The antiplasmodial activity of the crude extracts of thirty plant species collected from Sabah was evaluated using chloroquine-sensitive strain (D10) and chloroquine-resistant strain (Gombak A) of Plasmodium falciparum. Significant activities were observed for the bark extract of Polyalthia insignis (IC50 3.89 and 11.89 mg/ml against Gombak A and D10, respectively), the leaf extracts of Kopsia dasyrachis (4.62 mg/ml against Gombak A) and Litsea elliptibacea (IC50 8.88 mg/ml against Gombak A), as well as the leaf and bark extracts of Neouvaria acuminatissima (IC50 6.90-10.08 and 0.69 mg/ml against Gombak A and D10, respectively), and the bark extract of Polyalthia microtus(IC50 9.0 and 12.12 mg/ml against Gombak A and D10, respectively).
One of the compounds present in Pluchea indica extracts is antioxidant which plays an important role in inhibiting free radicals and thus protects humans against infections and degenerative diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, and ageing process. The main objective of this study was to investigate and determine the total phenolic compounds of Pluchea indica in different concentrations of ethanolic extracts. This species was chosen because of its high phytonutrient compounds with potential medicinal properties. There was a significant difference (P ≤ 0.05) in the total phenolic among the different parts of the tested plant. 50% of the ethanolic extract produced the highest total phenolic compounds (1775.00±86.00 to 658.95±5.00 µmol/g), followed by water extract (759.79±1.53 µmol/g) and 100% ethanol extract (352.72±22.30 to 249.29±5.37 µmol/g), respectively. In terms of the plant parts, the leaves contained the highest phenolic compounds (1775.00±86.00 µmol/g in 50% ethanol extract, 759.79±1.53 µmol/g in 100% aqueous extract and 352.72±22.30 µmol/g in 100% ethanol extract), followed by the stems (990.22±24.00 µmol/g in 50% ethanol extract, 990.22±24.59 µmol/g in 100% aqueous extract and 293.48±0.00 µmol/g in 100% ethanol extract). Meanwhile, lower total phenolic compounds were detected in the flowers (727.71±11.00 µmol/g in 50% ethanol extract, 603.81±8.46 µmol/g in 100% aqueous extract and 249.29±5.37 µmol/g in 100% ethanol extract) and roots (658.95±5.00 µmol/g in 50% ethanol extract, 450.00±10.76 µmol/g in 100% aqueous extract and 272.28±0.53 µmol/g in 100% ethanol extract). Based on these findings, Pluchea indica has potential medicinal properties that can be further developed to produce neutraceutical products, diet supplements or cosmetic products. However, further research should first be conducted on the effects of these compounds on laboratory animals.
Ca0.5Sr0.5Cu3Ti4O12 (CSCTO) ceramic oxide was prepared using solid state reaction technique. Impedance measurement was done using High Dielectric Resolution Analyzer (Novocontrol Novotherm) from 30 oC to 250 oC, in the frequency range of 10-2 to 106 Hz. X-ray diffraction pattern showed a single phase with a cubic structure. In the complex impedance plot, three semi-circles were observed; these represented the grain, grain boundary and electrode effect responses. The semi-circles were fitted using a series network of three parallel RC circuits. The resistance was found to increase with the decreasing temperature. The activation energies, Ea, obtained from the Arrhenius plots of CSCTO, were 0.31 eV and 0.73 eV for grain and grain boundary conductivity, respectively. The value of the grain energy was revealed as smaller than the grain boundary energy, due to the semi-conducting grain and the insulating grain boundary characteristic (Sinclair et al., 2002).
The β-1,6-glucanases are ubiquitous enzymes which appear to be implicated in the morphogenesis and have the ability to become virulence factor in plant-fungal symbiotic interaction. To our knowledge, no report on ß-1,6-glucanases purification from Trichoderma longibrachiatum has been made, although it has been proven to have a significant effect as a biocontrol agent for several diseases. Therefore, the aim of this study was to purify β-1,6- glucanase from T. longibrachiatum T28, with an assessment on the physicochemical properties and substrate specificity. β-1,3-glucanase enzyme, from the culture filtrate of T. longibrachiatum T28, was successively purified through precipitation with 80% acetone, followed by anionexchange chromatography on Neobar AQ and chromatofocusing on a Mono P HR 5/20 column. (One β-1,6-glucanase) band at 42kDa in size was purified, as shown by the SDS-PAGE. The physicochemical evaluation showed an optimum pH of 5 and optimum temperature of 50°C for enzyme activity with an ability to maintain 100% enzyme stability. Enzyme activity was slightly reduced by 10-20% in the presence of 20 mM of Zn2+, Ca2+, Co2+, Mg2+, Cu2+, Mn2+ and Fe2+. The highest β-1,6-glucanase hydrolysis activity was obtained on pustulan due to the similarity of β-glucosidic bonds followed by laminarin, glucan and cellulose. Therefore, it can be concluded that the characterization of ß-1,6-glucanase secreted by T. longibrachiatum in term of molecular weight, responsed to selected physicochemical factors and the substrate specificity are approximately identical to other Trichoderma sp.
