To investigate the pathways of introduction of the African baobab, Adansonia digitata, to the Indian subcontinent, we examined 10 microsatellite loci in individuals from Africa, India, the Mascarenes and Malaysia, and matched this with historical evidence of human interactions between source and destination regions. Genetic analysis showed broad congruence of African clusters with biogeographic regions except along the Zambezi (Mozambique) and Kilwa (Tanzania), where populations included a mixture of individuals assigned to at least two different clusters. Individuals from West Africa, the Mascarenes, southeast India and Malaysia shared a cluster. Baobabs from western and central India clustered separately from Africa. Genetic diversity was lower in populations from the Indian subcontinent than in African populations, but the former contained private alleles. Phylogenetic analysis showed Indian populations were closest to those from the Mombasa-Dar es Salaam coast. The genetic results provide evidence of multiple introductions of African baobabs to the Indian subcontinent over a longer time period than previously assumed. Individuals belonging to different genetic clusters in Zambezi and Kilwa may reflect the history of trafficking captives from inland areas to supply the slave trade between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. Baobabs in the Mascarenes, southeast India and Malaysia indicate introduction from West Africa through eighteenth and nineteenth century European colonial networks.
Paracyrba wanlessi is a southeast Asian jumping spider (Salticidae) that lives in the hollow internodes of fallen bamboo and preys on the larvae, pupae and adults of mosquitoes. In contrast to Evarcha culicivora, an East African salticid that is also known for actively targeting mosquitoes as preferred prey, there was no evidence of P. wanlessi choosing mosquitoes on the basis of species, sex or diet. However, our findings show that P. wanlessi chooses mosquitoes significantly more often than a variety of other prey types, regardless of whether the prey are in or away from water, and regardless of whether the mosquitoes are adults or juveniles. Moreover, a preference for mosquito larvae, pupae and adults is expressed regardless of whether test spiders are maintained on a diet of terrestrial or aquatic prey and regardless of whether the diet includes or excludes mosquitoes. Congruence of an environmental factor (in water versus away from water) with prey type (aquatic versus terrestrial mosquitoes) appeared to be important and yet, even when the prey were in the incongruent environment, P. wanlessi continued to choose mosquitoes more often than other prey.
Ag and Ni/ZnO photocatalyst nanostructures were successfully synthesized by a sol-gel method. In this work, the photocatalyst sample was systematically studied based on several factors affecting the performance of photocatalyst, which are size, morphology, band gap, textural properties and the number of active sites presence on the surface of the nanocatalyst. X-ray diffraction revealed that Ag/ZnO nanomaterials experienced multiple phases, meanwhile for Ni/ZnO the phase of nanomaterials were pure and single phase for stoichiometry less than 5%. Field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) showed almost all of the synthesized nanomaterials possessed a mixture of nanorods and spherical-like shape morphology. The Ag/ZnO showed high photocatalytic activity, producing at least 14th trials of nanocatalyst reusability on degradation of methyl orange under UV irradiation. Interestingly, this phenomenon was not observed in larger surface area of Ni/ZnO nanomaterials which supposedly favour photocatalytic activity, but instead producing poor photocatalytic performance. The main reasons were studied and exposed by temperature-programmed desorption of carbon dioxide (TPD-CO2) which showed that incorporation of Ag into ZnO lattice has enhanced the number of active sites on the surface of the nanocatalyst. Whereas incorporation of Ni in ZnO has lowered the number of active sites with respect to undoped ZnO. Active sites measurement is effective and significant, providing opportunities in developing an intensive study as an additional factor.
Microbial pathogens continue to attract a great deal of attention to manage the termite population. Every bacterium has its own mode of action and in fact, the mechanisms used by bacteria to attack termites remain elusive at the moment. Hence, the objective of this study was to evaluate the susceptibility of subterranean termites Coptotermes curvignathus to opportunistic pathogens using culturable aerobic bacteria isolated from the termite gut and its foraging pathways. Bacterial suspensions were prepared in concentrations of 103, 106 and 109 colony-forming units (CFU) ml-1 and introduced to the termites via oral-contact and physical contact treatment. The data show that contact method acted slower and gave lower mortality, compared to the oral-contact method. Coptotermes curvignathus were highly susceptible to Serratia marcescens and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Serratia marcescens showed the highest mortality percentage of 68% and 54% at bacterial concentration of 109 CFU ml-1 via oral-contact and contact method, respectively. Serratia marcescens was also defined as the bacteria with the highest ability to induce the high mortality of C. curvignathus with the lowest concentration of bacterial suspension at a given time under laboratory condition. The results of this study indicate that P. aeruginosa and S. marcescens in particular may be attractive candidates worth further examination as a possible biocontrol agent against C. curvignathus in the field and to evaluate environmental and ecological risks of the biocontrol.
