The natural environment embraces agriculture and all its components-crops, animals, land, water,
forestry and fisheries. It is the most important user of environmental resources, made more complex
by the interactions of the various systems, biophysical elements and their implications. Increased food
production, especially of animal protein supplies are unable to meet current and projected future needs
for humans, including about 15 %of the world population being malnourished. Agriculture is currently
waning, and a coordinated and concerted technologically-driven transformation is necessary. Poorly
managed agriculture for example, can lead to serious environmental degradation and exacerbate
poverty. Land and water are considered to be the most limiting factors in the future. Non- irrigated
rainfed areas can be divided into high potential and low potential areas; the former offers considerable
promise to expand food production. This paper argues for increased Research and Development (R&D)
focus that can maximise improved natural resource management(NRM), and whether agricultural
development can maximise productivity yields .Other opportunities include expanding crop–animal
production systems in less favoured areas (LFAs), intensifying land use for silvopastoral systems in
rainfed areas , and enhance carbon sequestration. Ruminants can be used as an entry point for the
development of LFAs, and the presence of about 41.5% of the goat population found in the semi-arid/
arid AEZs X provides good opportunities for expanding food security and human well-being. Communitybased
interdisciplinary and systems approaches are essential to provide the solutions. The legacy of
continuing malnutrition and food insecurity must be overcome by effective development policy, multidonor
resource allocation, governance and political will that target food insecurity and poverty. The R&D
agendas and resource allocations are compelling, but dedicated vision can lead the way for sciencedriven
sustainable environment, efficiency in NRM, and self-reliance to the extent possible , in harmony
with nature and the environment.
Public awareness and understanding of the technology behind the creation of Genetically Modified Organisms
(GMOs) varies greatly from country to country, and indeed within the different sectors of any one country. Perhaps,
it is “the fear of the unknown” at work, or it is just a pure rejection of the idea that “Man is playing God”. For whatever
reason, and for whatever vested interest, there is often widespread clamor for stringent studies to be carried out
when conducting a risk assessment of GMOs.
For example, in Indonesia, regulation on the release of GMOs requires studies on any impact on non-target
organisms (NTOs) as well as on soil microorganisms (Machmud Thohari 2014). Similarly, in Vietnam, it is mandatory
to determine if there is any impact to the soil environment or ecosystem (Truong 2014), while in Cambodia, there is
worry over high levels of damage to NTOs and the environment from GMOs, because of the lack of capacity to cope
with such damage if it occurs (Pisey 2014).
All too often, opponents of modern biotechnology (a term used to define technologies resulting in GMOs), and,
indeed, the regulators themselves forget that there is already a procedure in place to provide a check and balance;
the risk assessment (RA) protocol. Most times, RA is far more stringent when conducted on GMOs compared with
when exotic species which are non-GMOs are involved (Tan 2013). It is also overlooked that modern biotechnology
can after all be considered a sophisticated new tool in plant breeding, an activity which has been practiced both by
farmers and scientists for millennia, and a technology accepted by all and sundry.
While GMOs are currently used in biological and medical research, for the production of pharmaceutical drugs,
in experimental medicine (e.g. gene therapy) and in agriculture, this paper is confined to discussions on GMOs in
Inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSRs) are regions in the genome flanked by microsatellite sequences.
PCR amplification of these regions using a single primer yields multiple amplification products that can
be used as a dominant multilocus marker system for the study of genetic variation in various organisms.
ISSR markers are easy to use, low-cost, and methodologically less demanding compared to other
dominant markers, making it an ideal genetic marker for beginners and for organisms whose genetic
information is lacking. Here, we comment upon some of the intricacies often overlooked in designing an
ISSR experiment, clarify some misconceptions, and provide recommendations on using ISSR markers
in genetic variation studies.
