Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 23

Biological, Biomolecular, Agricultural, Food and Biotechnological Engineering

  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 23
    Comparison of Bioactive Compound Content in Egg Yolk Oil Extracted from Eggs Obtained from Different Laying Hen Housing Systems

    Egg yolk oil is a natural source of bioactive compounds such as unsaturated fatty acids, oil soluble vitamins, pigments and others. Bioactive compound content in egg yolk oil depends from its content in eggs, from which oil was extracted. Many studies show that bioactive compound content in egg is correlated to the content of these compounds in hen feed, but there is also an opinion that hen housing systems also have influence on egg chemical content. The aim of this study was to determine which factor, laying hen housing system or hen diet, has a primary influence on bioactive compound content in egg yolk oil. The egg yolk oil was extracted from eggs obtained from 4 different hen housing systems: cage, barn and two groups of free range. All hens were fed with commercially produced compound feed except one group of free range hens which get free diet – pastured hens. Extracted egg yolk oils were analyzed for fatty acids, oil soluble vitamins and β-carotene content. α-tocopherol, ergocalcipherol and polyunsaturated fatty acid content in egg yolk oil was higher from eggs obtained from all housing systems where hens were fed with commercial compound feed. β-carotene and retinol content in egg yolk oils from free range free diet eggs was significantly (p>0.05) higher that from other eggs because hens have access to green forage. Hen physical activity in free range housing systems decreases content of some bioactive compound in egg yolk oil.

    Influence of Maturation Degree of Arbutus (Arbutus unedo L.) Fruits in Spirit Composition and Quality
    The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) is a small tree or shrub from botanical Ericaceae family that grows spontaneously nearby the Mediterranean basin and produce edible red fruits. A traditional processed fruit application, in Mediterranean countries, is the production of a spirit (known as aguardente de medronho, in Portugal) obtained from the fermented fruit. The main objective of our study was to contribute to the knowledge about the influence of the degree of maturation of fruits in the volatile composition and quality of arbutus spirit. The major volatiles in the three distillates fractions (head, heart and tail) obtained from fermentation of two different fruit maturation levels were quantified by GC-FID analysis and ANOVA one-way was performed. Additionally, the total antioxidant capacity and total phenolic compounds of both arbutus fruit spirits were determined, by ABTS and Folin-Ciocalteau method, respectively. The methanol concentration is higher (1022.39 g/hL a.a.) in the spirit made from fruits with highest total soluble solids, which is a value above the legal limit (1000 g/hL a.a.). Overall, our study emphasizes, for the first time, the influence of maturation degree of arbutus fruits in the spirit volatile composition and quality.
    Effect of Silver Nanoparticles on Seed Germination of Crop Plants
    The use of engineered nanomaterials has increased as a result of their positive impact on many sectors of the economy, including agriculture. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are now used to enhance seed germination, plant growth, and photosynthetic quantum efficiency and as antimicrobial agents to control plant diseases. In this study, we examined the effect of AgNP dosage on the seed germination of three plant species: corn (Zea mays L.), watermelon (Citrullus lanatus [Thunb.] Matsum. & Nakai) and zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L.). This experiment was designed to study the effect of AgNPs on germination percentage, germination rate, mean germination time, root length and fresh and dry weight of seedlings for the three species. Seven concentrations (0.05, 0.1, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5 mg/ml) of AgNPs were examined at the seed germination stage. The three species had different dose responses to AgNPs in terms of germination parameters and the measured growth characteristics. The germination rates of the three plants were enhanced in response to AgNPs. Significant enhancement of the germination percentage values was observed after treatment of the watermelon and zucchini plants with AgNPs in comparison with untreated seeds. AgNPs showed a toxic effect on corn root elongation, whereas watermelon and zucchini seedling growth were positively affected by certain concentrations of AgNPs. This study showed that exposure to AgNPs caused both positive and negative effects on plant growth and germination.
