, maintaining diets, and having exercises regularly, a diabetes patient can keep his glucose level within the specified limits and in this way, he/she can lead a normal life like a healthy person. But to control glucose levels, a patient needs to monitor them regularly. Various techniques are being used over the last four decades. This modern review article aims to provide a comparative study report on various blood glucose monitoring techniques in a very concise and organized manner. The review mainly emphasizes working principles, cost, technology, sensors, measurement types, measurement accuracy, advantages, and disadvantages, etc. of various techniques and then compares among each other. Besides, the use of algorithms and simulators for the growth of this technology is also presented. Finally, current research trends of this measurement technology have also been discussed.
Abstract: The fast development of technology that has advanced neuroscience and human interaction with computers has enabled solutions to various problems and issues of this new era. The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) has opened the door to several new research areas and have been able to provide solutions to critical and vital issues such as supporting a paralyzed patient to interact with the outside world, controlling a robot arm, playing games in VR with the brain, driving a wheelchair. This review presents the state-of-the-art methods and improvements of canonical correlation analyses (CCA), an SSVEP-based BCI method. These are the methods used to extract EEG signal features or, to be said differently, the features of interest that we are looking for in the EEG analyses. Each of the methods from oldest to newest has been discussed while comparing their advantages and disadvantages. This would create a great context and help researchers understand the most state-of-the-art methods available in this field, their pros and cons, and their mathematical representations and usage. This work makes a vital contribution to the existing field of study. It differs from other similar recently published works by providing the following: (1) stating most of the main methods used in this field in a hierarchical way, (2) explaining the pros and cons of each method and their performance, (3) presenting the gaps that exist at the end of each method that can improve the understanding and open doors to new researches or improvements.
Abstract: Aflatoxins are highly poisonous and carcinogenic compounds produced by species of the genus Aspergillus spp. that can infect a variety of agricultural foods, including dried figs. Biological and environmental factors, such as population, pathogenicity and aflatoxinogenic capacity of the strains, topography, soil and climate parameters of the fig orchards are believed to have a strong effect on aflatoxin levels. Existing methods for aflatoxin detection and measurement, such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), can provide accurate results, but the procedures are usually time-consuming, sample-destructive and expensive. Predicting aflatoxin levels prior to crop harvest is useful for minimizing the health and financial impact of a contaminated crop. Consequently, there is interest in developing a tool that predicts aflatoxin levels based on topography and soil analysis data of fig orchards. This paper describes the development of a risk assessment tool for the contamination of aflatoxin on dried figs, based on the location and altitude of the fig orchards, the population of the fungus Aspergillus spp. in the soil, and soil parameters such as pH, saturation percentage (SP), electrical conductivity (EC), organic matter, particle size analysis (sand, silt, clay), concentration of the exchangeable cations (Ca, Mg, K, Na), extractable P and trace of elements (B, Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu), by employing machine learning methods. In particular, our proposed method integrates three machine learning techniques i.e., dimensionality reduction on the original dataset (Principal Component Analysis), metric learning (Mahalanobis Metric for Clustering) and K-nearest Neighbors learning algorithm (KNN), into an enhanced model, with mean performance equal to 85% by terms of the Pearson Correlation Coefficient (PCC) between observed and predicted values.
Abstract: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are related to affectations of the heart and blood vessels, within these are pathologies such as coronary or peripheral heart disease, caused by the narrowing of the vessel wall (atherosclerosis), which is related to the accumulation of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) in the arterial walls that leads to a progressive reduction of the lumen of the vessel and alterations in blood perfusion. Currently, the main therapeutic strategy for this type of alteration is drug treatment with statins, which inhibit the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), responsible for modulating the rate of cholesterol production and other isoprenoids in the mevalonate pathway. This enzyme induces the expression of LDL receptors in the liver, increasing their number on the surface of liver cells, reducing the plasma concentration of cholesterol. On the other hand, when the blood vessel presents stenosis, a surgical procedure with vascular implants is indicated, which are used to restore circulation in the arterial or venous bed. Among the materials used for the development of vascular implants are Dacron® and Teflon®, which perform the function of re-waterproofing the circulatory circuit, but due to their low biocompatibility, they do not have the ability to promote remodeling and tissue regeneration processes. Based on this, the present research proposes the development of a hydrolyzed collagen and polyethylene oxide electrospun membrane reinforced with medium and high-intensity statins, so that in future research it can favor tissue remodeling processes from its microarchitecture.
