Seahorse diversity (genus Hippocampus, Family Syngnathidae), species identification, size composition and sexual dimorphism were studied from November 2012 to March 2013 in selected coastal waters around Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and the local market trade. Six species of seahorses were identified in the study: (1) Hippocampus barbouri, (2) Hippocampus comes, (3) Hippocampus kelloggi, (4) Hippocampus kuda, (5) Hippocampus spinosissimus and (6) Hippocampus trimaculatus. All six species were sold at the local market, and the dried seahorses were obtained mainly by local fishermen using trawl by-catch method and traded as traditional medicine, souvenirs and other uses. Four species were identified by direct samplings in various different habitats of Kota Kinabalu coastal waters: (1) H. barbouri, (2) H. comes, (3) H. kuda, and (4) H. spinosissimus. Based on the results, H. comes was the largest in size among the four fresh/live species found (mean standard length [SL]: 148.25±1.26 mm), whereas H. barbouri was the smallest species (mean SL: 129±7.81 mm). For the dried samples, H. kelloggi was the largest (mean SL: 245.25±14.55 mm) and H. barbouri was the smallest (mean SL: 127.21±10.01 mm). No significant difference (p>0.05) was observed between the lengths of males and females in every seahorse species, and there was no sexual size dimorphism in any of the species. The findings from the study are significant to provide baseline data for the conservation efforts of these unique marine teleost.
The yellow tetrazolium salt 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) is widely used to determine cell viability in cell proliferation and cytotoxic assays. MTT is reduced by metabolically active cells to form an insoluble purple formazan product that is quantifiable by spectrophotometry. It is the most common and direct assay for cell viability. However, in this present study, we demonstrated that the vitamin E isomers α-β-γ-δ-tocotrienols and α-tocopherol were able to reduce MTT into a formazan product, despite the absence of living cells. For comparison, a second method for determining cell viability, which is the neutral red uptake assay, was used in parallel with the MTT assay. The results showed that neutral red did not interact with the vitamin E isomers. Our findings suggest that the MTT assay is not suitable for studying the proliferative effects of vitamin E isomers on cell growth.
The production of nitrogenase enzyme and auxins by free living diazotrophs has the potential to influence the growth of host plants. In this study, diazotrophs were grown in the presence of various concentrations of nitogen (N) to determine the optimal concentration of N for microbial growth stimulation, promotion of gaseous N (N2) fixation, and phytohormone production. Therefore, we investigate whether different levels of N supplied to Herbaspirillum seropedicae (Z78) have significant effects on nitrogenase activity and auxin production. The highest nitrogenase activity and the lowest auxin production of H. seropedicae (Z78) were both recorded at 0 gL(-1) of NH4Cl. Higher levels of external N caused a significant decrease in the nitrogenase activity and an increased production of auxins. In a subsequent test, two different inoculum sizes of Z78 (10(6) and 10(12) cfu/ml) were used to study the effect of different percentages of acetylene on nitrogenase activity of the inoculum via the acetylene reduction assay (ARA). The results showed that the optimal amount of acetylene required for nitrogenase enzyme activity was 5% for the 10(6) cfu/ml inoculum, whereas the higher inoculum size (10(12) cfu/ml) required at least 10% of acetylene for optimal nitrogenase activity. These findings provide a clearer understanding of the effects of N levels on diazotrophic nitrogenase activity and auxin production, which are important factors influencing plant growth.
The effectiveness of the synthetic insecticides trichlorfon, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin emulsion concentrated (EC) and cypermethrin emulsion water based (EW) and a bio-insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki (Btk), was evaluated at 3, 7, 14 and 30 days after treatment (DAT) for the control of Metisa plana larvae in an oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) plantation in Malaysia. Although all synthetic insecticides effectively reduced the larval population of M. plana, trichlorfon, lambda-cyhalothrin and cypermethrin EC were the fastest-acting. The larval population dropped below the economic threshold level (ETL) 30 days after a single application of the synthetic insecticides. Application of Btk, however, gave poor results, with the larval population remaining above the ETL post treatment. In terms of operational productivity, ground spraying using power spray equipment was time-consuming and resulted in poor coverage. Power spraying may not be appropriate for controlling M. plana infestations in large fields. Using a power sprayer, one man could cover 2-3 ha per day. Hence, power spraying is recommended during outbreaks of infestation in areas smaller than 50 ha.