In this study, the implementation of the Regional Climate Model into the hydrodynamic model has been applied for streamflow projection on a river located at the south of Peninsular Malaysia within the years 2070 till 2099. The data has been obtained from a Regional Climate Model (RCM), named Précis, on a daily basis. It begins by comparing historical rainfall data generated from Précis versus the actual gauged recorded rainfall data from Department of Irrigation and Drainage Malaysia (DID). The bias of the generated rainfall data has been reduced by statistical techniques. The same has been applied to the future generated rainfall data from 2070 to 2099. Using the generated precipitation data as input to the hydrological model, results in the daily output of river discharge identified as the main contributor of flood occurrences. Based on the results of the hydrological model utilised, e.g. HEC-HMS, comparison was made between the future and historical generated discharge data using Précis between the years 1960 till 1998. Dividing a year into three segments, e.g. January-April, May-August, SeptemberDecember, the results show that there would be a significant drop of peak discharge in the third segment and an increase in discharge during the second segment. The first part remains almost with no changes. As an addition, the drop of the peak shows reduction in the probability of flood occurrences. It also indicates the reduction in water storage capacity which coherently affects the water supply scheme
The first time I visited Kuching, Sarawak, was in the 1980s. I then worked for the Rubber Research Institute of
Malaysia. In the 1980s, Kuching was a small town. I remember that then, the route going to the airport was lined with
shops selling the famous Sarawak vases. They were a big hit among visitors. A visit to Sarawak was not complete
without taking back a set of the black-and-white vases. They came in many shapes and sizes(Copied from article).
Giving zakat is the third of the five pillars of Islam and it is obligatory. The issues arose when the gantang
for zakat payment in Malaysia is converted to kilogramme, a metric unit for weight as usually used for
foods and there was no available standard for gantang used for zakat payment in Malaysia. However,
this unit is inaccurate since gantang (sa’) is not a measure of weight (mizan) but it is a measure of
volume (mikyal). Thus, the objective of this research is to study the volume of the sa’ and to calibrate it
in the correct metric unit for standardisation purpose. A qualitative method was used by calibrating the
gantang replica at Volume Laboratory, National Metrology Institute of Malaysia and the interviews with
State Islamic Council, State Zakat Centre and State Mufti Department. From the calibration, the capacity
of the gantang (sa’) was obtained, and subsequently, the respective capacities for cupak and agricultural
nisab were calculated. The finding of the research found that the volume of gantang was important in the
determination of nisab, a minimum amount of crop for a certain cropping season. Hopefully this research
would be a guideline for all states in Malaysia to be more systematic and efficient for the zakat agriculture
This article uses finite volume and finite element methods for optimization of the artificial hair cell sensor. The performance of the sensor was investigated for different materials such as sicon and polysilicon and by varying hair cell dimensions including width and length. The silicon material which has low young modulus was proposed based on the simulation performance. The performance of the hair cell sensor was achieved by increasing the hair cell length while increasing the width did not significantly influence the performance. The
performance of the sensor was studied for its viscous force, deflection, von mises stress and sensitivity. From the simulation, the hair cell with a length of 1600 µm and 80 µm width was suggested for the subsequent analysis. Another way to improve the performance was by modifying the hair cell geometry and it was proved that the modified hair cell was more sensitive, based on the deflection. The angle of flow that hit the hair cell also affected the deflection of the sensor where the zero angle flow which was parallel to the substrate was the most effective angle. The limitations of the performance of hair cell for various fluid velocity were also discussed in this paper.