The key challenge in the synthesis of composite mixed matrix membrane (MMMs) is the incompatible membrane fabrication using porous support in the dry-wet phase inversion technique. The key objective of this research is to synthesize thin composite ternary (amine) mixed matrix membranes on microporous support by incorporating 10 wt% of carbon molecular sieve (CMS) and 5-15 wt% of diethanolamine (DEA) in polyethersulfone (PES) dope solution for the separation of carbon dioxide (CO2) from methane (CH4) at high-pressure applications. The developed membranes were evaluated for their morphological structure, thermal and mechanical stabilities, functional groups, as well as for CO2-CH4 separation performance at high pressure (10-30 bar). The results showed that the developed membranes have asymmetric structure, and they are mechanically strong at 30 bar. This new class of PES/CMS/DEA composite MMMs exhibited improved gas permeance compared to pure PES composite polymeric membrane. CO2-CH4 perm-selectivity enhanced from 8.15 to 16.04 at 15 wt% of DEA at 30 bar pressure. The performance of amine composite MMMs is theoretically predicted using a modified Maxwell model. The predictions were in good agreement with experimental data after applying the optimized values with AARE % = ∼less than 2% and R2 = 0.99.
In this study, salting-out assisted liquid-liquid extraction (SALLE) as a simple and efficient extraction technique followed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was employed for the determination of vitamin D3 in milk samples. The sample treatment is based on the use of water-miscible acetonitrile as the extractant and acetonitrile phase separation under high-salt conditions. Under the optimum conditions, acetonitrile and ammonium sulfate were used as the extraction solvent and salting-out agent, respectively. The vitamin D3 extract was separated using Hypersil ODS (250x i.d 4.6 mm, 5 µm) HPLC column that was coupled with diode array detector. Vitamin D2 was used as internal standard (IS) to offset any variations in chromatographic conditions. The vitamin D3 and the IS were eluted in 18 min. Good linearity (r2 > 0.99) was obtained within the range of 25-600 ng g-1 with the limit of detection of 15 ng g-1 and limit of quantification of 25 ng g-1. The validated method was applied for the determination of vitamin D3 in milk samples. The recoveries for spiked samples were from 94.4 to 113.5%.
Biochars have been successfully used to reduce bioavailability and leaching of heavy metals in contaminated soils. The efficiency of biochar to immobilize heavy metals can be increased by reducing the particle size, which can increase the surface area and the cation exchange capacity (CEC). In this study, the empty fruit bunch biochar (EFBB) of oil palm was separated into two particle sizes, namely, fine (F-EFBB < 50 µm) and coarse (C-EFBB > 2 mm), to treat the contaminated soil with Cd and Pb. Results revealed that the addition of C-EFBB and F-EFBB increased the pH, electrical conductivity and CEC of the contaminated soil. The amounts of synthetic rainwater extractable and leachable Cd and Pb significantly decreased with the EFBB application. The lowest extractable and leachable Cd and Pb were observed from 1% F-EFBB-treated soil. The amount of extractable and leachable Cd and Pb decreased with increasing incubation times and leaching cycles. The application of F-EFBB to Cd and Pb-contaminated soil can immobilize the heavy metals more than that of C-EFBB. Therefore, the EFBB can be recommended for the remediation of heavy metal-contaminated soils, and a finer particle size can be applied at a lower application rate than the coarser biochar to achieve these goals.
Seeds, which are high in protein and essential nutrients, must go through a hydration process before consumption. The ability to rapidly increase water absorption can significantly reduce the soaking time as well as the amount of energy needed for cooking seeds. Many studies in the literature employ high-power (102 W) low-frequency (104 Hz) ultrasound; although their results are very promising where more than 100% increase in water content can be obtained between the treated and untreated seeds, the high-power and low-frequency ultrasound often causes acoustic cavitation under high intensity, which can severely disrupt the cell walls and damage the seeds. In our study, however, we demonstrate that treating the seeds via a miniature surface acoustic wave device, which operates at low-power (100 W) and high-frequency (107 Hz) range, gives rise to a higher water absorption rate without the acoustic cavitations. By comparing the water content between the treated and untreated seeds, an increase of up to 2600% (for chickpeas) and 6350% (for mung bean) can be obtained after 60 min. A significantly higher water absorption in mung beans can be attributed to the larger pore size when compared with the acoustic wavelength in water, enabling an efficient transmission of acoustic wave inside the pores. Our results also indicate that the germination time can be reduced by half for treated seeds as compared to the untreated seeds.