A study of the reproductive cycle of the hard clam, Meretrix lyrata, was documented based on histological observation and Gonad Index (GI). Samples were taken from estuarine waters of the Buntal River in Sarawak, Malaysia. The gonad of M. lyrata started to develop in September 2013. Gametogenesis continued to develop until the maturation and spawning stage from February to April 2014. The GI pattern for a one-year cycle showed a significant correlation with chlorophyll a. The corresponding GI with chlorophyll a suggested that the development of the reproductive cycle of M. lyrata required a high amount of food to increase gametogenesis.
Mating compatibility and restriction analyses of Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions were performed to determine the relations between Ganoderma boninense, the most common species associated with basal stem rot in oil palm and Ganoderma isolates from infected oil palm, two ornamental palms, sealing wax palm (Cyrtostachys renda) and MacArthur palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii), an isolate from coconut stump (Cocos nucifera), Ganoderma miniatocinctum, Ganoderma zonatum and Ganoderma tornatum. The results showed that G. boninense was compatible with Ganoderma isolates from oil palm, G. miniatocinctum and G. zonatum, Ganoderma isolates from sealing wax palm, MacArthur palm and coconut stump. G. boninense was not compatible with G. tornatum. Therefore, the results suggested that the G. boninense, G. miniatocinctum, G. zonatum, and Ganoderma isolates from oil palm, ornamental palms and coconut stump could represent the same biological species. In performing a restriction analysis of the ITS regions, variations were observed in which five haplotypes were generated from the restriction patterns. An unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic averages (UPGMA) cluster analysis showed that all the Ganoderma isolates were grouped into five primary groups, and the similarity values of the isolates ranged from 97% to 100%. Thus, a restriction analysis of the ITS regions showed that G. boninense and the Ganoderma isolates from other palm hosts were closely related. On the basis of the mating compatibility test and the restriction analysis of the ITS regions performed in this study, a diverse group of Ganoderma species from oil palm and other palm hosts are closely related, except for G. tornatum and Ganoderma isolates from tea and rubber.
In the past decade, the field of stem cell biology is of major interest among researchers due to its broad therapeutic potential. Stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into specialised cell types. Stem cells can be classified into two main types: adult stem cells (adult tissues) and embryonic stem cells (embryos formed during the blastocyst phase of embryological development). This review will discuss two types of adult mesenchymal stem cells, dental stem cells and amniotic stem cells, with respect to their differentiation lineages, passage numbers and animal model studies. Amniotic stem cells have a greater number of differentiation lineages than dental stem cells. On the contrary, dental stem cells showed the highest number of passages compared to amniotic stem cells. For tissue regeneration based on animal studies, amniotic stem cells showed the shortest time to regenerate in comparison with dental stem cells.
Fascioliasis, or trematode infestation, is an important disease caused by Fasciola hepatica and Fasciola gigantica. Both species are hepatic parasites that affect humans. We have examined the zoonotic aspects of fascioliasis. A total of 80 fresh liver samples were collected from 67 Kedah-Kelantan crossbred cattle and 13 Murrah buffalo at 4 local abattoirs in Perak, Malaysia. The samples were examined macroscopically to detect the presence of Fasciola spp. The results show 7.50% (6 of 80) of the animals were diagnosed with fascioliasis. Overall, 7.46% (5 of 67) and 7.69% (1 of 13) of cattle and buffalo samples were positive, respectively. There were only F. gigantica species identified in the samples. Our findings suggest that precautions should be taken because the disease has a zoonotic impact on public health.
The pteridophyte flora of Langkawi Archipelago consists of 130 species, 1 subspecies and 12 varieties in 68 genera and 27 families. This value represents 22.1% of the 647 taxa at the species level and below reported for Peninsular Malaysia. Of the 143 recorded taxa of pteridophytes at the species level and below, 8 species in 2 genera and 2 families are lycophytes and the other 135 taxa in 66 genera and 25 families are monilophytes or ferns.