Systems perspectives are fundamental in driving technological improvements and yield-enhancing strategies that improve agricultural productivity. These can resolve farmerʼs problems and are important pathways for sustaining food and nutritional security for human welfare in Asia. The essential determinants of this objective are the capacity to efficiently manage the natural resource base (land, crops, animals, and water) to resolve constraints to farming systems, and notably the integration of multiple research and development (R&D) issues through all levels of formal and non-formal learning systems. Both formal and informal education systems are important, with the former relating more to universities and colleges, and the latter to the intermediate level. Graduates from this level have the primary responsibility of introducing improved technologies and change to farmers, mainly along production and disciplinary pathways.The traditional research–extension–farmer model for technology delivery is no longer acceptable, due to “top down” extension functions and prescriptions, ineffectiveness to cope with the dynamics of production systems, complex interactions within the natural resources, effects of climate change and globalisation. There are also reservations on the technical capacity and skills of extension agents, constraints identification, methods for technology diffusion and dissemination, and innovative use of beneficial technological improvements that can directly respond to the needs of small farmers, and impact on subsistence agriculture. Agricultural education and systems perspectives are therefore an overriding compelling necessity which transcends prevailing limitations to waning agriculture and rural growth. Their wider recognition and applications provides an important means to maximise efficiency in the potential use; of the natural resources, increase engagement and investments in agriculture, promote ways to become more self-reliant in the development of crucial new technologies and intensification. These together can meet the challenges of the future and overcome the legacy of continuing poverty, food and nutritional insecurity. Asian farming systems, with their diversity of crops and animals, traditional methods, multiple crop-animal interactions, numerous problems of farmers present increasingly complex issues of natural resource management (NRM) and the environment. Many if not all of these can only be resolved by interdisciplinary R&D, which overcomes a major weakness of many R&D programmes presently and in the past. Improved education and training is a powerful and important driver of community-based participation aimed at enhancing sustainable food security, poverty reduction and social equity in which the empowerment of women in activities that support organising themselves is also an important pathway to enhance self-reliance and their contribution to agriculture. A vision for the future in which improved agricultural education in a systems context can provide the pathway to directly benefit the revitalisation of agriculture and agricultural development is proposed with a three-pronged strategy as follows:
Define policy for the development of appropriate curricular for formal agricultural education that provides strong multi-disciplinary orientation and improved understanding of the natural resources (land, crops, animals and water) and their interactions
Organise formal degree education and specialisation at the university level that reflects strong training in understanding of agricultural systems; systems perspectives, methodologies and their application, and
Define non-formal education and training needs that can be intensified at different levels, including the trainin of trainers as agents of change.
Through the six domains of the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) - physical, psychological, level of independence, social relationship, environment and spirituality or religion - ten out of one hundred randomly selected studies were analysed and evaluated as a theoretical outcome of self care using health products such as food supplements, multivitamins and minerals. A reconstructed HRQOL tool was used in the qualitative and the quantitative analysis and evaluation of the ten selected studies. A Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool was also used in making sense of the evidences of the study trials. The Population, Intervention, Comparison and Outcome guide focused the protocol for the selection of the studies used in this meta-analysis. A probability sampling generated a uniform distribution of the populations. The manner of consuming or the route of administration, the volume and the preparation of commercially prepared health products were neither analysed nor evaluated as the exclusion criteria. Of the ten studies, nine gave a high significance to the six domains of the (O.R. = 90% / p =
Elevated glucocorticoid levels during stressed conditions have been demonstrated to impair reproductive function in rats. In our previous study investigating the dose-related effects of corticosterone (CORT) on the fertilising capacity of epididymal sperm in surgically-manipulated rats, we found that 25 mg/kg/day of CORT given subcutaneously for seven consecutive days significantly decreased the number of implantation sites and increased intrauterine embryonic loss compared to controls. Based on these findings, the current study aims to elucidate the possible mechanisms of action of CORT-induced stress on impaired sperm fertility in rats. Results of the present study showed that compared to controls, 25 mg/kg/day of CORT given subcutaneously for 7 consecutive days significantly increased the level of plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) with corresponding attenuated levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT) activities. Plasma adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and testosterone levels were also found to be decreased in CORTtreated rats. These findings suggest that CORT-induced oxidative stress and exert an inhibitory effect at the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, as evidenced by increased lipid peroxidation, reduced enzymatic antioxidant activities, and decreased testosterone production. These subsequently result in decreased fertilising capacity of epididymal sperm leading to poor pregnancy outcomes.
The role of science and technology (S&T) in preventing disasters and building resilience to climate change is featured in this paper, drawing primarily on the presentations and discussion of researchers, practitioners and policy makers from 31 institutions in 17 countries during the Workshop on Natural Disasters and Climate Change in Asia, held on 5–7 November 2012 in Bangi, Malaysia. Issues highlighted include advances in climate modelling and weather forecasts, with emphasis on information gaps; hazards and its cascading effects, focusing on current research and approaches; and the potential for land-based mitigation-adaptation strategies. Progress in mobilizing S&T to support disaster prevention and climate resilience is hindered by factors such as absence or lack of research, incomplete and non-existent scientific records, restricted access to data and capacity to innovate and transmit S&T, among others. The establishment of an Asian Network for Climate Science and Technology is proposed to provide and facilitate exchange of information and aid development of research co-ordination projects led by Asian researchers and possibly to act as a one-stop repository of global climate change related research too. The scope of the network would cover climate research with particular relevance to disaster resilience, including scientific capacity, which is all very distinct in Asia.