Abstract: Ischemic events can culminate in acute myocardial infarction with irreversible cardiac lesions that cannot be restored due to the limited regenerative capacity of the heart. Tissue engineering proposes therapeutic alternatives by using biomaterials to resemble the native extracellular medium combined with healthy and functional cells. This research focused on developing a natural thermosensitive hydrogel, its physical-chemical characterization and in vitro biocompatibility determination. Hydrogels’ morphological characterization was carried out through scanning electron microscopy and its chemical characterization by employing Infrared Spectroscopy technic. In addition, the biocompatibility was determined using fetal human ventricular cardiomyocytes cell line RL-14 and the MTT cytotoxicity test according to the ISO 10993-5 standard. Four biocompatible and thermosensitive hydrogels were obtained with a three-dimensional internal structure and two gelation times. The results show the potential of the hydrogel to increase the cell survival rate to the cardiac cell therapies under investigation and lay the foundations to continue with its characterization and biological evaluation both in vitro and in vivo models.
Abstract: Farm management and operations will drastically change due to access to real-time data, real-time forecasting and tracking of physical items in combination with Internet of Things (IoT) developments to further automate farm operations. Dairy farms have embraced technological innovations and procured vast amounts of permanent data streams during the past decade; however, the integration of this information to improve the whole farm decision-making process does not exist. It is now imperative to develop a system that can collect, integrate, manage, and analyze on-farm and off-farm data in real-time for practical and relevant environmental and economic actions. The developed systems, based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, need to be connected for useful output, a better understanding of the whole farming issue and environmental impact. Evolutionary Computing (EC) can be very effective in finding the optimal combination of sets of some objects and finally, in strategy determination. The system of the future should be able to manage the dairy farm as well as an experienced dairy farm manager with a team of the best agricultural advisors. All these changes should bring resilience and sustainability to dairy farming as well as improving and maintaining good animal welfare and the quality of dairy products. This review aims to provide an insight into the state-of-the-art of big data applications and EC in relation to smart dairy farming and identify the most important research and development challenges to be addressed in the future. Smart dairy farming influences every area of management and its uptake has become a continuing trend.
Abstract: In this work, we use machine learning and data analysis techniques to predict the one-year mortality of cirrhotic patients. Data from 2,322 patients with liver cirrhosis are collected at a single medical center. Different machine learning models are applied to predict one-year mortality. A comprehensive feature space including demographic information, comorbidity, clinical procedure and laboratory tests is being analyzed. A temporal pattern mining technic called Frequent Subgraph Mining (FSM) is being used. Model for End-stage liver disease (MELD) prediction of mortality is used as a comparator. All of our models statistically significantly outperform the MELD-score model and show an average 10% improvement of the area under the curve (AUC). The FSM technic itself does not improve the model significantly, but FSM, together with a machine learning technique called an ensemble, further improves the model performance. With the abundance of data available in healthcare through electronic health records (EHR), existing predictive models can be refined to identify and treat patients at risk for higher mortality. However, due to the sparsity of the temporal information needed by FSM, the FSM model does not yield significant improvements. Our work applies modern machine learning algorithms and data analysis methods on predicting one-year mortality of cirrhotic patients and builds a model that predicts one-year mortality significantly more accurate than the MELD score. We have also tested the potential of FSM and provided a new perspective of the importance of clinical features.
Abstract: The primary tool currently used to pre-process 10X chromium single-cell ATAC-seq data is Cell Ranger, which can take very long to run on standard datasets. To facilitate rapid pre-processing that enables reproducible workflows, we present a suite of tools called scATAK for pre-processing single-cell ATAC-seq data that is 15 to 18 times faster than Cell Ranger on mouse and human samples. Our tool can also calculate chromatin interaction potential matrices and generate open chromatin signal and interaction traces for cell groups. We use scATAK tool to explore the chromatin regulatory landscape of a healthy adult human brain and unveil cell-type specific features, and show that it provides a convenient and computational efficient approach for pre-processing single-cell ATAC-seq data.
