This study investigated the dry and aqueous erosion of mild steel using electrochemical and dry sand impact techniques. In dry sand impact experiments, mild steel was eroded with 45 μm and 150 μm sand particles. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and micro-hardness techniques were used to elaborate the surface morphology of the eroded samples. The results revealed significant change in morphology of the eroded samples. In-depth analysis showed that although the metal erosion due to larger particles was significantly higher, the fines also notably damaged the metal surface. The surface damages were appreciably reduced with decrease in impact angle of the accelerated particles. The maximum damages were observed at an impact angle of 90°. The hardness of the samples treated with 45 μm and 150 μm sand remained in the range of 88.34 to 102.31 VHN and 87.7 to 97.55 VHN, respectively. In electrochemical experiments, a triple electrode probe was added into the metal treatment process. The linear polarization resistance (LPR) measurements were performed in slurries having 5% (by weight) of sand particles. LPR of the samples treated with 45 μm and 150 μm sand slurries was calculated about 949 Ω.cm(2) and 809 Ω.cm(2), respectively.
The traditional application of the sclerotium of Lignosus rhinocerotis (tiger's milk mushroom) by the indigenous folks as tonic and remedy to treat a variety of ailments has been documented in Malaysia. Indigenous communities claimed to have consumed the decoction to boost their alertness during hunting. Mental alertness is believed to be related to neuronal health and neuroactivity. In the present study, the cell viability and neuritogenic effects of L. rhinocerotis sclerotium hot aqueous and ethanolic extracts, and crude polysaccharides on rat pheochromocytoma (PC-12) cells were studied. Interestingly, the hot aqueous extract exhibited neuritogenic activity comparable to NGF in PC-12 cells. However, the extracts and crude polysaccharides stimulated neuritogenesis without stimulating the production of NGF in PC-12 cells. The involvements of the TrkA receptor and MEK/ERK1/2 pathway in hot aqueous extract-stimulated neuritogenesis were examined by Trk (K252a) and MEK/ERK1/2 (U0126 and PD98059) inhibitors. There was no significant difference in protein expression in NGF- and hot aqueous extract-treated cells for both total and phosphorylated p44/42 MAPK. The neuritogenic activity in PC-12 cells stimulated by hot aqueous and ethanolic extracts, and crude polysaccharides of L. rhinocerotis sclerotium mimicking NGF activity via the MEK/ERK1/2 signaling pathway is reported for the first time.
Up to 25% of breast cancer patients in Asia present with de novo metastatic disease. We examined the survival trends of Asian patients with metastatic breast cancer over fifteen years. The impact of changes in patient's demography, tumor characteristics, tumor burden, and treatment on survival trend were examined. Patients with de novo metastatic breast cancer from three hospitals in Malaysia and Singapore (N = 856) were grouped by year of diagnosis: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010. Step-wise multivariable Poisson regression was used to estimate the contribution of above-mentioned factors on the survival trend. Proportions of patients presenting with metastatic breast cancer were 10% in 1996-2000, 7% in 2001-2005, and 9% in 2006-2010. Patients in 2006-2010 were significantly older, appeared to have higher disease burden, and received more chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, and surgery of primary tumor. The three-year relative survival in the above periods were 20·6% (95% CI: 13·9%-28·2%), 28·8% (95% CI: 23·4%-34·2%), and 33·6% (95% CI: 28·8%-38·5%), respectively. Adjustment for treatment considerably attenuated the relative excess risk of mortality in recent years, compared to other factors. Substantial improvements in survival were observed in patients with de novo metastatic breast cancer in this study.
This paper presents the preparation of in situ electrodeposited rGO/MnO2 nanocomposite as a binder-free electrode for supercapacitor application. The work describes and evaluates the performance of prepared electrode via green and facile electrodeposition technique of in situ rGO/MnO2-glucose carbon nanocomposites. The carbon content in the composite electrode increased after GO and D (+) glucose solution has been added in the deposition electrolyte. This study found that a suitable concentration of D (+) glucose in the deposition electrolyte can slow down the nucleation process of MnO2 particles and lead to uniform and ultrathin nanoflakes structure. The optimize electrode exhibited low transfer resistance and resulted on excellent electrochemical performance in three electrolyte systems viz. Na2SO4, KOH and KOH/K3Fe(CN)6 redox electrolytes. The optimum energy density and power density were 1851 Whkg(-1) and 68 kWkg(-1) at current density of 20 Ag(-1) in mixed KOH/K3Fe(CN)6 electrolyte.