In this study, Global Positioning System (GPS) simulation was employed to study the effect of radio frequency interference (RFI) on two hand-held GPS receivers; Garmin GPSmap 60CSx (evaluated GPS receiver) and Garmin GPSmap 60CS (reference GPS receiver). Both GPS receivers employed the GPS L1 coarse acquisition (C/A) signal. It was observed that the interference signal power levels required to affect the location fixes of the GPS receivers were significantly high compared to the corresponding GPS signal power levels. The noiselike C/A code structure, which modulated the L1 signal over a 2 MHz bandwidth, allowed for the signal to be received at low levels of interferences. The evaluated GPS receiver had better RFI operability as compared to the reference GPS receiver. This is because the evaluated GPS receiver had higher receiver sensitivity, allowing it to have increased carrier-to-noise density (C/N0) levels for GPS satellites tracked by the receiver. The absence of other error parameters, including ionospheric and tropospheric delays, satellite clock, ephemeris and multipath errors, and unintentional signal interferences and obstructions, resulted in the required minimum jamming power levels in this study to be significantly higher as compared to field evaluations. These minimum jamming power levels vary with location and time. This was due to the GPS satellite constellation being dynamic, causing varying GPS satellite geometry over location and time, resulting in the minimum required GPS jamming power levels being location / time dependent. In general, the lowest minimum jamming power levels were observed for readings with the highest position dilution of precision (PDOP) values, and vice versa.
Throughout the years, the construction industry has made an important contribution to the Malaysian economy. Moreover, the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006–2010) has also played a significant role in the demands of executing major residential housing project developments where it has been observed that construction waste was one of the priority waste streams. Due to the increasing number in the population that is actively involved in economic activities, and the modernization of the country, the types of construction waste that are being produced, and identifying the source such as waste are becoming more complex. Therefore, appropriate actions and approaches are needed to be taken with respect to its effective management in handling the solid waste from construction sites. This paper is intended to review the issues and the challenges enclosed within the supply chain management mechanisms in order for improving construction waste management. Throughout this review, useful information and better understanding concerning the current issues, challenges and the supply chain management mechanisms would be made inclusive in the field to be explored. The findings would also assist in improving the quality and awareness on the construction waste management that is being practiced.
Molecular markers have been intensively used in assisting breeding to reduce the time taken by conventional breeding as well as helping introgression of specific traits. Baseline analysis of known markers is crucial in developing a genetic database on disease and pest resistance for local rice germplasm which does not yet
exist. In this study seven local rice varieties, including the popular MR219 and MRQ 74 and MRQ 76 (newly developed aromatic rice varieties), together with a foreign variety, Intani-2, were screened for genetic markers related to pest and disease resistance. One hundred and twenty-two type-related markers (SSR, STS, InDel and Allele-specific) for genes resistant to bacterial leaf blight, blast and brown planthopper were screened using PCR amplification and validated by sequencing. It was found that each variety had its own pattern of resistance. Using allele-specific markers namely pBPH9, pTA248 and Pisbdom were found to be the most efficient way to screen for the targeted genes. Of the seven varieties, MR219 and MR232 were found to have the highest distribution of markers for resistance genes against pest and diseases studied.
The unsustainable harvesting of sea cucumbers in the Straits of Malacca poses a danger of collapsing population of this marine resource. Recent survey revealed the absence of commercially important sea cucumber species like Stichopus horrens was alarming since there were a lot of taxonomical complications in identifying species from this genus. The knowledge of taxonomy and ecology is an integral part in determining resource management strategies and conservation of marine resources like sea cucumber.