    Synchrotron X-Ray Based Investigation of As and Fe Bonding Environment in Collard Green Tissue Samples at Different Growth Stages
    The arsenic and iron environments in different growth stages have been studied with EXAFS and XANES using Brookhaven Synchrotron Light Source. Collard Greens plants were grown and tissue samples were harvested. The project studied the EXAFS and XANES of tissue samples using As and Fe K-edges. The Fe absorption and the Fourier transform bond length information were used as a control comparison. The Fourier transform of the XAFS data revealed the coexistence of As (III) and As (V) in the As bonding environment inside the studied plant tissue samples, although the soil only had As (III). The data suggests that Collard Greens has a novel pathway to handle arsenic absorption in soil.
    Synchrotron X-ray Based Investigation of Fe Environment in Porous Anode of Shewanella oneidensis Microbial Fuel Cell
    The iron environment in Fe-doped Vycor Anode was investigated with EXAFS using Brookhaven Synchrotron Light Source. The iron-reducing Shewanella oneidensis culture was grown in a microbial fuel cell under anaerobic respiration. The Fe bond length was found to decrease and correlate with the amount of biofilm growth on the Fe-doped Vycor Anode. The data suggests that Fe-doped Vycor Anode would be a good substrate to study the Shewanella oneidensis nanowire structure using EXAFS.
    Potential of Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) for Phytoremedation of Soils Contaminated with Heavy Metals
    A field study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of safflower plant for phytoremediation of contaminated soils. The experiment was performed on an agricultural fields contaminated by the Non-Ferrous-Metal Works near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Field experiments with randomized complete block design with five treatments (control, compost amendments added at 20 and 40 t/daa, and vermicompost amendments added at 20 and 40 t/daa) were carried out. The quality of safflower seeds and oil (heavy metals and fatty acid composition) were determined. Tested organic amendments significantly influenced the chemical composition of safflower seeds and oil. The compost and vermicompost treatments significantly reduced heavy metals concentration in safflower seeds and oils, but the effect differed among them. Addition of vermicompost and compost leads to an increase in the content of palmitic acid and linoleic acid, and a decrease in the stearic and oleic acids compared with the control. A significant increase in the quantity of saturated acids was observed in the variants with 20 t/daa of compost and 20 t/daa of vermicompost (9.1 and 8.9% relative to the control). Safflower is a plant which is tolerant to heavy metals and can be successfully used in the phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soils. The processing of seeds to oil and using the obtained oil for nutritional purposes will greatly reduce the cost of phytoremediation.
    Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Angiography in Rats with Gadobenate Dimeglumine at 3T
    This study aimed to investigate the magnetic resonance (MR) signal enhancement ratio (ER) of contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CE-MRA) in normal rats with gadobenate dimeglumine (Gd-BOPTA) using a clinical 3T scanner and an extremity coil. The relaxivities of Gd-BOPTA with saline only and with 4.5% human serum albumin (HSA) were also measured. Compared with Gadolinium diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA), Gd-BOPTA had higher relaxivities. The maximum ER of aorta (ERa), kidney, liver and muscle with Gd-BOPTA were higher than those with Gd-DTPA. The maximum ERa appeared at 1.2 min and decayed to half at 10 min after Gd-BOPTA injection. This information is helpful for the design of CE-MRA study of rats.
    Role of Selenite and Selenate Uptake by Maize Plants in Chlorophyll A and B Content
    Extracting and determining chlorophyll pigments (chlorophyll a and b) in green leaves are the procedures based on the solvent extraction of pigments in samples using N,Ndimethylformamide as the extractant. In this study, two species of soluble inorganic selenium forms, selenite (SeIV) and selenate (SeVI) at different concentrations were investigated on maize plants that were growing in nutrient solutions during 2 weeks and at the end of the experiment, amounts of chlorophyll a and b for first and second leaves of maize were measured. In accordance with the results we observed that our regarded Se concentrations in both forms of SeIV and SeVI were not effective on maize plants’ chlorophyll a and b significantly although high level of 3 mg.kg-1 SeIV had negative affect on growth of the samples that had been treated by it but about SeVI samples we did not observe this state and our different considered SeVI concentrations were not toxic for maize plants.