The removal of heavy metals like lead, copper and cadmium from wastewater streams is an important environmental issue. The capability of immobilized Pycnoporus sanguineus (P. sanguineus), a white-rot macrofungi to remove heavy metals from aqueous solution in a packed bed column was investigated. Lead (Pb (II)) biosorption by immobilized cells of P. sanguineus was investigated in a packed bed column. The experiments were carried out by considering the effect of bed height (5-13 cm), flow rate (4-12 ml min-1) and initial lead (II) concentration (50-300 mg L-1). The breakthrough profiles showed that the saturation of metal ions was achieved faster for 5 cm bed height and 12 ml min-1 influent flow rate. However, the breakthrough time decreased as the initial metal concentration increased from 50 to 300 mg L-1. The column was regenerated using 0.1M HCl solution and biosorptiondesorption studies were carried out for 2 cycles. The results showed that the breakthrough time decreased as the number of cycle was proceeded.
Modelling observed meteorological elements can be useful. For instance, modelling rainfall has
been an interest for many researchers. In a previous research, trend surface analysis was used and
it was indicated that the residuals might spatially be correlated. When dealing with spatial data, any
modelling technique should take spatial correlation into consideration. Hence, in this project, fitting
of spatial regression models, with spatially correlated errors to the annual mean relative humidity
observed in Peninsular Malaysia, is illustrated. The data used in this study comprised of the annual
mean relative humidity for the year 2000-2004, observed at twenty principal meteorological stations
distributed throughout Peninsular Malaysia. The modelling process was done using the S-plus
Spatial Statistics Module. A total of twelve models were considered in this study and the selection
of the model was based on the p-value. It was found that a possible appropriate model for the
annual mean relative humidity should include an intercept and a term of the longitude as covariate,
together with a conditional autoregressive error structure. The significance of the coefficient of the
covariate and spatial parameter was established using the Likelihood Ratio Test. The usefulness
of the proposed model is that it could be used to estimate the annual mean relative humidity at
places where observations were not recorded and also for prediction. Some other potential models
incorporating the latitude covariate have also been proposed as viable alternatives.
An investigation, on the roots of Piper nigrum and the aerial parts of Piper betle, has yielded several alkaloids. The dried root sample of Piper nigrum was extracted using various solvents in increasing polarity. The dried aerial part of Piper betle was extracted using the Soxhlet extraction method. The alkaloids isolated were pellitorine(1), (E)-1-[3’,4’- (Methylenedioxy)cinnamoyl]piperidine(2), piperine(3), piperolactam D(4), cepharadione A(5), and 2,4-tetradecadienoic acid isobutyl amide(6). These compounds were isolated using chromatographic methods, while the elucidation of the structures was carried out using MS, IR and NMR techniques. The xtracts of Piper nigrum and Piper betle were also tested for cytotoxicity activities. This is the first report on E)-1-[3’,4’-(Methylenedioxy)cinnamoyl] piperidine(2) from Piper nigrum as a natural product.
A molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP), with the ability to bind Pb(II) ion, was prepared using the non-covalent molecular imprinting methods and evaluated as a sorbent for the Pb(II) ion uptake. 4-vinylbenzoic acid was chosen as the complexing monomer. The imprinted polymer was synthesized by radical polymerization. The template (Pb(II) ions) was removed using 0.1 M HCl. As a result, the efficient adsorption was found to occur at pH 7. The result also showed the applicability of the Langmuir model for the sorption, with the maximum sorption capacity of 204.08 μg/mg.
