Little is known of the factors influencing soil archaeal community diversity and composition in the tropics. We sampled soils across a range of forest and nonforest environments in the equatorial tropics of Malaysia, covering a wide range of pH values. DNA was PCR-amplified for the V1-V3 region of the 16S rRNA gene, and 454-pyrosequenced. Soil pH was the best predictor of diversity and community composition of Archaea, being a stronger predictor than land use. Archaeal OTU richness was highest in the most acidic soils. Overall archaeal abundance in tropical soils (determined by qPCR) also decreased at higher pH. This contrasts with the opposite trend previously found in temperate soils. Thaumarcheota group 1.1b was more abundant in alkaline soils, whereas group 1.1c was only detected in acidic soils. These results parallel those found in previous studies in cooler climates, emphasizing niche conservatism among broad archaeal groups. Among the most abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs), there was clear evidence of niche partitioning by pH. No individual OTU occurred across the entire range of pH values. Overall, the results of this study show that pH plays a major role in structuring tropical soil archaeal communities.
We report the production and degradation of quorum sensing N-acyl-homoserine lactones by bacteria isolated from Malaysian montane forest soil. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that these isolates clustered closely to the genera of Arthrobacter, Bacillus and Pseudomonas. Quorum quenching activity was detected in six isolates of these three genera by using a series of bioassays and rapid resolution liquid chromatography analysis. Biosensor screening and high resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis revealed the production of N-dodecanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (C12-HSL) by Pseudomonas frederiksbergensis (isolate BT9). In addition to degradation of a wide range of N-acyl-homoserine lactones, Arthrobacter and Pseudomonas spp. also degraded p-coumaroyl-homoserine lactone. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first documentation of Arthrobacter and Pseudomonas spp. capable of degrading p-coumaroyl-homoserine lactone and the production of C12-HSL by P. frederiksbergensis.
An estimated two thirds of the world's population is currently without access to diagnostic radiology services, and most of them live in resource-limited tropical regions with harsh environments. Most patients are diagnosed and treated in poorly equipped government-funded hospitals and clinics that have insufficiently trained staff and are barely operational. Any available imaging equipment is likely to be functioning suboptimally and be poorly maintained. The root of the problem is usually a lack of know-how and a quality culture, combined with insufficient basic equipment and infrastructure. Radiological imaging is an essential aspect of primary care and used in the critical diagnosis and management of trauma, tuberculosis, pneumonia, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, cancer, and other respiratory and abdominal diseases. Considerations such as quality management and infrastructure, personnel, equipment, and radiation protection and safety are important to ensure the proper functioning and rational use of a diagnostic radiology facility in the tropics.
The objectives of this study are to determine the prevalence of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and the characteristics of the vibrotactile perception threshold (VPT) among users of hand-held vibrating tools working in a tropical environment. A cross sectional study was done among 47 shipyard workers using instruments and a questionnaire to determine HAVS related symptoms. The vibration acceleration magnitude was determined using a Human Vibration Meter (Maestro). A P8 Pallesthesiometer (EMSON-MAT, Poland) was used to determine the VPT of index and little finger at frequencies of 31.5 Hz and 125 Hz. The mean reference threshold shift was determined from the reference threshold shift derived from the VPT value. The results show a moderate prevalence of HAVS (49%) among the shipyard workers. They were exposed to the same high intensity level of HAVS (mean = 4.19 ± 1.94 m/s(2)) from the use of vibrating hand-held tools. The VPT values were found to be higher for both fingers and both frequencies (index, 31.5 Hz = 110.91 ± 7.36 dB, 125 Hz = 117.0 ± 10.25 dB; little, 31.5 Hz = 110.70 ± 6.75 dB, 125 Hz = 117.71 ± 10.25 dB) compared to the normal healthy population with a mean threshold shift of between 9.20 to 10.61 decibels. The frequency of 31.5 Hz had a higher percentage of positive mean reference threshold shift (index finger=93.6%, little finger=100%) compared to 125 Hz (index finger=85.1%, little finger=78.7%). In conclusion, the prevalence of HAVS was lower than those working in a cold environment; however, all workers had a higher mean VPT value compared to the normal population with all those reported as having HAVS showing a positive mean reference threshold shift of VPT value.
A deterministic simulation model was developed to estimate biological production efficiency and to evaluate goat crossbreeding systems under tropical conditions. The model involves 5 production systems: pure indigenous, first filial generations (F1), backcross (BC), composite breeds of F1 (CMP(F1)), and BC (CMP(BC)). The model first simulates growth, reproduction, lactation, and energy intakes of a doe and a kid on a 1-d time step at the individual level and thereafter the outputs are integrated into the herd dynamics program. The ability of the model to simulate individual performances was tested under a base situation. The simulation results represented daily BW changes, ME requirements, and milk yield and the estimates were within the range of published data. Two conventional goat production scenarios (an intensive milk production scenario and an integrated goat and oil palm production scenario) in Malaysia were examined. The simulation results of the intensive milk production scenario showed the greater production efficiency of the CMP(BC) and CMP(F1) systems and decreased production efficiency of the F1 and BC systems. The results of the integrated goat and oil palm production scenario showed that the production efficiency and stocking rate were greater for the indigenous goats than for the crossbreeding systems.