    The Effect of Lime Stabilization on E. coli Destruction and Heavy Metal Bioavailability in Sewage Sludge for Agricultural Utilization
    The addition of lime as Ca(OH)2 to sewage sludge to destroy pathogens (Escherichia coli), was evaluated also in relation to heavy metal bioavailability. The obtained results show that the use of calcium hydroxide at the dose of 3% effectively destroyed pathogens ensuring the stability at high pH values over long period and the duration of the sewage sludge stabilization. In general, lime addition decreased the total extractability of heavy metals indicating a reduced bioavailability of these elements. This is particularly important for a safe utilization in agricultural soils to reduce the possible transfer of heavy metals to the food chain.
    Preservation of Coconut Toddy Sediments as a Leavening Agent for Bakery Products
    Toddy sediment (TS) was cultured in a PDA medium to determine initial yeast load, and also it was undergone sun, shade, solar, dehumidified cold air (DCA) and hot air oven (at 400, 500 and 60oC) drying with a view to preserve viability of yeast. Thereafter, this study was conducted according to two factor factorial design in order to determine best preservation method. Therein the dried TS from the best drying method was taken and divided into two portions. One portion was mixed with 3: 7 ratio of TS: rice flour and the mixture was divided in to two again. While one portion was kept under in house condition the other was in a refrigerator. Same procedure was followed to the rest portion of TS too but it was at the same ratio of corn flour. All treatments were vacuum packed in triple laminate pouches and the best preservation method was determined in terms of leavening index (LI). The TS obtained from the best preservation method was used to make foods (bread and hopper) and organoleptic properties of it were evaluated against same of ordinary foods using sensory panel with a five point hedonic scale. Results revealed that yeast load or fresh TS was 58×106 CFU/g. The best drying method in preserving viability of yeast was DCA because LI of this treatment (96%) is higher than that of other three treatments. Organoleptic properties of foods prepared from best preservation method are as same as ordinary foods according to Duo trio test.
    Bioinformatics and Molecular Biological Characterization of a Hypothetical Protein SAV1226 as a Potential Drug Target for Methicillin/Vancomycin- Staphylococcus aureus Infections
    Methicillin/multiple-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are infectious bacteria that are resistant to common antibiotics. A previous in silico study in our group has identified a hypothetical protein SAV1226 as one of the potential drug targets. In this study, we reported the bioinformatics characterization, as well as cloning, expression, purification and kinetic assays of hypothetical protein SAV1226 from methicillin/vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Mu50 strain. MALDI-TOF/MS analysis revealed a low degree of structural similarity with known proteins. Kinetic assays demonstrated that hypothetical protein SAV1226 is neither a domain of an ATP dependent dihydroxyacetone kinase nor of a phosphotransferase system (PTS) dihydroxyacetone kinase, suggesting that the function of hypothetical protein SAV1226 might be misannotated on public databases such as UniProt and InterProScan 5.