Respiratory metabolism of the larvae of Malaysian horseshoe crab Tachypleus gigas (Müller) was studied under different salinities, pH, and temperature. The trend in oxygen consumption was uniform at all salinities, ranging from 10-40 ppt, indicating insignificant influence on the oxygen consumption by the larvae. Similarly, the correlation coefficient values showed that the relationship between oxygen consumption and salinity was not significant (P > 0.05; r = 0.245). During the first three hours, the oxygen consumption was 8.89, 10.72, 17.4, and 12.06% at 10, 20, 30, and 40 ppt salinities, respectively. Meanwhile, the maximum oxygen consumption was recorded after 12 hrs, i.e. at salinity 20 ppt. A sudden drop in oxygen consumption was recorded during 3-6 hours of the experiment. This was followed by a gradual increase in the consumption of oxygen up to 12 hours of experiment. A similar trend in the oxygen consumption was observed in different pH levels, ranging from 5 to 9. At pH 6 and 9, during the first six hour, a moderate consumption of oxygen was observed. However, at pH 6, 7 and 8, the rates of oxygen consumption were found to be relatively greater after six hours, indicating unfavourable conditions. The data were statistically tested and it was found that a high degree of correlations existed between pH and oxygen consumption (r = 0.97). The analysis of covariance showed a significant relationship between oxygen consumption and pH (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, minimal variation in oxygen consumption was recorded between 30 and 40oC, with a
gradual decrease in dissolved oxygen concentration up to 12 hours of experimental time. At 50oC,
almost all dissolved oxygen was consumed by the larvae. The rate of oxygen consumption between
30 and 40oC was low during the first 9 hours of the experiment but it was significantly increased at later hours. A sudden increase in the oxygen consumption was recorded at 50oC, suggesting that it
might be the most unfavourable temperature condition. Meanwhile, a significant relationship was
observed between temperature and oxygen consumption (P < 0.05; r = 0.98).
A Pressurized Liquid Extraction (PLE) method was developed by using conventional High Performance
Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). It was found that all of the PAHs have been successfully extracted with dichloromethane-acetone with high percentage recovery. A high temperature of 180°C gave the highest recovery for fluoranthene (94.4%). Meanwhile, fluorene showed the highest recovery at 150 bar, with 94.6% recovery. It is noted that there is no significant day-to-day difference in the efficiency of the developed method, with the R.S.D. values averaging at 0.02. The optimized conditions applied to the soil samples were analysed using the High Temperature High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HT-HPLC) with chromatographic conditions: Octadecylsilyl-silica (ODSsilica) column (100 mm × 4.6 mm I.D.); mobile phase acetonitrile:water 40:60 (v/v); flow rate 2.5 mL/min; temperature 70°C; UV absorbance 254 nm; injection volume 5µL.
The analysis of the spatial data has been carried out in many disciplines such as demography, meteorology, geology and remote sensing. The spatial data modelling is important because it recognizes the phenomenon of spatial correlation in field experiments. Three main categories of the spatial models, namely, the simultaneous autoregressive (SAR) models (Whittle, 1954), the conditional autoregressive (CAR) models (Bartlett, 1971), and the moving average (MA) models (Haining, 1978) have been studied. Whittle (1954) presented a form of bilateral autoregressive (AR) models, whereas Basu and Reinsel (1993) considered the first-order autoregressive moving average (ARMA) model of the quadrant type. Awang, N. and Mahendran Shitan (2003) presented the second-order ARMA model, and established some explicit stationary conditions for the model. When fitting the spatial models and making prediction, it is assumed that, the properties of the process would not change with sites. Properties like stationarities have to be assumed, and for this reason, it was therefore imperative that the researchers had made certain that the process was stationary. This could be achieved by providing the explicit stationarity conditions for the model. The explicit conditions, for a stationary representation of the second-order spatial unilateral ARMA model denoted as ARMA(2,1;2,1), have been established (Awang, N. and Mahendran Shitan, 2003) and in this paper, some explicit conditions are established for a stationary representation of the second-order spatial unilateral ARMA model, denoted as ARMA(2,2;2,2).
The present project investigated the potential of utilizing corncobs and sugar cane waste as viscosivier in drilling fluid. For this purpose, the synthetic-based drilling fluid, Sarapar 147, was used as the base fluid. Both the materials were subjected to pre-treatment of drying, dehumidifying, grinding and sieving process prior to rheological tests. The rheological tests were conducted in accordance with the API 13B specifications to measure mud density, plastic viscosity, yield point, 10-second and 10-minute gel strength. The study found that plastic viscosity and yield point had a direct relationship with the amount of materials added. To drill fluid additive with corn cobs, the density, plastic viscosity and yield point were increased when the amount of additives were increased. Based on these experiments, both additives were found to have the potential to be used as additive in drilling fluid. In particular, they were able to improve its rheological properties by increasing the density, plastic viscosity and yield point. The suitable concentration for the corn cobs and sugar cane is 6.45 lb/bbl and 9.43 lb/bbl, respectively.