This research involved carrying out a unique micro-mesoporous carbon particle incorporation into P84 co-polyimide membrane for improved gas separation performance. The carbon filler was prepared using a hard template method from zeolite and known as zeolite-templated carbon (ZTC). This research aims to study the loading amount of ZTC into P84 co-polyimide toward the gas separation performance. The ZTC was prepared using simple impregnation method of sucrose into hard template of zeolite Y. The SEM result showing a dispersed ZTC particle on the membrane surface and cross-section. The pore size distribution (PSD) of ZTC revealed that the particle consists of two characteristics of micro and mesoporous region. It was noted that with only 0.5 wt% of ZTC addition, the permeability was boosted up from 4.68 to 7.06 and from 8.95 to 13.15 barrer, for CO2 and H2 respectively when compared with the neat membrane. On the other hand, the optimum loading was at 1 wt%, where the membrane received thermal stability boost of 10% along with the 62.4 and 35% of selectivity boost of CO2/CH4 and H2/CH4, respectively. It was noted that the position of the filler on the membrane surface was significantly affecting the gas transport mechanism of the membrane. Overall, the results demonstrated that the addition of ZTC with proper filler position is a potential candidate to be applicable in the gas separation involving CO2 and H2.
Graphene oxide (GO) is a derivative of graphene nanosheet which is the most promising material of the decade in biomedical research. In particular, it has been known as an antimicrobial nanomaterial with good biocompatibility. In this study, we have synthesized and characterize GO and checked its antimicrobial property against different Gram-negative and Gram-positive multidrug drug resistant (MDR) hospital superbugs grown in solid agar-based nutrient plates with and without human serum through the utilization of agar well diffusion method, live/dead fluorescent staining and genotoxicity analysis. No significant changes in antibacterial activity were found in these two different conditions. We also compare the bactericidal capability of GO with some commonly administered antibiotics and in all cases the degree of inhibition is found to be higher. The data presented here are novel and show that GO is an effective bactericidal agent against different superbugs and can be used as a future antibacterial agent.
Background: Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are widely used in food industries, biomedical, dentistry, catalysis, diagnostic biological probes and sensors. The use of plant extract for AgNPs synthesis eliminates the process of maintaining cell culture and the process could be scaled up under a non-aseptic environment. The purpose of this study is to determine the classes of phytochemicals, to biosynthesize and characterize the AgNPs using Clinacanthus nutans leaf and stem extracts. In this study, AgNPs were synthesized from the aqueous extracts of C. nutans leaves and stems through a non-toxic, cost-effective and eco-friendly method. Results: The formation of AgNPs was confirmed by UV-Vis spectroscopy, and the size of AgNP-L (leaf) and AgNP-S (stem) were 114.7 and 129.9 nm, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis showed spherical nanoparticles with AgNP-L and AgNP-S ranging from 10 to 300 nm and 10 to 180 nm, with average of 101.18 and 75.38 nm, respectively. The zeta potentials of AgNP-L and AgNP-S were recorded at -42.8 and -43.9 mV. X-ray diffraction analysis matched the face-centred cubic structure of silver and was capped with bioactive compounds. Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer analysis revealed the presence of few functional groups of phenolic and flavonoid compounds. These functional groups act as reducing agents in AgNPs synthesis. Conclusion: These results showed that the biogenically synthesized nanoparticles reduced silver ions to silver nanoparticles in aqueous condition and the AgNPs formed were stable and less toxic.
Two-dimensional finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulations were performed for evaluating optical absorption enhancement and loss effects of triangular silver (Ag) nanowires embedded in silicon (Si) thin-film photovoltaic device structures. Near-bandgap absorption enhancement in Si was much larger than the reported values of other nanostructures from similar simulations. A nanowire with equal sides of 20 nm length showed 368-fold absorption enhancement whereas only 5× and 15× values of solid spherical and two-dimensional core-shell type nanostructures, respectively. Undesirable absorption loss in the metal of the nanowire was 3.55× larger than the absorption in Si which was comparable to the value reported for the spherical nanoparticle. Interestingly, as the height of the nanowire was increased to form a sharper tip, absorption loss showed a significant drop. For a nanowire with 20 nm base and 20 nm height, absorption loss was merely 1.91× larger than the absorption in Si at the 840 nm plasmon resonance. This drop could be attributed to weaker plasmon resonance manifested by lower metallic absorption in the spatial absorption map of the nanowire. However, absorption enhancement in Si was still large due to strong plasmonic fields at the sharper and longer tip, which was effective in enhancing absorption over a larger area in Si. Our work shows that the shape of a nanostructure and its optimization can significantly affect plasmonic absorption enhancement and loss performance in photovoltaic applications.
