Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 8

Biological, Biomolecular, Agricultural, Food and Biotechnological Engineering

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  • 8
    Effect of Cold Plasma-Surface Modification on Surface Wettability and Initial Cell Attachment
    A thin coating of hexamethyldisiloxane and subsequent O2-plasma treatment was performed on mirror-polished titanium in order to regulate the wide range of wettability including 106 and almost 0 degrees of contact angles. The adsorption behavior of fibronectin and albumin in both individual and competitive mode, and initial attachment of fibroblasts and osteoblasts were investigated. Individually, fibronectin adsorption showed a biphasic inclination, whereas albumin showed greater adsorption to hydrophobic surfaces. In competitive mode, in solution containing both fibronectin and albumin, fibronectin showed greater adsorption on hydrophilic surfaces, whereas Alb predominantly adsorbed on hydrophobic surfaces. Initial attachment of both cells increased with increase in surface wettability, in particular, on super-hydrophilic surface, which correlated well with fibronectin adsorption in competitive mode. These results suggest that a cold plasma-surface modification enabled to regulate the surface wettability, and fibronectin adsorption may be responsible for increasing cell adhesion on hydrophilic surfaces in a body fluid
    Multi-Agent Systems Applied in the Modeling and Simulation of Biological Problems: A Case Study in Protein Folding

    Multi-agent system approach has proven to be an effective and appropriate abstraction level to construct whole models of a diversity of biological problems, integrating aspects which can be found both in "micro" and "macro" approaches when modeling this type of phenomena. Taking into account these considerations, this paper presents the important computational characteristics to be gathered into a novel bioinformatics framework built upon a multiagent architecture. The version of the tool presented herein allows studying and exploring complex problems belonging principally to structural biology, such as protein folding. The bioinformatics framework is used as a virtual laboratory to explore a minimalist model of protein folding as a test case. In order to show the laboratory concept of the platform as well as its flexibility and adaptability, we studied the folding of two particular sequences, one of 45-mer and another of 64-mer, both described by an HP model (only hydrophobic and polar residues) and coarse grained 2D-square lattice. According to the discussion section of this piece of work, these two sequences were chosen as breaking points towards the platform, in order to determine the tools to be created or improved in such a way to overcome the needs of a particular computation and analysis of a given tough sequence. The backwards philosophy herein is that the continuous studying of sequences provides itself important points to be added into the platform, to any time improve its efficiency, as is demonstrated herein.

    Effect of Indole-3-Acetic Acid on Arsenic Translocation in Agricultural Crops
    The problem of agricultural-soil pollution is closely linked to the production of ecologically pure foodstuffs and to human health. An important task, therefore, is to rehabilitate agricultural soils with the help of state-of-the-art biotechnologies, based on the use of metal-accumulating plants. In this work, on the basis of literature data and the results of prior research from this laboratory, plants were selected for which the growing technology is well developed and which are widespread locally: sugar sorghum (Sorghum saccharatum), sudangrass (Sorghum sudanense (Piper.) Stapf.), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). I report on laboratory experiments designed to study the influence of synthetic indole-3- acetic acid and the extracellular indole-3-acetic acid released by the plant-growth-promoting rhizobacterium Azospirillum brasilense Sp245 on growth of and arsenic accumulation by these plants.
    Enhanced Nutrients Removal in Conventional Anaerobic Digestion Processes

    One of the main challenges for one phase anaerobic digestion processes is the high concentration of NH4+ and PO4 3- ions  in the digested sludge supernatant. This project focuses on enhancing the removal of nutrients during the anaerobic digestion process through fixing both NH4+ and PO4 3- ions in the form of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate, MAP, MgNH4PO4.6H2O) within the anaerobic sludge. Batch anaerobic digestion tests showed that Mg2+ concentration in the range 279 – 812 mg/L had insignificant effect on CGP but incurred a slight increase in COD removal. The reactor that had soluble Mg2+:NH4+:PO43- at a molar ratio of 1.28:1:00:1:00 achieved the best performance enhancement of 8% increase in COD removal and 32% reduction in NH4+ in the reactor supernatant. Overall, the results show that there is a potential to optimise conventional anaerobic digestion such that supernatant lean in P and N, and sludge rich in nutrients are obtained. 