This studies are directed towards measuring the electrical conductivity of the (CuSe)1-xSex metal chalcogenide semi-conductor composites, with different stoichiometric compositions of Se (x = 0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8,1.0) in bulk form. The electrical conductivity measurement was carried out at room temperature, using the parallel plate technique. The (CuSe)1-xSex composites were prepared using solid state reaction, by varying the ratio of CuSe:Se, in the reaction mixture. The electrical conductivity of (CuSe)1-xSex was determined to be in the range of 1.17 x 10-8 to 1.02 x 10-1 S/cm. The finding indicated that the electrical conductivity value tended to decrease as the concentration of Se increased. The effect of the concentration of Se, on electrical conductivity of (CuSe)1-xSex composites, is discussed in this paper.
The 2004 Banda Aceh earthquake and ensuing Andaman mega tsunami that killed a quarter million people worldwide is a wake-up call to many. Active research was initiated in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) immediately after the infamous event with the aims to help develop human capacity and resources, and to mitigate any future earthquake and tsunami. The Disaster Research Nexus (DRN) was formed recently within the School of Civil Engineering, USM, to facilitate active collaborative research on earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as on other natural disasters, such as landslides. This paper begins with an introduction to DRN. This is followed by a description of some research achievements undertaken by DRN staff. A concise exposition on the tsunami simulation model TUNA developed by the authors and its application to the 2004 Andaman tsunami are given to illustrate the capability of TUNA. The role of mangrove in reducing the impact of tsunami is then modelled. Tsunami may inundate coastal plain with large quantity of saline water, changing the salinity regimes in the soil and inducing vegetative succession changes. A model called MANHAM was developed to simulate the salinity changes and its associated vegetative evolution to assist in the rehabilitation of vegetation destroyed by tsunami. Meanwhile, an earthquake risk analysis for the Upper Pandas Dam in Sabah is then presented, and this is followed by a model estimation of tsunami forces on the coastal structures. The main objective of this paper is to reach out to research scientists and onsite risk reduction professionals to collaborate towards the development of a vibrant research culture to face future natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. It is hoped that DRN will move forward to further enhance active collaborations with other research and operational institutions worldwide towards developing earthquake and tsunami resilient communities.
Research on the use of Jatropha curcas triglycerides as biodiesel feedstock has received worldwide attention due to its inherent characteristics. Unlike palm oil, J. curcas oil is not edible, and thus, it will not disturb the food supply. However, to the researchers' experiences with the synthesis of J. curcas, oil-based biodiesel has shown that the fuel characteristics depend largely on the type of alcohol used as the excess reactants. Transesterification reaction is chosen for this process with sodium methoxide as the catalyst. Comparison studies on the yield of esters using methanol and ethanol, as well as the impacts on the reaction rate are discussed. The effects of reaction time and molar ratio on the reaction conversion are also examined. The determination of reaction yield is based on the conversion of triglycerides into alkyl esters as the main product. The findings are described as follows: the highest percentage yield of product is attained at 96% for methanol as an excess reactant, and this is 90% when ethanol is used. The optimum conditions of parameters are achieved at 6:1 molar ratio of alcohol to triglycerides, 50 min of reaction time and reaction temperature of 65°C for methanol and 75°C for ethanol. The biodiesel properties of both ester fuels were determined according to the existing standards for biodiesel and compared to the characteristics of diesel fuel.
If we were given a questionnaire of “How do we measure a researcher as a true scientist? with optional answers like (a) Having a good number of publications, (b) having attending numerous conferences, (c) with a high popularity as always appeared in mass media, and (d) good international networking and good public relations. Options (c) and (d) always come later after option (a) has been achieved, while option (b) can be simply achieved or abstract be accepted for presentation in any conference. Hitherto, publishing in any peer-reviewed journals carry a certain quality since they are highly subjected to peer review evaluation before the paper can be accepted for publication in a journal. Needless to say, those constructive comments given by the reviewers are very crucial in shaping our scientific understanding in our subject area rather than rejection experience (Yap, 2009). Having said so, option (a) will definitely be the best answer. The fact is that option (a) should not be argued whatsoever as the best answer [since publications speaks louder than anything else] and options (a), (b) and (c) are supplementary criteria to option (a) but they are not as vital as option (a). When we are asked ‘What is your scientific research performance or research output?’, the answer could always be ‘Having a good number of publications.’ Then, the next question forwarded is that ‘What is the quality and impact of your published papers to the scientific community?’ Of course, good and high impact factor journals always accept papers with high novelty in the subject area. Therefore, papers published in good journals are always highly cited and subsequently resulting in high impact (or citations) of the research done to the scientific community. However, the last question is sometimes very subjective and difficult to answer until h-index is introduced and discussed among the researchers. This paper aimed to discuss the h-index based on Elsevier’s Scopus database as an indicator of research achievement for young Malaysian scientists.
