There are numerous commercial applications of microalgae nowadays owing to their vast biotechnological and economical potential. Indisputably, astaxanthin is one of the high value product synthesized by microalgae and is achieving commercial success. Astaxanthin is a keto-carotenoid pigment found in many aquatic animals including microalgae. Astaxanthin cannot be synthesized by animals and provided in the diet is compulsory. In this study, the production of astaxanthin by the freshwater microalgae Chlorella sorokiniana and marine microalgae Tetraselmis sp. were studied. The relationship between growth and astaxanthin production by marine and freshwater microalgae cultivated under various carbon sources and concentrations, environmental conditions and nitrate concentrations was investigated in this study. Inorganic carbon source and low nitrate concentration favored the growth and production of astaxanthin by the marine microalgae Tetraselmis sp. and the freshwater microalgae Chlorella sorokiniana. Outdoor cultivation enhanced the growth of microalgae, while indoor cultivation promoted the formation of astaxanthin. The results indicated that supplementation of light, inorganic carbon and nitrate could be effectively manipulated to enhance the production of astaxanthin by both microalgae studied.
Astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment found in several aquatic organisms, is responsible for the red colour of salmon, trout and crustaceans. In this study, astaxanthin production from freshwater microalga Chlorella sorokiniana and marine microalga Tetraselmis sp. was investigated. Cell growth and astaxanthin production were determined spectrophotometrically at 620 and 480 nm, respectively. Astaxanthin was extracted using acetone and measured subsequent to biomass removal. Aerated conditions favoured astaxanthin production in C. sorokiniana, whereas Tetraselmis sp. was best cultured under unaerated conditions. C. sorokiniana produced more astaxanthin with the highest yield reached at 7.83 mg/l in 6.0 mM in nitrate containing medium compared to Tetraselmis sp. which recorded the highest yield of only 1.96 mg/l in 1.5 mM nitrate containing medium. Production in C. sorokiniana started at the early exponential phase, indicating that astaxanthin may be a growth-associated product in this microalga. Further optimization of astaxanthin production was performed using C. sorokiniana through a 2(3) full factorial experimental design, and a yield of 8.39 mg/l was achieved. Overall, the study has shown that both microalgae are capable of producing astaxanthin. Additionally, this research has highlighted C. sorokiniana as a potential astaxanthin producer that could serve as a natural astaxanthin source in the current market.
Core-shell Fe3O4/Au nanostructures were constructed using an advanced method of two-step synthesis from Juglans regia (walnut) green husk extract. Several complementary methods were applied to investigate structural and magnetic properties of the samples. X-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), electron diffraction, optical, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM) were used for nanoparticle characterizations. As shown by HR-TEM, the mean diameter of core-shell Fe3O4/Au nanoparticles synthesized using co-precipitation method was 6.08 ± 1.06 nm. This study shows that the physical and structural properties of core-shell Fe3O4/Au nanoparticles possess intrinsic properties of gold and magnetite. VSM revealed that the core-shell Fe3O4/Au have high saturation magnetization and low coercivity due to the magnetic properties. The core-shell nanoparticles show the inhibitory concentration (IC)50 of 235 μg/ml against a colorectal cancer cell line, HT-29. When tested against non-cancer cells, IC50 was not achieved even up to 500 μg/ml. This study highlights the magnetic properties and anticancer action of core-shell Fe3O4/Au nanoparticles. This compound can be ideal candidate for cancer treatment and other biomedical applications.
Discovery of a novel anticancer drug delivery agent is important to replace conventional cancer therapies which are often accompanied by undesired side effects. This study demonstrated the synthesis of superparamagnetic magnetite nanocomposites (Fe3O4-NCs) using a green method. Montmorillonite (MMT) was used as matrix support, while Fe3O4 nanoparticles (NPs) and carrageenan (CR) were used as filler and stabilizer, respectively. The combination of these materials resulted in a novel nanocomposite (MMT/CR/Fe3O4-NCs). A series of characterization experiments was conducted. The purity of MMT/CR/Fe3O4-NCs was confirmed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. High resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) analysis revealed the uniform and spherical shape of Fe3O4 NPs with an average particle size of 9.3 ± 1.2 nm. Vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM) analysis showed an Ms value of 2.16 emu/g with negligible coercivity which confirmed the superparamagnetic properties. Protocatechuic acid (PCA) was loaded onto the MMT/CR/Fe3O4-NCs and a drug release study showed that 15% and 92% of PCA was released at pH 7.4 and 4.8, respectively. Cytotoxicity assays showed that both MMT/CR/Fe3O4-NCs and MMT/CR/Fe3O4-PCA effectively killed HCT116 which is a colorectal cancer cell line. Dose-dependent inhibition was seen and the killing was enhanced two-fold by the PCA-loaded NCs (IC50-0.734 mg/mL) compared to the unloaded NCs (IC50-1.5 mg/mL). This study highlights the potential use of MMT/CR/Fe3O4-NCs as a biologically active pH-responsive drug delivery agent. Further investigations are warranted to delineate the mechanism of cell entry and cancer cell killing as well as to improve the therapeutic potential of MMT/CR/Fe3O4-NCs.