    Surface Charge Based Rapid Method for Detection of Microbial Contamination in Drinking Water and Food Products

    Microbial contamination, most of which are fecal born in drinking water and food industry is a serious threat to humans. Escherichia coli is one of the most common and prevalent among them. We have developed a sensor for rapid and an early detection of contaminants, taking E.coli as a threat indicator organism. The sensor is based on co-polymerizations of aniline and formaldehyde in form of thin film over glass surface using the vacuum deposition technique. The particular doping combination of thin film with Fe-Al and Fe-Cu in different concentrations changes its non conducting properties to p- type semi conductor. This property is exploited to detect the different contaminants, believed to have the different surface charge. It was found through experiments that different microbes at same OD (0.600 at 600 nm) have different conductivity in solution. Also the doping concentration is found to be specific for attracting microbes on the basis of surface charge. This is a simple, cost effective and quick detection method which not only decreases the measurement time but also gives early warnings for highly contaminated samples.

    Effect of Process Parameters on Aerobic Decolourization of Reactive Azo Dye using Mixed Culture
    In the present study, an attempt was made to examine the potential of aerobic mixed culture for decolourization of Remazol Black B dye in batch reactors. The effect of pH, temperature, inoculum, initial concentration of dye and initial concentration of glucose was studied with an aim to determine the optimal conditions required for maximum decolourization and degradation. The culture exhibited maximum decolourization ability at pH between 7-8 and at 30°C. A 10% (v/v) inoculum and 1% (w/v) glucose concentration were found to be the optimum for decolourization. A maximum of 98% decolourization was observed at 25 ppm initial concentration of dye after 18 hours of incubation period. At higher dye concentration of 300 ppm, the removal in colour was found to be 75% in 48 hours of incubation period. The results show that the enriched mixed culture from activated sludge has good potential in removal of Remazol Black B dye from wastewater under aerobic conditions.
    Co-composting Cow Manure with Food Waste: The Influence of Lipids Content

    Addition of an oily waste to a co-composting process of dairy cow manure with food waste, and the influence in the final product was evaluated. Three static composting piles with different substrates concentrations were assessed. Sawdust was also added to all composting piles to attain 60%, humidity at the beginning of the process. In pile 1, the co-substrates were the solid-phase of dairy cow manure, food waste and sawdust as bulking agent. In piles 2 and 3 there was an extra input of oily waste of 7 and 11% of the total volume, respectively, corresponding to 18 and 28% in dry weight. The results showed that the co-composting process was feasible even at the highest fat content. Another positive effect due to the oily waste addition was the requirement of extra humidity, due to the hydrophobic properties of this specific waste, which may imply reduced need of a bulking agent. Moreover, this study shows that composting can be a feasible way of adding value to fatty wastes. The three final composts presented very similar and suitable properties for land application.

    Enzymatic Activity of Alfalfa in a Phenanthrene-contaminated Environment
    This research was undertaken to study enzymatic activity in the shoots, roots, and rhizosphere of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) grown in quartz sand that was uncontaminated and contaminated with phenanthrene at concentrations of 10 and 100 mg kg-1. The higher concentration of phehanthrene had a distinct phytotoxic effect on alfalfa, inhibiting seed germination energy, plant survival, and biomass accumulation. The plant stress response to the environmental pollution was an increase in peroxidase activity. Peroxidases were the predominant enzymes in the alfalfa shoots and roots. The peroxidase profile in the shoots differed from that in the roots and had different isoenzyme numbers. 2,2'-Azinobis-(3-ethylbenzo-thiazoline-6-sulphonate) (ABTS) peroxidase was predominant in the shoots, and 2,7-diaminofluorene (2,2-DAF) peroxidase was predominant in the roots. Under the influence of phenanthrene, the activity of 2,7-DAF peroxidase increased in the shoots, and the activity of ABTS peroxidase increased in the roots. Alfalfa root peroxidases were the prevalent enzyme systems in the rhizosphere sand. Examination of the activity of alfalfa root peroxidase toward phenanthrene revealed the possibility of involvement of the plant enzyme in rhizosphere degradation of the PAH.