The whole mitochondrial genome of the pest fruit fly Bactrocera arecae was obtained from next-generation sequencing of genomic DNA. It had a total length of 15,900 bp, consisting of 13 protein-coding genes, 2 rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes and a non-coding region (A + T-rich control region). The control region (952 bp) was flanked by rrnS and trnI genes. The start codons included 6 ATG, 3 ATT and 1 each of ATA, ATC, GTG and TCG. Eight TAA, two TAG, one incomplete TA and two incomplete T stop codons were represented in the protein-coding genes. The cloverleaf structure for trnS1 lacked the D-loop, and that of trnN and trnF lacked the TΨC-loop. Molecular phylogeny based on 13 protein-coding genes was concordant with 37 mitochondrial genes, with B. arecae having closest genetic affinity to B. tryoni. The subgenus Bactrocera of Dacini tribe and the Dacinae subfamily (Dacini and Ceratitidini tribes) were monophyletic. The whole mitogenome of B. arecae will serve as a useful dataset for studying the genetics, systematics and phylogenetic relationships of the many species of Bactrocera genus in particular, and tephritid fruit flies in general.
A stable dual-wavelength thulium-doped fiber laser operating at 1.9 μm using a short length of photonic crystal fiber (PCF) has been proposed and demonstrated. The photonics crystal fiber was 10 cm in length and effectively acted as a Mach-Zehnder interferometry element with a free spectral range of 0.2 nm. This dual-wavelength thulium-doped fiber laser operated steadily at room temperature with a 45 dB optical signal-to-noise-ratio.
The paper deals with a stagnation-point boundary layer flow towards a permeable stretching/shrinking sheet in a nanofluid where the flow and the sheet are not aligned. We used the Buongiorno model that is based on the Brownian diffusion and thermophoresis to describe the nanofluid in this problem. The main purpose of the present paper is to examine whether the non-alignment function has the effect on the problem considered when the fluid suction and injection are imposed. It is interesting to note that the non-alignment function can ruin the symmetry of the flows and prominent in the shrinking sheet. The fluid suction will reduce the impact of the non-alignment function of the stagnation flow and the stretching/shrinking sheet but at the same time increasing the velocity profiles and the shear stress at the surface. Furthermore, the effects of the pertinent parameters such as the Brownian motion, thermophoresis, Lewis number and the suction/injection on the flow and heat transfer characteristics are also taken into consideration. The numerical results are shown in the tables and the figures. It is worth mentioning that dual solutions are found to exist for the shrinking sheet.
ST50, an outer-membrane component of the multi-drug efflux system from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, is an obligatory diagnostic antigen for typhoid fever. ST50 is an excellent and unique diagnostic antigen with 95% specificity and 90% sensitivity and is used in the commercial diagnosis test kit (TYPHIDOT(TM)). The crystal structure of ST50 at a resolution of 2.98 Å reveals a trimer that forms an α-helical tunnel and a β-barrel transmembrane channel traversing the periplasmic space and outer membrane. Structural investigations suggest significant conformational variations in the extracellular loop regions, especially extracellular loop 2. This is the location of the most plausible antibody-binding domain that could be used to target the design of new antigenic epitopes for the development of better diagnostics or drugs for the treatment of typhoid fever. A molecule of the detergent n-octyl-β-D-glucoside is observed in the D-cage, which comprises three sets of Asp361 and Asp371 residues at the periplasmic entrance. These structural insights suggest a possible substrate transport mechanism in which the substrate first binds at the periplasmic entrance of ST50 and subsequently, via iris-like structural movements to open the periplasmic end, penetrates the periplasmic domain for efflux pumping of molecules, including poisonous metabolites or xenobiotics, for excretion outside the pathogen.