This preliminary study aimed to identify a commercial gamat species, Stichopus horrens Selenka, 1867, and a timun laut species, Holothuria (Mertensiothuria) leucospilota (Brandt, 1835), from Pangkor Island, Perak, Malaysia, employing morphological techniques based on the shape of the ossicles and molecular techniques based on the cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) gene. In Malaysia, a gamat is defined as a sea cucumber species of the family Stichopodidae with medicinal value, and timun laut refers to non-gamat species. S. horrens is very popular on Pangkor Island as a main ingredient in the traditional production of air gamat and minyak gamat, while H. leucospilota is the most abundant species in Malaysia. In contrast to previous studies, internal body parts (the respiratory tree and gastrointestine) were examined in this study to obtain better inferences based on morphology. The results showed that there were no ossicles present in the gastrointestine of H. leucospilota, and this characteristic is suggested as a unique diagnostic marker for the timun laut species. In addition, the presence of Y-shaped rods in the respiratory tree of S. horrens subsequently supported the potential to use internal body parts to identify the gamat species. Phylogenetic analysis of the COI mtDNA gene of the sea cucumber specimens using the neighbour-joining method and maximum likelihood methods further confirmed the species status of H. leucospilota and S. horrens from Pangkor Island, Perak, Malaysia. The COI mtDNA gene sequences were registered with GenBank, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), US National Library of Medicine (GenBank accession no.: KC405565-KC405568). Although additional specimens from various localities will be required to produce more conclusive results, the current findings provide better insight into the importance of complementary approaches involving morphological and molecular techniques in the identification of the two Malaysian sea cucumber species.
Studies of habitat suitability (HS) are essential when animals' habitats have been altered or when animals migrate to a habitat different from their natural habitat. This study assessed HS and used an integrated geographic information system in the assessment of Rattus norvegicus in a highly developed urban environment. Using data from the Campbell market and the police quarters of George Town, Malaysia, home range (through the use of 100% Minimum Convex Polygon [MCP], 95% MCP and 95% Harmonic Mean [HM]) was estimated. Home range for male rats at Campbell market reached an asymptote, with a slight increase, at 96 radio fixes (home range = 133.52 m(2); core area = 29.39 m(2)). Female rats reached an asymptote at 62 radio fixes (home range = 13.38 m(2); core area = 9.17 m(2)). At Campbell market, male rats emerged at 1900 hours every day, whereas females emerged at 2000 hours; at police quarters, the most common time of emergence for males was 2000 hours and for females was 2200. Raster charts of R. norvegicus showed that rat hot spots can be grouped into 4 zones (market, shop houses, settlement and general places). The standardised raster chart isolated the market as the major rallying points of the rats (hot spots) by producing the highest rats frequencies of 255. All of the habitat suitability thresholds, including the built-up points, skip bins, water source and nature of the site explored in this study, produced a structural pattern (monotonic increase or decrease) of habitat suitability.
Isolates of Fusarium were discovered in peat soil samples collected from peat swamp forest, waterlogged peat soil, and peat soil from oil palm plantations. Morphological characteristics were used to tentatively identify the isolates, and species confirmation was based on the sequence of translation elongation factor-1α (TEF-1α) and phylogenetic analysis. Based on the closest match of Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) searches against the GenBank and Fusarium-ID databases, five Fusarium species were identified, namely F. oxysporum (60%), F. solani (23%), F. proliferatum (14%), F. semitectum (1%), and F. verticillioides (1%). From a neighbour-joining tree of combined TEF-1α and β-tubulin sequences, isolates from the same species were clustered in the same clade, though intraspecies variations were observed from the phylogenetic analysis. The Fusarium species isolated in the present study are soil inhabitants and are widely distributed worldwide. These species can act as saprophytes and decomposers as well as plant pathogens. The presence of Fusarium species in peat soils suggested that peat soils could be a reservoir of plant pathogens, as well-known plant pathogenic species such F. oxysporum, F. solani, F. proliferatum, and F. verticillioides were identified. The results of the present study provide knowledge on the survival and distribution of Fusarium species.
The life history and the influence of environmental parameters on Thalerosphyrus were investigated in two first-order rivers-the Batu Hampar River and the Teroi River of Gunung Jerai, Kedah-in northern peninsular Malaysia. Based on nymphal body length, Thalerosphyrus was found to be trivoltine in both rivers, regardless of the altitudinal difference, but its population abundance was four times higher in the Teroi River, presumably related to its better survival in the lower water temperature. At least nine instars of Thalerosphyrus were detected in the field-collected nymphs. Its life cycle was completed within 2.5-3.0 months, with overlapping cohorts and continual emergence of up to 3 months. The main driving factors of the high abundance of Thalerosphyrus were the water temperature and habitat quality.