Effective removal of 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA), an emerging agrochemical contaminant in water with carcinogenic and mutagenic health effects has been reported using hydrothermally synthesized MIL-101(Cr) metal-organic framework (MOF). The properties of the MOF were ascertained using powdered X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and surface area and porosimetry (SAP). The BET surface area and pore volume of the MOF were 1439 m2 g-1 and 0.77 cm3 g-1, respectively. Artificial neural network (ANN) model was significantly employed for the accurate prediction of the experimental adsorption capacity (qe ) values with minimal error. A rapid removal of the pollutant (99%) was recorded within short time (approx. 25 min), and the reusability of the MOF (20 mg) was achieved up to six cycles with over 90% removal efficiency. The kinetics, isotherm and thermodynamics of the process were described by the pseudo-second-order, Freundlich and endothermic adsorption, respectively. The adsorption process is spontaneous based on the negative Gibbs free energy values. The significant correlation between the experimental findings and simulation results suggests the great potential of MIL-101(Cr) for the remediation of MCPA from water matrices.
The success of microbial termiticides in controlling termites depends on the ability of microbes to grow in different media and the functionality of the microbes as a resistant barrier or toxic bait. This study was conducted to understand the mortality rate and behaviour changes of the subterranean termite Coptotermes curvignathus Holmgren introduced with different concentrations of Serratia marcescens strain LGMS 1 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain LGMS 3 using wood and soil as bacterial transfer medium. In general, higher concentration of bacteria in soil caused a reduction in tunnelling activity and wood consumption and an increase in mortality. However, application on wood revealed a different outcome. Wood treated with S. marcescens of 106 CFU ml-1 concentration proved to be more efficient as bait than higher concentration applications as it caused a high mortality rate while still highly palatable for termites. Wood or soil treated with S. marcescens concentration higher than 109 CFU ml-1 creates a high toxicity and repellent barrier for termites. Pseudomonas aeruginosa of 109 CFU ml-1 concentrations applied on wood served as a slow-acting toxic bait. However, the ability for S. marcescens and P. aeruginosa to survive on wood is low, which made the bait unable to retain a useful level of toxicity for a long period of time and frequent reapplication is needed.
Polyols of palm olein/polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were synthesized by means of incorporating recycled PET from waste drinking bottles in different proportions into palm olein alkyd in the presence of ethylene glycol. The polyols were characterized by FTIR, and theirs hydroxyl value (OHV), acid value (AV) and viscosity were determined. The formulation of the polyurethane coating was carried out by dissolving the polyol in mixed solvent of cyclohexanone/tetrahydrofuran (THF) (4 : 1) followed by reacting 1 hydroxyl equivalent of the polyol with 1.2 equivalents of methylene diphenyldiisocyanate and 0.05% dibutyltin dilaurate (DBTDL) catalyst. The coating cured through the cross-linking reactions between hydroxyl and isocyanate groups. The formation of urethane linkages was established by FTIR spectroscopy. The set films were characterized by thermal analysis. To study their anticorrosion properties, polarization measurements and EIS in 3.5% NaCl solution were determined. The coatings displayed good thermal stability and anticorrosion properties which were supported by XRD analysis. The PU7 coating, with the highest proportion of PET (up to 15% w/w), displayed significantly improved thermal stability and anticorrosion properties. It is evident that the performance of the polyurethane (PU) coatings could be enhanced by the incorporation of PET.
An emulsification liquid-liquid microextraction (ELLME) method was successfully developed using phenolic-based deep eutectic solvent (DES) as an extraction solvent for the determination of phenoxy acid herbicides, 3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid (dicamba) and 2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid (MCPA) in environmental water samples. Five different phenolics-based DESs were successfully synthesized by using phenol (DES 1), 2-chlorophenol (DES 2), 3-chlorophenol (DES 3), 4-chlorophenol (DES 4) and 3,4-dichlorophenol (DES 6) as the hydrogen-bond donor (HBD) and choline chloride as the hydrogen-bond acceptor (HBA). The DESs were mixed at 1 : 2 ratio. A homogeneous solution (clear solution) was observed upon the completion of successful synthesis. The synthesized DESs were characterized by using Fourier transform infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Under optimum ELLME conditions (50 µl of DES 2 as extraction solvent; 100 µl of THF as emulsifier solvent; pH 2; extraction time 5 min), enrichment factor obtained for dicamba and MCPA were 43.1 and 59.7, respectively. The limit of detection and limit of quantification obtained for dicamba were 1.66 and 5.03 µg l-1, respectively, meanwhile for MCPA were 1.69 and 5.12 µg l-1, respectively. The developed ELLME-DES method was applied on paddy field water samples, with extraction recoveries in the range of 79-91% for dicamba and 82-96% for MCPA.