As a crucial demand in urban areas, flood risk management has been considered by researchers and decision makers around the world. In this case, hydrological modelling that simulates rainfall-runoff process plays a significant role. This paper quantified the roles of three main parameters in river basin hydrological response, namely, rainfall event duration, rainfall event ARI (magnitude) and land-use development condition. The case study area of this research was Sungai Kayu Ara basin which is located in the western part of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A total of twenty seven scenario were defined for this research, including three different rainfall event durations (60, 120 and 360 minutes), three different ARIs (20, 50 and 100 years) and in three different land-use conditions (existing, intermediate and ultimate). The results of this research indicate that rainfall event duration, rainfall event ARI (magnitude) and land-use development condition have considerable effects of the surface runoff hydrographs in terms of peak discharge and volume.
Kenaf fibre that is known as Hibiscus cannabinus, L. family Malvaceae is an herbaceous plant that can be grown under a wide range of weather conditions. The uses of kenaf fibres as a reinforcement material in the polymeric matrix have been widely investigated. It is known that epoxy has a disadvantage of brittleness and exhibits low toughness. In this research, liquid epoxidized natural rubber (LENR) was introduced to the epoxy to increase its toughness. Kenaf fibres, with five different fibre loadings of 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% by weight, were used to reinforce the epoxy resins (with and without addition of epoxidized natural rubber) as the matrices. The flexural strength, flexural modulus and fracture toughness of the rubber toughened epoxy reinforced kenaf fibre composites were investigated. The results showed that the addition of liquid epoxidized natural rubber (LENR) had improved the flexural modulus, flexural strength and fracture toughness by 48%, 30%, and 1.15% respectively at 20% fibre loading. The fractured surfaces of these composites were investigated by using scanning electron microscopic (SEM) technique to determine the interfacial bonding between the matrix and the fibre reinforcement.
Oil palm is widely grown in Malaysia. There has been interest in the utilization of oil palm biomass for production of environmental friendly biofuels. The gasification of empty fruit bunches (EFB), a waste of the palm oil industry, was investigated in this study to effectively and economically convert low value and highly distribution solid biomass to a uniform gaseous mixture mainly hydrogen (H2). The effects of temperature, equivalence ratio (ER) and catalyst adding on the yields and distribution of hydrogen rich gas products were also investigated. The main gas species generated, as identified by GC, were H2, CO, CO2, CH4 and trace amounts of C2H4 and C2H6. With temperature increasing from 700 to 1000 °C, the total gas yield was enhanced greatly and reached the maximum value (~ 90 wt. % ) at 1000°C with a big portion of H2 (38.02 vol. %) and CO (36.36 vol. %). Equivalence ratio (ER) showed a significant influence on the upgrading of hydrogen production and product distribution. The optimum ER (0.25) was found to attain a higher H2 yield (27.42 vol. %) at 850°C. The effect of adding catalysts (Malaysian dolomite1, P1), Malaysian dolomite2 (GML), NaOH, NaCl, CaO, ZnO, NiO) as a primary catalyst on gas product yield was investigated, and it was found that adding dolomite showed the greatest effect with the maximum H2 yield achieved (28.18 vol.%) at 850°C.
Wind energy has often been touted as one of the most reliable sources of renewable energy that should be used for people. Today, wind energy (mainly by propeller type wind turbines) produces less than one percent of the total energy used worldwide. Practically, a standard three-blade propellers efficiency of use of the wind energy is around twenty percents and this is due to its design and shape that use the wind lift force and a rotating turbine. In addition, these turbines are quite expensive due to the complex aerodynamic shape of the propellers which are made of composite materials. The new world boom for wind turbines obliges inventors to create new wind turbine designs that have high efficiency and are better than any known design. This paper proposes the new patented invention of the vane-type wind turbine which uses wind energy more efficiently and is only dependent on the acting area of the vanes. The vane wind turbine was designed to increase the output of a wind turbine that uses kinetic energy of the wind. Due to its high efficiency, simple construction and technology, the vane wind turbine can be used universally, apart from the fact that it is made from cheap materials. The new design of the vane-type wind turbine has quite small sizes than the propeller type one of same output power.