Abstract: Identification of plant diseases has been performed using machine learning and deep learning models on the datasets containing images of healthy and diseased plant leaves. The current study carries out an evaluation of some of the deep learning models based on convolutional neural network architectures for identification of plant diseases. For this purpose, the publicly available New Plant Diseases Dataset, an augmented version of PlantVillage dataset, available on Kaggle platform, containing 87,900 images has been used. The dataset contained images of 26 diseases of 14 different plants and images of 12 healthy plants. The CNN models selected for the study presented in this paper are AlexNet, ZFNet, VGGNet (four models), GoogLeNet, and ResNet (three models). The selected models are trained using PyTorch, an open-source machine learning library, on Google Colaboratory. A comparative study has been carried out to analyze the high degree of accuracy achieved using these models. The highest test accuracy and F1-score of 99.59% and 0.996, respectively, were achieved by using GoogLeNet with Mini-batch momentum based gradient descent learning algorithm.
Abstract: The skin-gut axis defines the relationship between the intestinal microbiota and the development of pathological skin diseases. Low diversity within the gut can predispose to the development of allergic skin conditions, and a greater diversity of the gastrointestinal microflora has been associated with a reduction of skin flares in people with atopic dermatitis. Manipulation of the gut microflora has been used as a treatment option for several conditions in people, but there is limited data available on the use of fecal transplantation as a preventative measure in either people or dogs. Six, 4-month-old pups from a litter of 10 were presented for diarrhea and/or signs of skin disease (chronic scratching, otitis externa). Of these pups, two were given probiotics with a resultant resolution of diarrhea. The other four pups were given fecal transplantation, either as a sole treatment or in combination with other treatments. Follow-up on the litter of 10 pups was performed at 18 months of age. At this stage, three out of the four pups that had received fecal transplantation had resolved all clinical signs and had no recurrence of either skin or gastrointestinal symptoms, the other pup had one episode of Malassezia otitis. Of the remaining six pups from the litter, all had developed at least one episode of Malassezia otitis externa within the period of five to 18 months of age. Two pups had developed two Malassezia otitis infections, and one had developed three Malassezia otitis infections during this period. Favrot’s criteria for the diagnosis of canine atopic dermatitis include chronic or recurrent Malassezia infections by the age of three years. Early results from this litter predict a reduction in the development of canine atopic disease in dogs given fecal microbial transplantation. Follow-up studies at three years of age and within a larger population of dogs can enhance understanding of the impact of early fecal transplantation in the prevention of canine atopic dermatitis.
Abstract: The utilization of electronic medical record (EMR) data to establish the disease diagnosis model has become an important research content of biomedical informatics. Deep learning can automatically extract features from the massive data, which brings about breakthroughs in the study of EMR data. The challenge is that deep learning lacks semantic knowledge, which leads to impracticability in medical science. This research proposes a method of incorporating lexical-semantic knowledge from abundant entities into a convolutional neural network (CNN) framework for pediatric disease diagnosis. Firstly, medical terms are vectorized into Lexical Semantic Vectors (LSV), which are concatenated with the embedded word vectors of word2vec to enrich the feature representation. Secondly, the semantic distribution of medical terms serves as Semantic Decision Guide (SDG) for the optimization of deep learning models. The study evaluates the performance of LSV-SDG-CNN model on four kinds of Chinese EMR datasets. Additionally, CNN, LSV-CNN, and SDG-CNN are designed as baseline models for comparison. The experimental results show that LSV-SDG-CNN model outperforms baseline models on four kinds of Chinese EMR datasets. The best configuration of the model yielded an F1 score of 86.20%. The results clearly demonstrate that CNN has been effectively guided and optimized by lexical-semantic knowledge, and LSV-SDG-CNN model improves the disease classification accuracy with a clear margin.
Abstract: A study has been conducted on the available aquatic invertebrates in the river Dhansiri at Dimapur site. The study confirmed that the river body composed of aquatic macroinvertebrate community in two phyla viz., Arthropods and Molluscs. Total ten species have been identified from there as the source of alternative protein food for the common people. Not only the protein source they are also the component of aquatic food chain and indicators of aquatic ecosystem. Proper management and strategies to promote the edible invertebrates can be considered as the alternative protein and alternative income source for the common people for sustainable livelihood improvement.