    Achieving Sustainable Agriculture with Treated Municipal Wastewater
    A pilot field study was conducted at the Jagjeetpur Municipal Sewage treatment plant situated in the Haridwar town in Uttarakhand state, India. The objectives of the present study were to study the effect of treated wastewater on the production of various paddy varieties (Sharbati, PR-114, PB-1, Menaka, PB1121 and PB 1509) and the emission of GHG gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O) as compared to the same varieties grown in the control plots irrigated with fresh water. Of late, the concept of water footprint assessment has emerged, which explains enumeration of various types of water footprints of an agricultural entity from its production to processing stages. Paddy, the most water demanding staple crop of Uttarakhand state, displayed a high green water footprint value of 2474.12 m3/ Ton. Most of the wastewater irrigated varieties displayed up to 6% increase in production, except Menaka and PB-1121, which showed a reduction in production (6% and 3% respectively), due to pest and insect infestation. The treated wastewater was observed to be rich in Nitrogen (55.94 mg/ml Nitrate), Phosphorus (54.24 mg/ml) and Potassium (9.78 mg/ml), thus rejuvenating the soil quality and not requiring any external nutritional supplements. A Percentage increase of GHG gases of irrigation with treated municipal wastewater as compared to control plots was observed as 0.4% - 8.6% (CH4), 1.1% - 9.2% (CO2), and 0.07% - 5.8% (N2O). The variety, Sharbati, displayed maximum production (5.5 ton/ha) and emerged as the most resistant variety against pests and insects. The emission values of CH4, CO2 and N2O were 729.31 mg/m2/d, 322.10 mg/m2/d and 400.21 mg/m2/d in water stagnant condition. This study highlighted a successful possibility of reuse of wastewater for non-potable purposes offering the potential for exploiting this resource that can replace or reduce the existing use of fresh water sources in agriculture sector.
    Physical Habitat Simulation and Comparison within a Lerma River Reach, with Respect to the Same but Modified Reach, to Create a Linear Park
    In this work, the Ictalurus punctatus species estimated available physical habitat is compared with the estimated physical habitat for the same but modified river reach, with the aim of creating a linear park, along a length of 5 500 m. To determine the effect of ecological park construction, on physical habitat of the Lerma river stretch of study, first, the available habitat for the Ictalurus punctatus species was estimated through the simulation of the physical habitat, by using surveying, hydraulics, and habitat information gotten at the river reach in its actual situation. Second, it was estimated the available habitat for the above species, upon the simulation of the physical habitat through the proposed modification for the ecological park creation. Third, it is presented a comparison between both scenarios in terms of available habitat estimated for Ictalurus punctatus species, concluding that in cases of adult and spawning life stages, changes in the channel to create an ecological park would produce a considerable loss of potentially usable habitat (PUH), while in the case of the juvenile life stage PUH remains virtually unchanged, and in the case of life stage fry the PUH would increase due to the presence of velocities and depths of lesser magnitude, due to the presence of minor flow rates and lower volume of the wet channel. It is expected that habitat modification for linear park construction may produce the lack of Ictalurus punktatus species conservation at the river reach of the study.
    Off-Line Detection of “Pannon Wheat” Milling Fractions by Near-Infrared Spectroscopic Methods
    The aim of this investigation is to elaborate nearinfrared methods for testing and recognition of chemical components and quality in “Pannon wheat” allied (i.e. true to variety or variety identified) milling fractions as well as to develop spectroscopic methods following the milling processes and evaluate the stability of the milling technology by different types of milling products and according to sampling times, respectively. These wheat categories produced under industrial conditions where samples were collected versus sampling time and maximum or minimum yields. The changes of the main chemical components (such as starch, protein, lipid) and physical properties of fractions (particle size) were analysed by dispersive spectrophotometers using visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) regions of the electromagnetic radiation. Close correlation were obtained between the data of spectroscopic measurement techniques processed by various chemometric methods (e.g. principal component analysis [PCA], cluster analysis [CA]) and operation condition of milling technology. It is obvious that NIR methods are able to detect the deviation of the yield parameters and differences of the sampling times by a wide variety of fractions, respectively. NIR technology can be used in the sensitive monitoring of milling technology.