Malaysia is currently poised to introduce its Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy and Act to bolster the nation's efforts at economic and social transformation. In championing this initiative, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, while continuing to advise the Government on STI issues of the day, has made major strides in taking stock of the country's STI strengths in the various sectors of the economy as well as weaknesses that need to be addressed in terms of human capital development. In this article, the author examines the level of research expertise presently in the country in the field of chemistry, and elaborates on the four key areas of energy, catalysis and chemical synthesis, materials science and biological chemistry which will be researched globally in the next few decades that we would also need to be engaged upon to remain competitive. Intended for a wider audience than chemists alone, the descriptive sections in the article by and large belie an interdisciplinary flavour. The article also advocates the need for a more thorough road mapping exercise of the STI efforts in chemistry across the spectrum of academia and industry and makes some recommendations towards forging strong collaborations in research between the universities, public research institutes and the industry which are seen as vital in providing cross-cutting chemical solutions throughout the value chains and to the success of technologies identified as critical to the nation.
Co(II)-Ti(IV)-substituted magnetoplumbite-type (M-type) barium ferrite nanoparticles were synthesized via the sol-gel technique employing ethylene glycol as the gel precursor. Structural and magnetic properties were characterised via X-ray diffraction (XRD), high resolution transmission electron microscopy and superconducting quantum interference device magnetometry. The particle sizes of the M-type BaCoXTiXFe12-2XO19 (0.2 ≤ ≤ 1.0) were found to be 900 Å – 1500 Å. The XRD results confirmed that the Co(II)-Ti(IV) substituted ferrites in the range of 0.2 ≤ ≤ 1.0 substitution had the M-type ferrite as the dominant phase. The hysteresis loss per-cycle decreased with increasing Co(II)-Ti(IV) substitution in M-type ferrites which showed reduced values in coercivity and remnant magnetisation with moderate effect on the saturation magnetisation.
This paper presents a suitable and unique system for observing dielectrophoretic particle separation in a microfluidic device. Details presented on the experimental setup used will enable real time examination, monitoring and analysis of carboxylate-modified latex sphere particles in a colloidal mixture. Observations of the particles were made possible through an optical setup that illuminates the particles that went through the microelectrode array in the microchannel that was controlled by two analog signal generators. Through the setup, it was easily observed that the latex sphere particles move at a flow rate of 0.2 μl/s without colliding or overlapping on each other and successfully separated in two bands left and right. The new separation of one finest particles size for finest purification with respect to frequency was also observed, obtained and analysed.
Wood density and types of shrinkage were examined in two rubberwood latex timber clones of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) namely RRIM 2020 and RRIM 2025, planted at densities of 500, 1000, 1500, and 2000 trees/ha, within a trial plot. The mean wood density showed a low descending trend towards high planting densities in both clones. Wood density was significantly and negatively correlated with planting density. The strength of correlation was moderate. The mean longitudinal shrinkage in both clones and tangential shrinkages in clone RRIM 2020 showed no significant difference among planting densities. The tangential (in RRIM 2025), radial and volumetric shrinkages in both clones decreased from low to high planting densities and the differences were more pronounced between densities of 500 trees/ha and 2000 trees/ha. The magnitudes of correlation between these shrinkages and planting density were low. The regression models indicated that wood density could be more ascribed by planting density followed by volumetric shrinkage. This study exhibited low variations in wood density and shrinkages among clones and the respective planting densities; however, RRIM 2025 was more stable than RRIM 2020.
Chlorophyll-a concentrations (mg/l) in surface waters of Songsong Islands were mapped using an optically derived remote sensing model. Landsat TM imagery dated 8 October 2008 was used in the classification process and in situ measurements made on 19 May 2012 during spring tidal condition (HW: 2.6 m, LW: 0.9 m) served as ground truthing data. The temporal difference between data used will be useful to review the robustness of the model. Three classes of chlorophyll-a concentrations were mapped: Class 1: 10 mg/l. Considering the dynamic nature of coastal and marine waters particularly the shallow region, and the temporal difference between the Landsat TM imagery used in classification and the field data, results of chlorophyll-a mapping using the developed remote sensing model was high at 83.3%, with producer’s accuracy of 50%–100% and user’s accuracy of 80%–100%. Kappa coefficient of agreement, Kˆ , calculated was 57.1%.