The outstanding combination of high tensile strength and extensibility of spider silk is believed to contribute to the material's toughness. Thus, there is great interest in engineering silk for biomedical products such as suture or implants. Additionally, over the years, many studies have also sought to enhance the mechanical properties of spider silk for wider applicability, e.g., by irradiating the material using ultra-violet radiation. However, the limitations surrounding the use of ultra-violet radiation for enhancing the mechanical properties of spider silk are not well-understood. Here, we have analyzed the mechanical properties of spider silk at short ultra-violet irradiation duration. Specimens of spider silk were subjected to ultra-violet irradiation (254-nm wavelength, i.e. UVC) for 10, 20, and 30 min, respectively, followed by tensile test to rupture to determine the strength (maximum stress), extensibility (rupture strain), and toughness (strain energy density to rupture). Controls, i.e., specimens that did not received UVC, were also subjected to tensile test to rupture to determine the respective mechanical properties. One-way analysis of variance reveals that these properties decrease significantly (p < 0.05) with increasing irradiation duration. Among the three mechanical parameters, the strength of the spider silk degrades most rapidly; the extensibility of the spider silk degrades the slowest. Overall, these changes correspond to the observed surface modifications as well as the bond rupture between the peptide chains of the treated silk. Altogether, this simple but comprehensive study provides some key insights into the dependence of the mechanical properties on ultra-violet irradiation duration.
Sun bear populations are fragmented and at risk from habitat loss and exploitation for body parts. These threats are made worse by significant gaps in knowledge of sun bear population genetic diversity, population connectivity, and taxonomically significant management units. Using a complete sun bear mitochondrial genome, we developed a set of mitochondrial markers to assess haplotype variation and the evolutionary history of sun bears from Peninsular (West) Malaysia and Sabah (East Malaysia). Genetic samples from 28 sun bears from Peninsular Malaysia, 36 from Sabah, and 18 from Thailand were amplified with primers targeting a 1800 bp region of the mitochondrial genome including the complete mitochondrial control region and adjacent genes. Sequences were analyzed using phylogenetic methods. We identified 51 mitochondrial haplotypes among 82 sun bears. Phylogenetic and network analyses provided strong support for a deep split between Malaysian sun bears and sun bears in East Thailand and Yunnan province in China. The Malaysian lineage was further subdivided into two clades: Peninsular Malaysian and Malaysian Borneo (Sabah). Sun bears from Thailand occurred in both Sabah and Peninsular Malaysian clades. Our study supports recent findings that sun bears from Sundaland form a distinct clade from those in China and Indochina with Thailand possessing lineages from the three clades. Importantly, we demonstrate a more recent and clear genetic delineation between sun bears from the Malay Peninsula and Sabah indicating historical barriers to gene flow within the Sundaic region.
Salmonella infections remain a major public health problem in developing countries. The occurrence of infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella has been on the rise complicating the available therapeutic options. The study aimed to determine the antibiograms and genotypes of prevalent Salmonella serotypes.