    Histopathological Changes in Liver and Muscle of Tilapia Fish from QIRE Exposed to Concentrations of Heavy Metals
    Toxicity of copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and iron (Fe) to Tilapia guinensis was carried out for 4 days with a view to determining their effects on the liver and muscle tissues. Tilapia guinensis samples of about 10 - 14cm length and 0.2 – 0.4kg weight each were obtained from University of Calabar fish ponds and acclimated for three (3) days before the experimental set up. Survivors after the 96-hr LC50 test period were selected from test solutions of the heavy metals for the histopathological studies. Histological preparations of liver and muscle tissues were randomly examined for histopathological lesions. Results of the histological examinations showed gross abnormalities in the liver tissues due to pathological and degenerative changes compared to liver and muscle tissues from control samples (tilapia fishes from aquaria without heavy metals). Extensive hepatocyte necrosis with chronic inflammatory changes was observed in the liver of fishes exposed to Cu solution. Similar but less damaging effects were observed in the liver of fishes exposed to Pb and Fe. The extent of lesion observed was therefore heavy metal-related. However, no pathologic changes occurred in the muscle tissues.
    Hemocompatible Thin-Film Materials Recreating the Structure of the Cell Niches with High Potential for Endothelialization
    The future and the development of science is therefore seen in interdisciplinary areas such as biomedical engineering. Selfassembled structures, similar to stem cell niches would inhibit fast division process and subsequently capture the stem cells from the blood flow. By means of surface topography and the stiffness as well as microstructure progenitor cells should be differentiated towards the formation of endothelial cells monolayer which effectively will inhibit activation of the coagulation cascade. The idea of the material surface development met the interest of the clinical institutions, which support the development of science in this area and are waiting for scientific solutions that could contribute to the development of heart assist systems. This would improve the efficiency of the treatment of patients with myocardial failure, supported with artificial heart assist systems. Innovative materials would enable the redesign, in the post project activity, construction of ventricular heart assist.
    Assessment of Diagnostic Enzymes as Indices of Heavy Metal Pollution in Tilapia Fish
    Diagnostic enzymes like aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) were determined as indices of heavy metal pollution in Tilapia guinensis. Three different sets of fishes treated with lead (Pb), iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) were used for the study while a fourth group with no heavy metal served as a control. Fishes in each of the groups were exposed to 2.65mg/l of Pb, 0.85mg/l of Fe and 0.35 mg/l of Cu in aerated aquaria for 96 hours. Tissue fractionation of the liver tissues was carried out and the three diagnostic enzymes (AST, ALT, and ALP) were estimated. Serum levels of the same diagnostic enzymes were also measured. The mean values of the serum enzyme activity for ALP in each experimental group were 19.5±1.62, 29.67±2.17 and 1.15±0.27 IU/L for Pb, Fe and Cu groups compared with 9.99±1.34 IU/L enzyme activity in the control. This result showed that Pb and Fe caused increased release of the enzyme into the blood circulation indicating increased tissue damage while Cu caused a reduction in the serum level as compared with the level in the control group. The mean values of enzyme activity obtained in the liver were 102.14±6.12, 140.17±2.06 and 168.23±3.52 IU/L for Pb, Fe and Cu groups, respectively compared to 91.20±9.42 IU/L enzyme activity for the control group. The serum and liver AST and ALT activities obtained in Pb, Fe, Cu and control groups are reported. It was generally noted that the presence of the heavy metal caused liver tissues damage and consequent increased level of the diagnostic enzymes in the serum.
