The Mamut Copper Mine (MCM) located in Sabah (Malaysia) on Borneo Island was the only Cu-Au mine that operated in the country. During its operation (1975-1999), the mine produced 2.47 Mt of concentrate containing approximately 600,000 t of Cu, 45 t of Au and 294 t of Ag, and generated about 250 Mt of overburden and waste rocks and over 150 Mt of tailings, which were deposited at the 397 ha Lohan tailings storage facility, 15.8 km from the mine and 980 m lower in altitude. The MCM site presents challenges for environmental rehabilitation due to the presence of large volumes of sulphidic minerals wastes, the very high rainfall and the large volume of polluted mine pit water. This indicates that rehabilitation and treatment is costly, as for example, exceedingly large quantities of lime are needed for neutralisation of the acidic mine pit discharge. The MCM site has several unusual geochemical features on account of the concomitant occurrence of acid-forming sulphide porphyry rocks and alkaline serpentinite minerals, and unique biological features because of the very high plant diversity in its immediate surroundings. The site hence provides a valuable opportunity for researching natural acid neutralisation processes and mine rehabilitation in tropical areas. Today, the MCM site is surrounded by protected nature reserves (Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site, and Bukit Hampuan, a Class I Forest Reserve), and the environmental legacy prevents de-gazetting and inclusion in these protected area in the foreseeable future. This article presents a preliminary geochemical investigation of waste rocks, sediments, secondary precipitates, surface water chemistry and foliar elemental uptake in ferns, and discusses these results in light of their environmental significance for rehabilitation.
The tropical climate in China exists in southeastern Xizang (Tibet), southwestern to southeastern Yunnan, southwestern Guangxi, southern Guangdon, southern Taiwan, and Hainan, and these southern Chinese areas contain tropical floras. I checked and synonymized native seed plants from these tropical areas in China and recognized 12,844 species of seed plants included in 2,181 genera and 227 families. In the tropical flora of southern China, the families are mainly distributed in tropical areas and extend into temperate zones and contribute to the majority of the taxa present. The genera with tropical distributions also make up the most of the total flora. In terms of geographical elements, the genera with tropical Asian distribution constitute the highest proportion, which implies tropical Asian or Indo-Malaysia affinity. Floristic composition and geographical elements are conspicuous from region to region due to different geological history and ecological environments, although floristic similarities from these regions are more than 90% and 64% at the family and generic levels, respectively, but lower than 50% at specific level. These differences in the regional floras could be influenced by historical events associated with the uplift of the Himalayas, such as the southeastward extrusion of the Indochina geoblock, clockwise rotation and southeastward movement of Lanping-Simao geoblock, and southeastward movement of Hainan Island. The similarity coefficients between the flora of southern China and those of Indochina countries are more than 96% and 80% at family and generic levels, indicating their close floristic affinity and inclusion in the same biogeographically floristic unit.
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) may be demonstrated in 60-70% of asthmatic children in temperate climates. In areas of high humidity it is postulated to be low. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of EIB in a population of schoolchildren with wheezing, living in the humid tropical climate of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Dematiaceous fungi (black fungi) are a heterogeneous group of fungi present in diverse environments worldwide. Many species in this group are known to cause allergic reactions and potentially fatal diseases in humans and animals, especially in tropical and subtropical climates. This study represents the first survey of dematiaceous fungi in Malaysia and provides observations on their diversity as well as in vitro response to antifungal drugs. Seventy-five strains isolated from various clinical specimens were identified by morphology as well as an internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based phylogenetic analysis. The combined molecular and conventional approach enabled the identification of three classes of the Ascomycota phylum and 16 genera, the most common being Cladosporium, Cochliobolus and Neoscytalidium. Several of the species identified have not been associated before with human infections. Among 8 antifungal agents tested, the azoles posaconazole (96%), voriconazole (90.7%), ketoconazole (86.7%) and itraconazole (85.3%) showed in vitro activity (MIC ≤ 1 µg/mL) to the largest number of strains, followed by anidulafungin (89.3%), caspofungin (74.7%) and amphotericin B (70.7%). Fluconazole appeared to be the least effective with only 10.7% of isolates showing in vitro susceptibility. Overall, almost half (45.3%) of the isolates showed reduced susceptibility (MIC >1 µg/mL) to at least one antifungal agent, and three strains (one Pyrenochaeta unguis-hominis and two Nigrospora oryzae) showed potential multidrug resistance.