The application of microfluidic devices in diagnostic systems is well-established in contemporary research. Large specific surface area of microspheres, on the other hand, has secured an important position for their use in bioanalytical assays. Herein, we report a combination of microspheres and microfluidic disk in a unique hybrid platform for highly sensitive and selective detection of dengue virus. Surface engineered polymethacrylate microspheres with carefully designed functional groups facilitate biorecognition in a multitude manner. In order to maximize the utility of the microspheres' specific surface area in biomolecular interaction, the microfluidic disk was equipped with a micromixing system. The mixing mechanism (microballoon mixing) enhances the number of molecular encounters between spheres and target analyte by accessing the entire sample volume more effectively, which subsequently results in signal amplification. Significant reduction of incubation time along with considerable lower detection limits were the prime motivations for the integration of microspheres inside the microfluidic disk. Lengthy incubations of routine analytical assays were reduced from 2 hours to 5 minutes while developed system successfully detected a few units of dengue virus. Obtained results make this hybrid microsphere-microfluidic approach to dengue detection a promising avenue for early detection of this fatal illness.
Molecular detection has overcome limitations of microscopic examination by providing greater sensitivity and specificity in Plasmodium species detection. The objective of the present study was to develop a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction coupled with high-resolution melting (qRT-PCR-HRM) assay for rapid, accurate and simultaneous detection of all five human Plasmodium spp. A pair of primers targeted the 18S SSU rRNA gene of the Plasmodium spp. was designed for qRT-PCR-HRM assay development. Analytical sensitivity and specificity of the assay were evaluated. Samples collected from 229 malaria suspected patients recruited from Sabah, Malaysia were screened using the assay and results were compared with data obtained using PlasmoNex(TM), a hexaplex PCR system. The qRT-PCR-HRM assay was able to detect and discriminate the five Plasmodium spp. with lowest detection limits of 1-100 copy numbers without nonspecific amplifications. The detection of Plasmodium spp. in clinical samples using this assay also achieved 100% concordance with that obtained using PlasmoNex(TM). This indicated that the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of this assay in Plasmodium spp. detection is comparable with those of PlasmoNex(TM). The qRT-PCR-HRM assay is simple, produces results in two hours and enables high-throughput screening. Thus, it is an alternative method for rapid and accurate malaria diagnosis.
Carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) pose an urgent risk to global human health. CRE that are non-susceptible to all commercially available antibiotics threaten to return us to the pre-antibiotic era. Using Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing we determined the complete genome of a pandrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate, representing the first complete genome sequence of CRE resistant to all commercially available antibiotics. The precise location of acquired antibiotic resistance elements, including mobile elements carrying genes for the OXA-181 carbapenemase, were defined. Intriguingly, we identified three chromosomal copies of an ISEcp1-bla(OXA-181) mobile element, one of which has disrupted the mgrB regulatory gene, accounting for resistance to colistin. Our findings provide the first description of pandrug-resistant CRE at the genomic level, and reveal the critical role of mobile resistance elements in accelerating the emergence of resistance to other last resort antibiotics.
It is an urgent need to develop new drugs for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), and the enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is a recognised drug target. The crystal structures of methotrexate binding to mt- and h-DHFR separately indicate that the glycerol (GOL) binding site is likely to be critical for the function of mt-DHFR selective inhibitors. We have used in silico methods to screen NCI small molecule database and a group of related compounds were obtained that inhibit mt-DHFR activity and showed bactericidal effects against a test Mtb strain. The binding poses were then analysed and the influence of GOL binding site was studied by using molecular modelling. By comparing the chemical structures, 4 compounds that might be able to occupy the GOL binding site were identified. However, these compounds contain large hydrophobic side chains. As the GOL binding site is more hydrophilic, molecular modelling indicated that these compounds were failed to occupy the GOL site. The most potent inhibitor (compound 6) demonstrated limited selectivity for mt-DHFR, but did contain a novel central core (7H-pyrrolo[3,2-f]quinazoline-1,3-diamine), which may significantly expand the chemical space of novel mt-DHFR inhibitors. Collectively, these observations will inform future medicinal chemistry efforts to improve the selectivity of compounds against mt-DHFR.