    Extraction of Bran Protein Using Enzymes and Polysaccharide Precipitation
    Rice bran is normally used as a raw material for rice bran oil production or sold as feed with a low price. Conventionally, the protein in defatted rice bran was extracted using alkaline extraction and acid precipitation, which involves in chemical usage and lowering some nutritious component. This study was conducted in order to extract of rice bran protein concentrate (RBPC) from defatted rice bran using enzymes and employing polysaccharides in a precipitating step. The properties of RBPC obtained will be compared to those of a control sample extracted using a conventional method. The results showed that extraction of protein from rice bran using enzymes exhibited the higher protein recovery compared to that extraction with alkaline. The extraction conditions using alcalase 2% (v/w) at 50 C, pH 9.5 gave the highest protein (2.44%) and yield (32.09%) in extracted solution compared to other enzymes. Rice bran protein concentrate powder prepared by a precipitation step using alginate (protein in solution: alginate 1:0.016) exhibited the highest protein (27.55%) and yield (6.84%). Precipitation using alginate was better than that of acid. RBPC extracted with alkaline (ALK) or enzyme alcalase (ALC), then precipitated with alginate (AL) (samples RBP-ALK-AL and RBP-ALC-AL) yielded the precipitation rate of 75% and 91.30%, respectively. Therefore, protein precipitation using alginate was then selected. Amino acid profile of control sample, and sample precipitated with alginate, as compared to casein and soy protein isolated, showed that control sample showed the highest content among all sample. Functional property study of RBP showed that the highest nitrogen solubility occurred in pH 8-10. There was no statically significant between emulsion capacity and emulsion stability of control and sample precipitated by alginate. However, control sample showed a higher of foaming capacity and foaming stability compared to those of sample precipitated with alginate. The finding was successful in terms of minimizing chemicals used in extraction and precipitation steps in preparation of rice bran protein concentrate. This research involves in a production of value-added product in which the double amount of protein (28%) compared to original amount (14%) contained in rice bran could be beneficial in terms of adding to food products e.g. healthy drink with high protein and fiber. In addition, the basic knowledge of functional property of rice bran protein concentrate was obtained, which can be used to appropriately select the application of this value-added product from rice bran.
    Breeding Biology and Induced Breeding Status of Freshwater Mud Eel, Monopterus cuchia
    In this study, breeding biology and induced breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was observed during the experimental period from February to June, 2013. Breeding biology of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was considered in terms of gonadosomatic index, length-weight relationship of gonad, ova diameter and fecundity. The ova diameter was recorded from 0.3 mm to 4.30 mm and the individual fecundity was recorded from 155 to 1495 while relative fecundity was found from 2.64 to 12.45. The fecundity related to body weight and length of fish was also discussed. A peak of GSI was observed 2.14±0.2 in male and 5.1 ±1.09 in female. Induced breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was also practiced with different doses of different inducing agents like pituitary gland (PG), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and Ovuline-a synthetic hormone in different environmental conditions. However, it was observed that the artificial breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was not yet succeeded through inducing agents in captive conditions, rather the inducing agent showed negative impacts on fecundity and ovarian tissues. It was seen that mature eggs in the oviduct were reduced, absorbed and some eggs were found in spoiled condition.
    Bacteriological Quality of Commercially Prepared Fermented Ogi (Akamu) Sold in Some Parts of South Eastern Nigeria
    Food poisoning and infection by bacteria are of public health significance to both developing and developed countries. Samples of ogi (akamu) prepared from white and yellow variety of maize sold in Uturu and Okigwe were analyzed together with the laboratory prepared ogi for bacterial quality using the standard microbiological methods. The analyses showed that both white and yellow variety had total bacterial counts (cfu/g) of 4.0 ×107 and 3.9 x 107 for the laboratory prepared ogi while the commercial ogi had 5.2 x 107 and 4.9 x107, 4.9 x107 and 4.5 x107, 5.4 x107 and 5.0 x107 for Eke-Okigwe, Up-gate and Nkwo-Achara market respectively. The Staphylococcal counts ranged from 2.0 x 102 to 5.0 x102 and 1.0 x 102 to 4.0 x102 for the white and yellow variety from the different markets while Staphylococcal growth was not recorded on the laboratory prepared ogi. The laboratory prepared ogi had no Coliform growth while the commercially prepared ogi had counts of 0.5 x103 to 1.6 x 103 for white variety and 0.3 x 103 to 1.1 x103 for yellow variety respectively. The Lactic acid bacterial count of 3.5x106 and 3.0x106 was recorded for the laboratory ogi while the commercially prepared ogi ranged from 3.2x106 to 4.2x106 (white variety) and 3.0 x106 to 3.9 x106 (yellow). The presence of bacteria isolates from the commercial and laboratory fermented ogi showed that Lactobacillus sp, Leuconostoc sp and Citrobacter sp were present in all the samples, Micrococcus sp and Klebsiella sp were isolated from Eke- Okigwe and ABSU-up-gate markets varieties respectively, E. coli and Staphylococcus sp were present in Eke-Okigwe and Nkwo- Achara markets while Salmonella sp were isolated from the three markets. Hence, there are chances of contracting food borne diseases from commercially prepared ogi. Therefore, there is the need for sanitary measures in the production of fermented cereals so as to minimize the rate of food borne pathogens during processing and storage.