This study examined the fecundity, oviposition, nymphal development and longevity of field-collected samples of the tropical bedbug, Cimex hemipterus (Fabricius) (Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Under environmental conditions of 26+/-2 degrees C, 70 +/- 5% relative humidity and a 12-h photoperiod, with bloodmeals provided by a human host, six strains of tropical bedbug had a fecundity of up to 50 eggs per lifetime, over 11-14 oviposition cycles. Increased feeding frequency improved fecundity. After feeding and mating, adult females normally took 2-3 days to produce a first batch of eggs. The oviposition period lasted 2-7 days before cessation of the oviposition cycle. The egg incubation period usually lasted 5-7 days before the emergence of first instars. The nymphs underwent five stadia (the first four of which each took 3-4 days, whereas the last took 4-5 days) before becoming adults at a sex ratio of 1 : 1. More than five bloodmeals were required by the nymphs to ensure a successful moult. Unmated adults lived significantly longer than mated adults (P < 0.05). Unmated females lived up to almost 7 months, but the longevity of mated males and females did not differ significantly (P > 0.05).
We collected surface sediment samples from 174 locations in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines and analyzed them for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and hopanes. PAHs were widely distributed in the sediments, with comparatively higher concentrations in urban areas (Sigma PAHs: approximately 1000 to approximately 100,000 ng/g-dry) than in rural areas ( approximately 10 to approximately 100g-dry), indicating large sources of PAHs in urban areas. To distinguish petrogenic and pyrogenic sources of PAHs, we calculated the ratios of alkyl PAHs to parent PAHs: methylphenanthrenes to phenanthrene (MP/P), methylpyrenes+methylfluoranthenes to pyrene+fluoranthene (MPy/Py), and methylchrysenes+methylbenz[a]anthracenes to chrysene+benz[a]anthracene (MC/C). Analysis of source materials (crude oil, automobile exhaust, and coal and wood combustion products) gave thresholds of MP/P=0.4, MPy/Py=0.5, and MC/C=1.0 for exclusive combustion origin. All the combustion product samples had the ratios of alkyl PAHs to parent PAHs below these threshold values. Contributions of petrogenic and pyrogenic sources to the sedimentary PAHs were uneven among the homologs: the phenanthrene series had a greater petrogenic contribution, whereas the chrysene series had a greater pyrogenic contribution. All the Indian sediments showed a strong pyrogenic signature with MP/P approximately 0.5, MPy/Py approximately 0.1, and MC/C approximately 0.2, together with depletion of hopanes indicating intensive inputs of combustion products of coal and/or wood, probably due to the heavy dependence on these fuels as sources of energy. In contrast, sedimentary PAHs from all other tropical Asian cities were abundant in alkylated PAHs with MP/P approximately 1-4, MPy/Py approximately 0.3-1, and MC/C approximately 0.2-1.0, suggesting a ubiquitous input of petrogenic PAHs. Petrogenic contributions to PAH homologs varied among the countries: largest in Malaysia whereas inferior in Laos. The higher abundance of alkylated PAHs together with constant hopane profiles suggests widespread inputs of automobile-derived petrogenic PAHs to Asian waters.
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.
Theories of tropical tree diversity emphasize dispersal limitation as a potential mechanism for separating species in space and reducing competitive exclusion. We compared the dispersal morphologies, fruit sizes, and spatial distributions of 561 tree species within a fully mapped, 50-hectare plot of primary tropical forest in peninsular Malaysia. We demonstrate here that the extent and scale of conspecific spatial aggregation is correlated with the mode of seed dispersal. This relationship holds for saplings as well as for mature trees. Phylogenetically independent contrasts confirm that the relationship between dispersal and spatial pattern is significant even after controlling for common ancestry among species. We found the same qualitative results for a 50-hectare tropical forest plot in Panama. Our results provide broad empirical evidence for the importance of dispersal mode in establishing the long-term community structure of tropical forests.
The purpose of the present study was to develop a hydration strategy for use by female English field hockey players at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. An additional aim was to initiate the process of acclimation. Fifteen elite players, mean age (+/-SEM) 24.1 +/- 1.19 years, height 1.67 +/- 0.01 m, and body mass 62.8 +/- 1.76 kg, took part in a 5-day training camp immediately prior to departure for the Games. In order to develop the hydration strategy, training took place under similar environmental conditions to those to be experienced in Malaysia (i.e., 32 degrees C, 80% humidity). Acclimation training consisted of 30-50 min of either continuous, low intensity cycling or high intensity intermittent cycling, which more closely replicated the pattern of activity in field hockey. Body mass measures taken each morning, and pre and post training, together with urine color measures, were used to assess hydration status. Pre-loading with up to 1 L of a 3% carbohydrate-electrolyte solution or water immediately prior to acclimation training, as well as regular drinks throughout, ensured that players avoided significant dehydration, with percent body mass changes ranging from -0.34% to +4.24% post training. Furthermore, the protocol used was sufficient to initiate the process of acclimation as demonstrated by a significant reduction in exercising heart rate and core temperature at all time points by days 4 and 5. In conclusion, although labor intensive and time consuming, the camp was successful in developing a hydration strategy that players were able to utilize once at the Games.