A new cloud point methodology was successfully used for the extraction of carcinogenic pesticides in milk samples as a prior step to their determination by spectrophotometry. In this work, non-ionic silicone surfactant, also known as 3-(3-hydroxypropyl-heptatrimethylxyloxane), was chosen as a green extraction solvent because of its structure and properties. The effect of different parameters, such as the type of surfactant, concentration and volume of surfactant, pH, salt, temperature, incubation time and water content on the cloud point extraction of carcinogenic pesticides such as atrazine and propazine, was studied in detail and a set of optimum conditions was established. A good correlation coefficient (R2 ) in the range of 0.991-0.997 for all calibration curves was obtained. The limit of detection was 1.06 µg l-1 (atrazine) and 1.22 µg l-1 (propazine), and the limit of quantitation was 3.54 µg l-1 (atrazine) and 4.07 µg l-1 (propazine). Satisfactory recoveries in the range of 81-108% were determined in milk samples at 5 and 1000 µg l-1, respectively, with low relative standard deviation, n = 3 of 0.301-7.45% in milk matrices. The proposed method is very convenient, rapid, cost-effective and environmentally friendly for food analysis.
The capability of zinc oxide (ZnO) as a hydrogen sensing element has been pushed to its limits. Different methods have been explored to extend its sensing capability. In this paper, we report a novel approach which significantly improves the hydrogen sensing capability of zinc oxide by applying a bias voltage to ZnO nanorods as the sensing elements. Zinc oxide in the form of aligned nanorods was first synthesized on an Au-coated Si(111) substrate using a facile method via the galvanic-assisted chemical process. The sensing performance of the zinc oxide nanorods was investigated in response to the applied biasing voltage. It was found that the sensitivity, response time and detection limit of the ZnO sensing elements were dramatically improved with increasing bias voltage. A 100% increment in sensing response was achieved for the detection of 2000 ppm hydrogen gas when the bias voltage was increased from -2 to -6 V with 70% reduction in response and recovery times. This remarkable sensing performance is attributed to the reaction of hydrogen with chemisorbed oxygen ions on the surface of the ZnO nanorods that served as the electron donors to increase the sensor conductance. Higher reverse bias voltages sweep the electrons faster across the electrodes. This shortened the response time and, at the same time, depleted the electrons in the sensor elements and weakens oxygen adsorption. The oxygen ions could then be readily removed by hydrogen, leading to a higher sensitivity of the sensors. This, therefore, envisages a way for high-speed hydrogen gas sensing with high detection sensitivities.
Single-crystal X-ray structures of dimeric quinoxaline aldehyde (QA), quinoxaline dihydrazone (DHQ) and HQNM (Goswami S et al. 2013 Tetrahedron Lett.54, 5075-5077. (doi:10.1016/j.tetlet.2013.07.051); Goswami S et al. 2014 RSC Adv.4, 20 922-20 926. (doi:10.1039/C4RA00594E); Goswami S et al. 2014 New J. Chem.38, 6230-6235. (doi:10.1039/C4NJ01498G)) are reported along with the theoretical study. Among them, QA is not acting as an active probe, but DHQ and HQNM are serving as selective and sensitive probe for the Fe3+ cation and the Ni2+ cation, respectively. DHQ can also detect the Fe3+ in commercial fruit juices (grape and pomegranate).
Cloud point extraction (CPE) is a separation and preconcentration of non-ionic surfactant from one liquid phase to another. In this study, Sylgard 309 and three different types of additives for CPE, namely CPE-Sylgard, CPE-Sylgard-BMIMBr and CPE-Sylgard-GLDA, are investigated to extract methylphenol from water samples. The methylphenols are well separated by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with isocratic elution of acetonitrile : water; 60 : 40 (v/v) and detection at 260 nm. The optimized parameters for the effect of salt, surfactant, temperature, time of extraction, pH, interference study and the performance of different additives on methylphenol extraction are investigated. CPE-Sylgard-GLDA is chosen because it gives us a high peak and good peak area compared with CPE-Sylgard and CPE-Sylgard-BMIMBr. The recovery extractions of CPE-Sylgard-GLDA are obtained in the range of 80-99% as the percentage of relative standard deviation (RSD) is less than 10. The LOD and LOQ are 0.05 ppm and 0.18 ppm, respectively. The method developed for CPE-Sylgard-GLDA coupled with HPLC is feasible for the determination of methylphenol because it is simple, effective, cheap, and produces a high percentage of recovery.