How tropical trees flower synchronously near the equator in the absence of significant day length variation or other meteorological cues has long been a puzzle. The rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is used as a model to investigate this phenomenon. The annual cycle of solar radiation intensity is shown to correspond closely with the flowering of the rubber tree planted near the equator and in the subtropics. Unlike in temperate regions, where incoming solar radiation (insolation) is dependent on both day length and radiation intensity, insolation at the equator is due entirely to the latter. Insolation at the upper atmosphere peaks twice a year during the spring and autumn equinoxes, but the actual solar radiation that reaches the ground is attenuated to varying extents in different localities. The rubber tree shows one or two flowering seasons a year (with major and minor seasons in the latter) in accordance with the solar radiation intensity received. High solar radiation intensity, and in particular bright sunshine (as distinct from prolonged diffuse radiation), induces synchronous anthesis and blooming in Hevea around the time of the equinoxes. The same mechanism may be operational in other tropical tree species.
This article presents findings of the thermal comfort study in hospitals. A field survey was conducted to investigate the temperature range for thermal comfort in hospitals in the tropics. Thermal acceptability assessment was conducted to examine whether the hospitals in the tropics met the ASHRAE Standard-55 80% acceptability criteria. A total of 114 occupants in four hospitals were involved in the study. The results of the field study revealed that only 44% of the examined locations met the comfort criteria specified in ASHRAE Standard 55. The survey also examined the predicted percentage of dissatisfied in the hospitals. The results showed that 49% of the occupants were satisfied with the thermal environments in the hospitals. The field survey analysis revealed that the neutral temperature for Malaysian hospitals was 26.4 degrees C. The comfort temperature range that satisfied 90% of the occupants in the space was in the range of 25.3-28.2 degrees C. The results from the field study suggested that a higher comfort temperature was required for Malaysians in hospital environments compared with the temperature criteria specified in ASHRAE Standard (2003). In addition, the significant deviation between actual mean vote and predicted mean vote (PMV) strongly implied that PMV could not be applied without errors in hospitals in the tropics.
Four insect repellent products (RPs) (RP 1, Experimental Repellent Lotion [Bayrepel 12%]; RP 2, Experimental Repellent Cream [Bayrepel 5%]; RP 3, Off! Insect Repellent II Aerosol [deet 15%]; and RP 4, Off! Skintastic II Cream [deet 7.5%]) were evaluated simultaneously for their efficacy against vector and nuisance mosquitoes. The aim of this study was to compare the relative efficacy of RPs based on a new repellent compound, Bayrepel (1-piperidinecarboxylic acid, 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-methylpropylester), with deet (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide)-based RPs. An 8-h field efficacy of above repellents was evaluated against the day-biting mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and night-biting mosquitoes (Culex quinquefasciatus and Anopheles spp.). Evaluation was carried out by exposing humans with repellent-treated bare limbs to mosquitoes landing and to mosquitoes landing and biting. Repellent product 1 or 2 was applied on the left arm and leg, whereas RP 3 or 4 was applied on the right arm and leg, respectively. Application of these 4 RPs significantly reduced (P < 0.05) the landing and the landing and biting of day-biting and night-biting mosquitoes. All 4 RPs were found to be equally effective (P < 0.05) against Ae. albopictus and Cx. quinquefasciatus. However, for protection against Anopheles spp., RPs 1 and 3 exhibited significantly (P < 0.05) better repellency effect than RPs 2 and 4.
Indoor bioefficacy of the thermal fogging application of Pesguard FG 161, a formulation containing both knockdown and killing agents (active ingredient [AI]: d-tetramethrin 4% [w/w] and cyphenothrin 12% [w/w]) was compared with Resigen5 (AI: s-bioallethrin 0.8% [w/w], permethrin 125/75] 18.7% [w/w], and piperonyl butoxide 16.8% [w/w]), another pyrethroid formulation, as larvicides and adulticides against Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Anopheles sinensis, and Culex quinquefasciatus using a portable Agrofog AF35 sprayer indoors in houses on Penang Island, Malaysia. Pesguard FG 161 at the concentrations tested was effective against all 4 mosquito species tested. The water-based Pesguard FG 161 performed far better as a larvicide than the diesel-based formulation. Resigen was also effective as a larvicide and adulticide against all 4 mosquito species tested. Larvae of Ae. aegypti were most susceptible to water-based Pesguard FG 161, followed by Cx. quinquefasciatus, An. sinensis, and Ae. albopictus. Even at the lowest concentrations tested, Pesguard FG 161 showed adequate adulticidal properties. At higher dosages, water-based Pesguard FG 161 proved effective as a larvicide against all 4 mosquito species.