International travel may be associated with the risk of a wide range of infectious diseases. This study was designed to obtain information on the health problems among international travellers from a subtropical region to the neighbouring tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions. Health problems among international travellers from Taiwan to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand (tropical group), Hong Kong, Macao, China and Japan (non-tropical group) were surveyed through the telephone. Of 649 travellers surveyed, 8.2% had one or more health problems and insect bite (3.4%) and coughing or sore throats (3.2%) were the most important symptoms. The rate of coughing or sore throats was significantly higher among those returned from the non-tropical regions. However, no associations were found between health problems and the demographic factors, travel style or travelling duration of travel.
In Amazonian tropical forests, recent studies have reported increases in aboveground biomass and in primary productivity, as well as shifts in plant species composition favouring fast-growing species over slow-growing ones. This pervasive alteration of mature tropical forests was attributed to global environmental change, such as an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, nutrient deposition, temperature, drought frequency, and/or irradiance. We used standardized, repeated measurements of over 2 million trees in ten large (16-52 ha each) forest plots on three continents to evaluate the generality of these findings across tropical forests. Aboveground biomass increased at seven of our ten plots, significantly so at four plots, and showed a large decrease at a single plot. Carbon accumulation pooled across sites was significant (+0.24 MgC ha(-1) y(-1), 95% confidence intervals [0.07, 0.39] MgC ha(-1) y(-1)), but lower than reported previously for Amazonia. At three sites for which we had data for multiple census intervals, we found no concerted increase in biomass gain, in conflict with the increased productivity hypothesis. Over all ten plots, the fastest-growing quartile of species gained biomass (+0.33 [0.09, 0.55] % y(-1)) compared with the tree community as a whole (+0.15 % y(-1)); however, this significant trend was due to a single plot. Biomass of slow-growing species increased significantly when calculated over all plots (+0.21 [0.02, 0.37] % y(-1)), and in half of our plots when calculated individually. Our results do not support the hypothesis that fast-growing species are consistently increasing in dominance in tropical tree communities. Instead, they suggest that our plots may be simultaneously recovering from past disturbances and affected by changes in resource availability. More long-term studies are necessary to clarify the contribution of global change to the functioning of tropical forests.
Young sedentary adult males of Malay, Indian, and Chinese origin who had established continuous residence in tropical Malaysia and presumed to be naturally acclimatized to heat, were studied to evaluate their physiological responses to a standard heat stress test. The Malay and Indian races have evolved in hot and humid geographical zones, whereas the Chinese originated from a temperate area. Subjects exercised at 50% VO2max alternating 18 minutes walking and 2 min rest during a 2-h exposure to an ambient of 34.9 degrees C dry bulb and 32.1 degrees C wet bulb. Heart rates, core and skin temperatures, sweat rates, and oxygen uptakes were measured during the heat exposure. The subjects of Malay origin exhibited the least circulatory stress of the three ethnic groups. The data obtained on these long-term residents of a hot-wet climate and who were considered acclimatized to this environment were compared to experimental data obtained by other investigators and other ethnic groups.
Asymmetrical street aspect ratios, i.e. different height-to-width (H1/W-H2/W) ratios, have not received much attention in the study of urban climates. Putrajaya Boulevard (northeast to southwest orientation) in Malaysia was selected to study the influence of six asymmetrical aspect ratio scenarios on the street microclimate using the Envi-met three-dimensional microclimate model (V3.1 Beta). Putrajaya Boulevard suffers from high surface and air temperature during the day due to the orientation, the low aspect ratio and the wide sky view factor. These issues are a common dilemma in many boulevards. Further, low and high symmetrical streets are incompatible with tropical regions as they offer conflicting properties during the day and at night. These scenarios are examined, therefore, to find asymmetrical streets which are able to reduce the impact of the day microclimate on boulevards, and as an alternative strategy fulfilling tropical day and night climatic conditions. Asymmetrical streets are better than low symmetrical streets in enhancing wind flow and blocking solar radiation, when tall buildings confront winds direction or solar altitudes. Therefore, mitigating heat islands or improving microclimates in asymmetrical streets based on tall buildings position which captures wind or caste shades. In northeast to southwest direction, aspect ratios of 0.8-2 reduce the morning microclimate and night heat islands yet the negative effects during the day are greater than the positive effects in the night. An aspect ratio of 2-0.8 reduces the temperature of surfaces by 10 to 14 °C and the air by 4.7 °C, recommended for enhancing boulevard microclimates and mitigating tropical heat islands.