A soil cooling system that prepares soil for temperate soil temperatures for the growth of temperate crops under a tropical climate is described herein. Temperate agriculture has been threatened by the negative impact of temperature increases caused by climate change. Soil temperature closely correlates with the growth of temperate crops, and affects plant processes and soil microbial diversity. The present study focuses on the effects of soil temperatures on lettuce growth and soil microbial diversity that maintains the growth of lettuce at low soil temperatures. A model temperate crop, loose leaf lettuce, was grown on eutrophic soil under soil cooling and a number of parameters, such as fresh weight, height, the number of leaves, and root length, were evaluated upon harvest. Under soil cooling, significant differences were observed in the average fresh weight (P<0.05) and positive development of the roots, shoots, and leaves of lettuce. Janthinobacterium (8.142%), Rhodoplanes (1.991%), Arthrospira (1.138%), Flavobacterium (0.857%), Sphingomonas (0.790%), Mycoplana (0.726%), and Pseudomonas (0.688%) were the dominant bacterial genera present in cooled soil. Key soil fungal communities, including Pseudaleuria (18.307%), Phoma (9.968%), Eocronartium (3.527%), Trichosporon (1.791%), and Pyrenochaeta (0.171%), were also recovered from cooled soil. The present results demonstrate that the growth of temperate crops is dependent on soil temperature, which subsequently affects the abundance and diversity of soil microbial communities that maintain the growth of temperate crops at low soil temperatures.
Acinetobacter baumannii is a ubiquitous bacteria that is increasingly becoming a formidable nosocomial pathogen. Due to its clinical relevance, studies on the bacteria's secretory molecules especially extracellular proteases are of interest primarily in relation to the enzyme's role in virulence. Besides, favorable properties that extracellular proteases possess may be exploited for commercial use thus there is a need to investigate extracellular proteases from Acinetobacter baumannii to gain insights into their catalytic properties. In this study, an extracellular subtilisin-like serine protease from Acinetobacter baumannii designated as SPSFQ that was isolated from fermented food was recombinantly expressed and characterized. The mature catalytically active form of SPSFQ shared a high percentage sequence identity of 99% to extracellular proteases from clinical isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae as well as a moderately high percentage identity to other bacterial proteases with known keratinolytic and collagenolytic activity. The homology model of mature SPSFQ revealed its structure is composed of 10 β-strands, 8 α-helices, and connecting loops resembling a typical architecture of subtilisin-like α/β motif. SPSFQ is catalytically active at an optimum temperature of 40 °C and pH 9. Its activity is stimulated in the presence of Ca2+ and severely inhibited in the presence of PMSF. SPSFQ also displayed the ability to degrade several tissue-associated protein substrates such as keratin, collagen, and fibrin. Accordingly, our study shed light on the catalytic properties of a previously uncharacterized extracellular serine protease from Acinetobacter baumannii that warrants further investigations into its potential role as a virulence factor in pathogenicity and commercial applications.
The advantageous characteristics of aerobic granular sludge (AGS) have led to their increasing popularities among academics and industrial players. However, there has been no bibliometric report on current and future research trends of AGS. This study utilized the available reports of AGS in the Scopus database for comprehensive bibliometric analyses using VOSviewer software. A total of 1203 research articles from 1997 to 2020 were analyzed. The dominance of the Netherlands and China were revealed by the high number of publications and citations. Nevertheless, the Netherlands exhibited higher average citation per article at 76.4. A recent process of AGS involving biochar and algal addition were also identified. Meanwhile, the application of AGS for antibiotic containing wastewater as well as possibility of resource recovery were recently reported and was expected to expand in the future. It was suggested that application of AGS would develop further along with the development of sustainable wastewater treatment process.
In this study, a simple, rapid, and eco-friendly green method was introduced to synthesize magnetite nanoparticles (Fe3O4-NPs) successfully. Seaweed Kappaphycus alvarezii (K. alvarezii) was employed as a green reducing and stabilizing agents. The synthesized Fe3O4-NPs were characterized with X-ray diffraction (XRD), ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques. The X-ray diffraction planes at (220), (311), (400), (422), (511), (440), and (533) were corresponding to the standard Fe3O4 patterns, which showed the high purity and crystallinity of Fe3O4-NPs had been synthesized. Based on FT-IR analysis, two characteristic absorption peaks were observed at 556 and 423 cm(-1), which proved the existence of Fe3O4 in the prepared nanoparticles. TEM image displayed the synthesized Fe3O4-NPs were mostly in spherical shape with an average size of 14.7 nm.