The spatial distribution of basidiocarps provides much information on the dispersal abilities, habitat preferences, and inter- and intraspecific interactions of aphyllophoraceous fungi. To reveal the spatial distribution and resource utilization patterns of aphyllophoraceous fungi in Malaysia, we conducted field observations in a primary forest in 2006 and analyzed the relationships between the abundance of eight dominant fungal species and various environmental factors. The topographical characteristics were significantly patchily distributed at the 100-m scale, whereas woody debris and most fungal species were distributed randomly. Although the dominant fungal species differed among the decay classes and diameters of the woody debris, the abundance of a few dominant species was significantly correlated with environmental factors. Although the latter factors might affect the spatial distribution of these fungi, the effects appear to be so small that they would not create an aggregated distribution at a few 100-m scales.
This paper presents the modelled raindrop size parameters in Skudai region of the Johor Bahru, western Malaysia. Presently, there is no model to forecast the characteristics of DSD in Malaysia, and this has an underpinning implication on wet weather pollution predictions. The climate of Skudai exhibits local variability in regional scale. This study established five different parametric expressions describing the rain rate of Skudai; these models are idiosyncratic to the climate of the region. Sophisticated equipment that converts sound to a relevant raindrop diameter is often too expensive and its cost sometimes overrides its attractiveness. In this study, a physical low-cost method was used to record the DSD of the study area. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to test the aptness of the data to exponential and lognormal distributions, which were subsequently used to formulate the parameterisation of the distributions. This research abrogates the concept of exclusive occurrence of convective storm in tropical regions and presented a new insight into their concurrence appearance.
We used the global fire detection record provided by the satellite-based Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to determine the number of fires detected inside 823 tropical and subtropical moist forest reserves and for contiguous buffer areas 5, 10, and 15 km wide. The ratio of fire detection densities (detections per square kilometer) inside reserves to their contiguous buffer areas provided an index of reserve effectiveness. Fire detection density was significantly lower inside reserves than in paired, contiguous buffer areas but varied by five orders of magnitude among reserves. The buffer: reserve detection ratio varied by up to four orders of magnitude among reserves within a single country, and median values varied by three orders of magnitude among countries. Reserves tended to be least effective at reducing fire frequency in many poorer countries and in countries beset by corruption. Countries with the most successful reserves include Costa Rica, Jamaica, Malaysia, and Taiwan and the Indonesian island of Java. Countries with the most problematic reserves include Cambodia, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Sierra Leone and the Indonesian portion of Borneo. We provide fire detection density for 3964 tropical and subtropical reserves and their buffer areas in the hope that these data will expedite further analyses that might lead to improved management of tropical reserves.
Proteobacteria produce N-acylhomoserine lactones as signaling molecules, which will bind to their cognate receptor and activate quorum sensing-mediated phenotypes in a population-dependent manner. Although quorum sensing signaling molecules can be degraded by bacteria or fungi, there is no reported work on the degradation of such molecules by basidiomycetous yeast. By using a minimal growth medium containing N-3-oxohexanoylhomoserine lactone as the sole source of carbon, a wetland water sample from Malaysia was enriched for microbial strains that can degrade N-acylhomoserine lactones, and consequently, a basidiomycetous yeast strain WW1C was isolated. Morphological phenotype and molecular analyses confirmed that WW1C was a strain of Trichosporon loubieri. We showed that WW1C degraded AHLs with N-acyl side chains ranging from 4 to 10 carbons in length, with or without oxo group substitutions at the C3 position. Re-lactonisation bioassays revealed that WW1C degraded AHLs via a lactonase activity. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of degradation of N-acyl-homoserine lactones and utilization of N-3-oxohexanoylhomoserine as carbon and nitrogen source for growth by basidiomycetous yeast from tropical wetland water; and the degradation of bacterial quorum sensing molecules by an eukaryotic yeast.
Quadrat-based analysis of two rainforest plots of area 50 ha, one in Panama (Barro Colorado Island, BCI) and the other in Malaysia (Pasoh), shows that in both plots recruitment is in general negatively correlated with both numbers and biomass of adult trees of the same species in the same quadrat. At BCI, this effect is not significantly influenced by treefall gaps. In both plots, recruitment of individual species is negatively correlated with the numbers of trees of all species in the quadrats, but not with overall biomass. These observations suggest, but do not prove, widespread frequency-dependent effects produced by pathogens and seed-predators that act most effectively in quadrats crowded with trees. Within-species correlations of mortality with numbers or biomass are not found in either plot, indicating that most frequency-dependent mortality takes place before the trees reach 1 cm in diameter. Stochastic effects caused by BCI's more rapid tree turnover may contribute to a larger variance in diversity from quadrat to quadrat at BCI, although they are not sufficient to explain why BCI has fewer than half as many tree species as Pasoh. Finally, in both plots quadrats with low diversity show a significant increase in diversity over time, and this increase is stronger at BCI. This process, like the frequency-dependence, will tend to maintain diversity over time. In general, these non-random forces that should lead to the maintenance of diversity are slightly stronger at BCI, even though the BCI plot is less diverse than the Pasoh plot.