THE DIVERSITIES OF MANGROVE TREES AND OF THEIR ASSOCIATED GASTROPODS WERE ASSESSED FOR TWO MANGROVE REGIONS ON THE WEST COAST OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA: Langkawi Island and Sungai Merbok. The mangrove area sampled on Langkawi Island was recently logged and replanted, whereas the area sampled in Sungai Merbok was part of a protected nature reserve. Mangrove and gastropod diversity were assessed in four 50 m(2) (10 × 5 m) sites per region. The species richness (S), Shannon Index (H') and Evenness Index (J') were calculated for each site, and the mean S, H' and J' values were calculated for each region. We report low tree and gastropod S, H' and J' values in all sites from both regions. For Langkawi Island, the mean S, H' and J' values for mangrove trees were S = 2.00±0, H' = 0.44±0.17 and J' = 0.44±0.17; the mean S, H' and J' values for gastropods were S = 4.00±1.63, H' = 0.96±0.41 and J' = 0.49±0.06. In Sungai Merbok, the mean S, H' and J' values for mangrove trees were S = 1.33±0.58, H' = 0.22±0.39 and J' = 0.22 ±0.39; the mean S, H' and J' values for gastropods were S = 4.75±2.22, H' = 1.23±0.63 and J' = 0.55±0.12. This study emphasises the need for baseline biodiversity measures to be established in mangrove ecosystems to track the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances and to inform management and restoration efforts.
The acute and sub-chronic antihyperglycaemic activity, safety margin evaluations and chemical composition of ethanol extract (EE) and fractions of Gynura procumbens (GP) were studied. Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats (SDRs) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines 425 and 407 were used in the antidiabetic and toxicity studies, respectively. Biochemical and haematological data obtained from both acute and sub-chronic procedures suggest that the extract is safe at the limit test dose (2000 mg/kg); thus, the oral lethal dose (LD50) exceeds 2000 mg/kg. The acceptable daily intake (ADI) was determined to be 700 mg/kg/day. In the acute antihyperglycaemic study, the n-butanol fraction (n-BF) was found to consistently lower glucose levels the most effectively, which was also demonstrated in the 14-day study. Not only did the n-BF show the highest dose-dependent glucose-lowering action (51.2% and 62.0% at 500 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg, respectively), its effect was the closest to that of metformin (63.6%, p<0.05). The estimated amount of flavonoids in n-BF were 62.90% and 79.68% higher than the ethyl acetate fraction (EAF) and aqueous fraction (AF), respectively (p<0.05), with a corresponding value of 61.22% and 49.33% for phenolics (p<0.05). GP leaves have a no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) and antihyperglycaemic activity corresponding to the high content of phenols and flavonoids. Therefore, GP leaves are a promising source of new antidiabetic natural products.
A field study was performed to describe the functional feeding groups (FFGs) of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) in the Tupah, Batu Hampar and Teroi Rivers in the Gunung Jerai Forest Reserve (GJFR), Kedah, Malaysia. Twenty-nine genera belonging to 19 families were identified. The EPTs were classified into five FFGs: collector-gatherers (CG), collector-filterers (CF), shredders (SH), scrapers (SC) and predators (P). In this study, CG and CF were the dominant groups inhabiting all three rivers. Ephemeroptera dominated these rivers due to their high abundance, and they were also the CG (90.6%). SC were the lowest in abundance among all groups. Based on the FFGs, the Teroi River was suitable for CG, whereas the Tupah and Batu Hampar Rivers were suitable for CG and CF. The distribution of FFGs differed among the rivers (CG, χ(2) = 23.6, p = 0.00; SH, χ(2) = 10.02, p = 0.007; P, χ(2) = 25.54, p = 0.00; CF, χ(2) = 21.95, p = 0.00; SC, χ(2) = 9.31, p = 0.01). These findings indicated that the FFGs found in rivers of the GJFR represent high river quality.