Co-infections with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human pegivirus (HPgV) are common in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals. However, analysis on the evolutionary dynamics and transmission network profiles of these viruses among individuals with multiple infections remains limited. A total of 228 injecting drug users (IDUs), either HCV- and/or HIV-1-infected, were recruited in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. HCV, HIV-1 and HPgV genes were sequenced, with epidemic growth rates assessed by the Bayesian coalescent method. Based on the sequence data, mono-, dual- and triple-infection were detected in 38.8%, 40.6% and 20.6% of the subjects, respectively. Fifteen transmission networks involving HCV (subtype 1a, 1b, 3a and 3b), HIV-1 (CRF33_01B) and HPgV (genotype 2) were identified and characterized. Genealogical estimates indicated that the predominant HCV, HIV-1 and HPgV genotypes were introduced into the IDUs population through multiple sub-epidemics that emerged as early as 1950s (HCV), 1980s (HIV-1) and 1990s (HPgV). By determining the difference in divergence times between viral lineages (ΔtMRCA), we also showed that the frequency of viral co-transmission is low among these IDUs. Despite increased access to therapy and other harm reduction interventions, the continuous emergence and coexistence of new transmission networks suggest persistent multiple viral transmissions among IDUs.
Copper zinc tin sulfide (CZTS) is a promising material for harvesting solar energy due to its abundance and non-toxicity. However, its poor performance hinders their wide application. In this paper gold (Au) nanoparticles are successfully incorporated into CZTS to form Au@CZTS core-shell nanostructures. The photocathode of Au@CZTS nanostructures exhibits enhanced optical absorption characteristics and improved incident photon-to-current efficiency (IPCE) performance. It is demonstrated that using this photocathode there is a significant increase of the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of a photoelectrochemical solar cell of 100% compared to using a CZTS without Au core. More importantly, the PCE of Au@CZTS photocathode improved by 15.8% compared to standard platinum (Pt) counter electrode. The increased efficiency is attributed to plasmon resonance energy transfer (PRET) between the Au nanoparticle core and the CZTS shell at wavelengths shorter than the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) peak of the Au and the semiconductor bandgap.
A peripheral intravenous catheter is often inserted as part of care during labour. The catheter is inserted into the back of the hand or lower forearm vein in usual practice. There is no trial data to guide the care provider on which is the better insertion site in any clinical setting. 307 women admitted to the labour ward who required insertion of intravenous catheter were randomised to back of hand or lower forearm vein catheter insertion. Catheter insertion is by junior to mid-grade providers. We evaluated insertion success at the first attempt, pain during insertion and catheter replacement due to malfunction as main outcomes. After catheter removal, we recorded patient satisfaction with site, future site preference and insertion site swelling, bruising, tenderness, vein thrombosis and pain. Insertion of a catheter into back of hand vein is more likely to be successful at the first attempt. Insertion pain score, catheter replacement rate, patient satisfaction, patient fidelity to site in a future insertion and insertion site complications rate are not different between trial arms. In conclusion, both insertion sites are suitable; the back of the hand vein maybe easier to cannulate and seems to be preferred by our frontline providers.
The present study established a novel mouse model of a runway drug self-administration in our laboratory. The operant runway apparatus consisted of three long runways arranged in a zig-zag manner. The methodology consisted of six distinct phases: habituation, preconditioning, conditioning, post-conditioning, extinction and reinstatement. The effects of saline were compared with escalating doses of either ethanol (0.5-4.0 g/kg, i.p), heroin (5-40 mg/kg, i.p), or nicotine (0.1-0.5mg/kg, i.p) administered in the goal box during the conditioning phase (day 1 to day 5). A significant decrease in the time of trained (conditioned) mice to reach the goal box confirmed the subjects' motivation to seek those drugs on day 6 (expression). The mice were then subjected to non-rewarded extinction trials for 5 days over which run times were significantly increased. After 5 days of abstinence, a priming dose of ethanol or heroin (1/5th of maximum dose used in conditioning) significantly reinstated the drug-seeking behavior. These results suggest that the modified runway model can serve as a powerful behavioral tool for the study of the behavioral and neurobiological bases of drug self-administration and, as such, is appropriate simple but powerful tool for investigating the drug-seeking behavior of laboratory mice.