The effects of selective logging on the diversity and species composition of moths were investigated by sampling from multiple sites in primary forest, both understorey and canopy, and logged forest at Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia. The diversity of individual sites was similar, although rarefied species richness of logged forest was 17% lower than for primary forest (understorey and canopy combined). There was significant heterogeneity in faunal composition and measures of similarity (NESS index) among primary forest understorey sites which may be as great as those between primary understorey and logged forest. The lowest similarity values were between primary forest understorey and canopy, indicating a distinct canopy fauna. A number of species encountered in the logged forest were confined to, or more abundant in, the canopy of primary forest. Approximately 10% of species were confined to primary forest across a range of species' abundances, suggesting this is a minimum estimate for the number of species lost following logging. The importance of accounting for heterogeneity within primary forest and sampling in the canopy when measuring the effects of disturbance on tropical forest communities are emphasized.
The objective of this study was to investigate thermoregulatory responses to heat in tropical (Malaysian) and temperate (Japanese) natives, during 60 min of passive heating. Ten Japanese (mean ages: 20.8 ± 0.9 years) and ten Malaysian males (mean ages: 22.3 ± 1.6 years) with matched morphological characteristics and physical fitness participated in this study. Passive heating was induced through leg immersion in hot water (42°C) for 60 min under conditions of 28°C air temperature and 50% RH. Local sweat rate on the forehead and thigh were significantly lower in Malaysians during leg immersion, but no significant differences in total sweat rate were observed between Malaysians (86.3 ± 11.8 g m(-2) h(-1)) and Japanese (83.2 ± 6.4 g m(-2) h(-1)) after leg immersion. In addition, Malaysians displayed a smaller rise in rectal temperature (0.3 ± 0.1°C) than Japanese (0.7 ± 0.1°C) during leg immersion, with a greater increase in hand skin temperature. Skin blood flow was significantly lower on the forehead and forearm in Malaysians during leg immersion. No significant different in mean skin temperature during leg immersion was observed between the two groups. These findings indicated that regional differences in body sweating distribution might exist between Malaysians and Japanese during heat exposure, with more uniform distribution of local sweat rate over the whole body among tropical Malaysians. Altogether, Malaysians appear to display enhanced efficiency of thermal sweating and thermoregulatory responses in dissipating heat loss during heat loading. Thermoregulatory differences between tropical and temperate natives in this study can be interpreted as a result of heat adaptations to physiological function.
The particular agricultural adaptation we have been considering is the ultimate determinant of the presence of malaria parasites in the intracellular environment of the human red blood cell. This change in the cellular environment is deleterious for normal individuals, but individuals with the sickle-cell gene are capable of changing their red-cell environment so that intense parasitism never develops. Normal individuals suffer higher mortality rates and lower fertility rates in a malarious environment than individuals with the sickle-cell trait do, so the latter contribute proportionately more people to succeeding generations.
Falciparum malaria may have infected Homo sapiens (and perhaps H erectus) in the Asia Pacific region for more than 100,000 years. This estimate is based on the gene frequency of alpha-thalassaemia, the protection it affords against falciparum malaria and assumptions of untreated mortality from the infection. Up until the end of the 19th century, there was a high mortality from malaria in the coastal parts of Malaya, but the malaria control campaign, begun in 1901 at Klang, was described by Sir Ronald Ross as the first successful antimalarial work in the (then) British Empire. This was extended to Singapore in 1911. When the Far Eastern Association of Tropical Medicine held its Fifth Biennial Congress in Singapore in 1923, malaria was still a major killing disease in parts of Malaya and Sarawak. The mechanism of life-threatening malaria involves cytoadherence of parasitised erythrocytes in microvascular beds, a process enhanced by the products of macrophage activation induced by malarial pyrogen. Improvements in the chemotherapy of life-threatening falciparum malaria with chloroquine and quinine have been countered by the emergence of resistant strains. Artemisinin derivatives may become the treatment of choice during the coming decade. Apart from traditional anti-mosquito methods, control of malaria now involves the use of insecticide-impregnated bed nets, new entomological strategies, including genetic manipulation of mosquitoes and selective chemoprophylaxis. Antigenic diversity and antigenic variation of the malaria parasite have so far defeated attempts to produce an effective vaccine.
Chronic kidney disease is an emerging problem in the majority Muslim countries. Despite the uncertainties of the risks involved, some Muslim patients undergoing chronic haemodialysis choose to observe intermittent fasting during the month of Ramadan. This study aims to investigate the effect of Ramadan fasting in haemodialysis patients residing in a tropical climate country.