The development of eco-friendly and efficient technologies for treating wastewater is one of the attractive research area. Phytoremediation is considered to be a possible method for the removal of pollutants present in wastewater and recognized as a better green remediation technology. Nowadays the focus is to look for a sustainable approach in developing wastewater treatment capability. Water hyacinth is one of the ancient technology that has been still used in the modern era. Although, many papers in relation to wastewater treatment using water hyacinth have been published, recently removal of organic, inorganic and heavy metal have not been reviewed extensively. The main objective of this paper is to review the possibility of using water hyacinth for the removal of pollutants present in different types of wastewater. Water hyacinth is although reported to be as one of the most problematic plants worldwide due to its uncontrollable growth in water bodies but its quest for nutrient absorption has provided way for its usage in phytoremediation, along with the combination of herbicidal control, integratated biological control and watershed management controlling nutrient supply to control its growth. Moreover as a part of solving wastewater treatment problems in urban or industrial areas using this plant, a large number of useful byproducts can be developed like animal and fish feed, power plant energy (briquette), ethanol, biogas, composting and fiber board making. In focus to the future aspects of phytoremediation, the utilization of invasive plants in pollution abatement phytotechnologies can certainly assist for their sustainable management in treating waste water.
Natural astaxanthin is known to be produced by green microalgae, a potent producer of the most powerful antioxidant. To increase the productivity of astaxanthin in microalgae, random mutagenesis has been extensively used to improve the yield of valuable substances. In the presented work, a newly isolated Coelastrum sp. was randomly mutagenized by exposure to ethyl methane sulfonate and further screened using two approaches; an approach for high growth mutant and an approach for high astaxanthin producing mutant with a high-throughput screening method using glufosinate. Among these, mutant G1-C1 that was selected using glufosinate showed the highest of total carotenoids (45.48±1.5 mg/L) and astaxanthin (28.32±2.5 mg/L) production, which was almost 2-fold higher than that of wild type. This study indicates that random mutagenesis via chemical mutation strategy and screening using glufosinate successfully expedited astaxanthin production in a mutated strain of a Coelastrum sp.
The Johor Strait has experienced rapid development of various human activities and served as the main marine aquaculture area for the two countries that bordered the strait. Several fish kill incidents in 2014 and 2015 have been confirmed, attributed to the algal blooms of ichthyotoxic dinoflagellates; however, the cause of fish kill events after 2016 was not clarified and the causative organisms remained unknown. To clarify the potential cause of fish kills along the Johor Strait, a 1-year field investigation was conducted with monthly sampling between May 2018 and April 2019. Monthly vertical profiles of physical water parameters (temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen levels) were measured in situ at different depths (subsurface, 1 m, 5 m, and 8 m) depending on the ambient depth of the water column at the sampling stations. The spatial-temporal variability of macronutrients and chlorophyll a content was analyzed. Our results showed that high chlorophyll a concentration (up to 48.8 μg/L) and high biomass blooms of Skeletonema, Chaetoceros, Rhizosolenia, and Thalassiosira were observed seasonally at the inner part of the strait. A hypoxic to anoxic dead zone, with the dissolved oxygen levels ranging from 0.19 to 1.7 mg/L, was identified in the inner Johor Strait, covering an estimated area of 10.3 km2. The occurrence of high biomass diatom blooms and formation of the hypoxic-anoxic zone along the inner part Johor Strait were likely the culprits of some fish kill incidents after 2016.
Oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB) are the most abundant, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly lignocellulosic biomass in Malaysia. Investigations on the microbial diversity of decaying OPEFB may reveal microbes with complex enzymes that have the potential to enhance the conversion of lignocellulose into second-generation biofuels as well as the production of other value-added products. In the present study, fungal and bacterial diversities in decaying OPEFB were identified using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the V3 region of the 16S rRNA gene and V4 region of the 18S rRNA gene. Fungal diversity in decaying OPEFB was dominated by the phylum Ascomycota (14.43%), while most of the bacterial sequences retrieved belonged to Proteobacteria (76.71%). Three bacterial strains isolated from decaying OPEFB, designated as S18, S20, and S36, appeared to grow with extracted OPEFB-lignin and Kraft lignin (KL) as the sole carbon source. 16S rRNA gene sequencing identified the 3 isolates as Paenibacillus sp.. The molecular weight distribution of KL before and after degradation showed significant depolymerization when treated with bacterial strains S18, S20, and S36. The presence of low-molecular-weight lignin-related compounds, such as vanillin and 2-methoxyphenol derivatives, which were detected by a GC-MS analysis, confirmed the KL-degrading activities of isolated Paenibacillus strains.
Woody (lignocellulosic) plant biomass is an abundant renewable feedstock, rich in polysaccharides that are bound into an insoluble fiber composite with lignin. Marine crustacean woodborers of the genus Limnoria are among the few animals that can survive on a diet of this recalcitrant material without relying on gut resident microbiota. Analysis of fecal pellets revealed that Limnoria targets hexose-containing polysaccharides (mainly cellulose, and also glucomannans), corresponding with the abundance of cellulases in their digestive system, but xylans and lignin are largely unconsumed. We show that the limnoriid respiratory protein, hemocyanin, is abundant in the hindgut where wood is digested, that incubation of wood with hemocyanin markedly enhances its digestibility by cellulases, and that it modifies lignin. We propose that this activity of hemocyanins is instrumental to the ability of Limnoria to feed on wood in the absence of gut symbionts. These findings may hold potential for innovations in lignocellulose biorefining.