An orally-administered system for targeted, on-demand drug delivery to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is highly desirable due to the high instances of diseases of that organ system and harsh mechanical and physical conditions any such system has to endure. To that end, we present an iron oxide nanoparticle/wax composite capsule coating using magnetic hyperthermia as a release trigger. The coating is synthesised using a simple dip-coating process from pharmaceutically approved materials using a gelatin drug capsule as a template. We show that the coating is impervious to chemical conditions within the GI tract and is completely melted within two minutes when exposed to an RF magnetic field under biologically-relevant conditions. The overall simplicity of action, durability and non-toxic and inexpensive nature of our system demonstrated herein are key for successful drug delivery systems.
In this work, zinc chromite (ZnCr2O4) nanostructures have been synthesized through co-precipitation method. The effect of various parameters such as alkaline agent, pH value, and capping agent type was investigated on purity, particle size and morphology of samples. It was found that particle size and morphology of the products could be greatly influenced via these parameters. The synthesized products were characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectra, X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy, diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) and vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM). The superhydrophilicity of the calcined oxides was investigated by wetting experiments and a sessile drop technique which carried out at room temperature in air to determine the surface and interfacial interactions. Furthermore, the photocatalytic activity of ZnCr2O4 nanoparticles was confirmed by degradation of anionic dyes such as Eosin-Y and phenol red under UV light irradiation. The obtained ZnCr2O4 nanoparticles exhibit a paramagnetic behavior although bulk ZnCr2O4 is antiferromagnetic, this change in magnetic property can be ascribed to finite size effects.
Tropical carnivorous plant, Nepenthes, locally known as "monkey cup", utilises its pitcher as a passive trap to capture insects. It then secretes enzymes into the pitcher fluid to digest the insects for nutrients acquisition. However, little is known about the microbiota and their activity in its pitcher fluid. Eighteen bacteria phyla were detected from the metagenome study in the Nepenthes pitcher fluid. Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria are the dominant phyla in the Nepenthes pitcher fluid. We also performed culturomics approach by isolating 18 bacteria from the Nepenthes pitcher fluid. Most of the bacterial isolates possess chitinolytic, proteolytic, amylolytic, and cellulolytic and xylanolytic activities. Fifteen putative chitinase genes were identified from the whole genome analysis on the genomes of the 18 bacteria isolated from Nepenthes pitcher fluid and expressed for chitinase assay. Of these, six clones possessed chitinase activity. In conclusion, our metagenome result shows that the Nepenthes pitcher fluid contains vast bacterial diversity and the culturomic studies confirmed the presence of biocatalytic bacteria within the Nepenthes pitcher juice which may act in symbiosis for the turn over of insects trapped in the Nepenthes pitcher fluid.
Mycobacterium indicus pranii (MIP) is a non-pathogenic mycobacterium, which has been tested on several cancer types like lung and bladder where tumour regression and complete recovery was observed. In discovering the potential cytotoxic elements, a preliminary test was carried out using four different fractions consisting of live bacteria, culture supernatant, heat killed bacteria and heat killed culture supernatant of MIP against two human cancer cells A549 and CaSki by 3-(4,5-dimethyl thiazol)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Apoptosis was investigated in MCF-7 and ORL-115 cancer cells by poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and DNA fragmentation assays. Among four MIP fractions, only heat killed MIP fraction (HKB) showed significant cytotoxicity in various cancer cells with inhibitory concentration, IC50 in the range 5.6-35.0 μl/(1.0 × 10(6) MIP cells/ml), while cytotoxicity effects were not observed in the remaining fractions. HKB did not show cytotoxic effects on non-cancerous cells contrary to cancerous cells, suggesting its safe usage and ability to differentially recognize between these cells. Evaluation on PARP assay further suggested that cytotoxicity in cancer cells were potentially induced via caspase-mediated apoptosis. The cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of MIP HKB have indicated that this fraction can be a good candidate to further identify effective anti-cancer agents.