In this study, factor analysis (FA) was applied to extract the hidden factors responsible for water quality variations during both wet and dry seasons. Water samples were collected from six sampling stations (St. 1 Lalang River, St. 2 Semeling River, St. 3 Jagung River, St. 4 Teluk Wang River, St. 5 Gelam River and St. 6 Derhaka River) in the Merbok estuary, Malaysia from January to December 2011; the samples were further analysed in the laboratory. Correlation analysis of the data sets showed strong correlations between the parameters. Nutrients such as nitrate (NO3 (-)), nitrite (NO2 (-)), ammonia (NH3) and phosphate (PO4 (3-)) were determined to be critical indicators of water quality throughout the year. Influential water quality parameters during the wet season were conductivity, salinity, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), dissolved oxygen (DO) and chlorophyll a (Chla), whereas total suspended solid (TSS) and pH were critical water quality indicators during the dry season. The Kruskal-Wallis H test showed that water quality parameters were significantly different among the sampling months and stations (p<0.05), and Mann-Whitney U tests further revealed that the significantly different parameters were temperature, pH, DO, TSS, NO2 (-) and BOD (p<0.01), whereas salinity, conductivity, NO3 (-), PO4 (3-), NH3 and Chla were not significantly different (p>0.05). Water quality parameters in the estuary varied on both temporal and spatial scales and these results may serve as baseline information for estuary management, specifically for the Merbok estuary.
We conducted a series of experiments to test the numerical competency of two species of birds, Corvus splendens (House Crow) and Acridotheres tristis (Common Myna). Both species were allowed to choose from seven different groups of mealworms with varying proportions. We considered the birds to have made a correct choice when it selected the food group with the highest number of mealworms. Our overall results indicated that the Common Myna is able to count numbers (161 successful choices out of 247 trials) better than House Crows (133 successful choices out of 241 trials). We suspect that House Crows do not rely on a numerical sense when selecting food. Although House Crows mostly chose the cup with more mealworms (from seven food item proportions), only one proportion was chosen at rate above random chance. The Common Myna, however, were slow performers at the beginning but became increasingly more capable of numerical sense during the remainder of the experiment (four out of seven food proportion groups were chosen at a rate above random chance).
A study on the variation of leaf venation patterns was conducted on 21 taxa of the genus Ficus in Peninsular Malaysia. The results showed the existence of eight leaf venation patterns based on veinlets, the ultimate marginal and areolar venation. The majority of species, such as F. annulata, F. benghalensis, F. benjamina, F. deltoidea var. angustifolia, F. deltoidea var. kunstleri, F. depressa, F. elastica, F. hispida, F. microcarpa, F. religiosa, F. tinctoria, F. ucinata and F. vasculosa, show tri-veinlets. The others exhibit the following: bi-veinlets in F. aurata and F. heteropleura; uni-veinlets in F. lepicarpa, F. schwarzii and F. superba; and simple veinlets in F. aurantiacea and F. fulva. F. sagittata presents no veinlets for areolar venation. The presence of tracheid or swollen veins at the centre of the lamina and the presence of cystolith cells and trichomes are common anatomical characteristics that could assist in group classification of the studied species. Variations in leaf venation patterns are not only valuable in identifying a taxon group, but can also be used to differentiate between species in the genus Ficus.
The oil palm seed production unit that generates germinated oil palm seeds is the first link in the palm oil supply chain, followed by the nursery to produce seedling, the plantation to produce fresh fruit bunches (FFB), the mill to produce crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel, the kernel crushers to produce crude palm kernel oil (CPKO), the refinery to produce refined palm oil (RPO) and finally the palm biodiesel plant to produce palm biodiesel. This assessment aims to investigate the life cycle assessment (LCA) of germinated oil palm seeds and the use of LCA to identify the stage/s in the production of germinated oil palm seeds that could contribute to the environmental load. The method for the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is modelled using SimaPro version 7, (System for Integrated environMental Assessment of PROducts), an internationally established tool used by LCA practitioners. This software contains European and US databases on a number of materials in addition to a variety of European- and US-developed impact assessment methodologies. LCA was successfully conducted for five seed production units and it was found that the environmental impact for the production of germinated oil palm was not significant. The characterised results of the LCIA for the production of 1000 germinated oil palm seeds showed that fossil fuel was the major impact category followed by respiratory inorganics and climate change.