    Effect of Silver Nanoparticles on Seed Germination of Crop Plants
    The use of engineered nanomaterials has increased as a result of their positive impact on many sectors of the economy, including agriculture. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are now used to enhance seed germination, plant growth, and photosynthetic quantum efficiency and as antimicrobial agents to control plant diseases. In this study, we examined the effect of AgNP dosage on the seed germination of three plant species: corn (Zea mays L.), watermelon (Citrullus lanatus [Thunb.] Matsum. & Nakai) and zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L.). This experiment was designed to study the effect of AgNPs on germination percentage, germination rate, mean germination time, root length and fresh and dry weight of seedlings for the three species. Seven concentrations (0.05, 0.1, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5 mg/ml) of AgNPs were examined at the seed germination stage. The three species had different dose responses to AgNPs in terms of germination parameters and the measured growth characteristics. The germination rates of the three plants were enhanced in response to AgNPs. Significant enhancement of the germination percentage values was observed after treatment of the watermelon and zucchini plants with AgNPs in comparison with untreated seeds. AgNPs showed a toxic effect on corn root elongation, whereas watermelon and zucchini seedling growth were positively affected by certain concentrations of AgNPs. This study showed that exposure to AgNPs caused both positive and negative effects on plant growth and germination.
    A New Method to Enhance Contrast of Electron Micrograph of Rat Tissues Sections
    This report presents an alternative technique of application of contrast agent in vivo, i.e. before sampling. By this new method the electron micrograph of tissue sections have an acceptable contrast compared to other methods and present no artifact of precipitation on sections. Another advantage is that a small amount of contrast is needed to get a good result given that most of them are expensive and extremely toxic.
    Yield Performance of Two Locally Adapted and Two Introductions of Common Cowpea in Response to Amended In-Row-Spaces and Planting Dates

    A field experiment was conducted in the Agricultural Research Station, at El-Ghoraieb, Assiut to study dry seed yield performance of two locally adapted cultivars (‘Azmerly’ and ‘Cream 7’) and two line introductions (IT81D-1032 and IT82D-812) of common cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) grown at three different within-row spaces (20, 30 and 40 cm) and two planting dates in the summer (April 15th and 30th) and in the fall season (Aug. 12th and 27th) of two successive seasons. The data showed that total dry-seed yield produced by plants grown at 20 cm was greater than at 30 cm in all cvs/lines in both years. Increases in 1000-seed weight were detected in cv ‘Azmerly’ and line IT82D-812 when they were grown at 30 cm as compared with 20 cm in the summer season. However, in the fall season such increases were found in all cvs/lines. Planting at 40 cm produced seeds of greater weight than planting at 30 cm for all cvs/lines in the fall season and also in cv. Cream 7 and line IT82D-812 in the summer season, while all cvs/lines in the fall Planting on April 15th in the summer and also planting on Aug. 12th in the fall had plants which showed increases in 1000-seed weight and total dry-seed yield. The greatest 1000-seed weight was found in the line IT81D-1032 in the summer season and in the line IT82D-812 in the fall season. The sum up results revealed that ‘Azmerly’ produced greater dry-seed yield than ‘Cream 7’ and both of them were superior to the line IT82D-812 and IT81D-1032 in the summer season. In the fall, however, the line IT82D-812 produced greater dry-seed yield than the other cultivars/lines.