Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 62262

87
78828
Determinants of E-Government Services Adoption from the African Students’ Perspective
Abstract:
The patronage of e-government services (demand side of e-government) is vital to the successful implementation of e-government initiatives. The purpose of this study is to explore the predictors determining the willingness of African students in China to adopt and use e-government services. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) will be used as the theoretical foundation for this research. Research instrument will be developed and administered to 500 African students in China. Factors such as performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, facilitating conditions and culture will be investigated to determine its significant impact on the willingness to use e-government services. This study is a research in progress. The outcome of this study will provide valuable recommendations to improve the provision of public services through e-government.
86
78811
Electronic Government Services Adoption from Multi-Nationalities Perspectives
Abstract:
Electronic government is the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by the government to improve public service delivery to citizens and businesses. The purpose of this study is to investigate factors influencing the adoption and use of e-government services from different nationalities perspectives. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) will be used as the theoretical framework for the study. A questionnaire would be developed and administered to 500 potential respondents who are students from different nationalities in China. Predictors such as perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, computer self-efficacy, trust in both the internet and government, social influence and perceived service quality would be examined with regard to their impact on the intention to use e-government services. This research is currently at the design and implementation stage. The completion of this study will provide useful insights into understanding factors impacting the decision to use e-government services from a cross and multi nationalities perspectives.
85
57587
Perceived Ease-of-Use and Intention to Use E-Government Services in Ghana: The Moderating Role of Perceived Usefulness
Abstract:
Public sector organizations, ministries, departments and local government agencies are adopting e-government as a means to provide efficient and quality service delivery to citizens. The purpose of this research paper is to examine the extent to which perceived usefulness (PU) of e-government services moderates between perceived ease-of-use (PEOU) of e-government services and intention to use (IU) e-government services in Ghana. A structured research questionnaire instrument was developed and administered to 700 potential respondents in Ghana, of which 693 responded, representing 99% of the questionnaires distributed. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was used as the theoretical framework for the study. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) was used to capture and analyze the data. The results indicate that even though predictors such as PU and PEOU are main determiners of citizens’ intention to adopt and use e-government services in Ghana, it failed to show that PEOU and IU e-government services in Ghana is significantly moderated by the PU of e-government services. The implication of this finding on theory and practice is further discussed.
84
46865
Citizens’ Readiness to Adopt and Use Electronic Voting System in Ghana
Abstract:
The adoption and application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in government administration through e-government is expected to permeate all sectors of state/ public institutions as well as democratic institutions. One of such public institutions is the Electoral Commission of Ghana mandated by the 1992 Constitution to hold all public elections including presidential and parliamentary elections. As Ghana holds its 7th General Elections since 1992, on 7th November 2016, there are demands from key stakeholders for the Election Management Body, which is the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to adopt and implement an electronic voting system. This case study, therefore, attempts to contribute significantly to the debate by examining influencing factors that would impact on citizen’s readiness to adopt and use an electronic voting system in Ghana. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was used as a theoretical framework for this study, out of which a research model and hypotheses were developed. Importantly, the outcome of this research finding would form a basis for appropriate policy recommendation for consideration of Government and EC of Ghana.
83
51045
E-Government, China Internet Plus, and the One Belt One Road Initiative: The Africa Connection
Abstract:
The lack of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure in African countries is hampering the successful adoption, development and implementation of e-government in Africa. Electronic government is the use of ICTs to modernize government public administration processes and to provide government services to citizens with a purpose to enhance efficiency, accountability, and transparency in government’s interaction with the citizenry. ICT application in public administration has the potential to modernize and create smarter government and improvement in public service delivery. China’s Internet Plus policy and One Belt One Road strategy present a golden opportunity for countries in Africa to attract the huge financial investment through Chinese IT companies to develop and close Africa’s ICT infrastructure gap. This study recommends the establishment of One Belt One Road ICT Infrastructure Fund for Africa (OBOR ICT Fund for Africa) to enable countries in Africa to source solely for the purpose of ICT infrastructure development in the public sector/government machinery which would in turn promote the adoption and development of e-government in the public sectors of respective countries in Africa.
82
79365
Factors Influencing the Continuance Usage of Online Mobile Payment Apps: A Case Study of WECHAT Users in China
Abstract:
This research paper seeks to investigate the factors determining the continuance usage of online mobile payment applications among WECHAT users in China. Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory would both be applied as the theoretical foundation for this study. A developed instrument would be administered to the targeted sample of 1000 WECHAT Users in the City of Harbin, China, through an online questionnaire administration platform. Factors such as perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived service quality, social influence, trust in the internet, internet self-efficacy, relative advantage, compatibility, and complexity would be explored to determine its significant impact on the continuance intention to use mobile payment apps. This study is at the development and implementation stage. The successful completion of this research article would not only provide an insightful understanding of the factors influencing the decision of WECHAT users in China to use mobile payment applications but also enrich the e-commerce adoption literature.
81
48584
Electronic Government around the World: Key Information and Communication Technology Indicators
Abstract:
Governments around the world are adopting Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) because of the important opportunities it provides through E-government (EG) to modernize government public administration processes and delivery of quality and efficient public services. Almost every country in the world is adopting ICT in its public sector administration (EG) to modernize and change the traditional process of government, increase citizen engagement and participation in governance, as well as the provision of timely information to citizens. This paper, therefore, seeks to present the adoption, development and implementation of EG in regions globally, as well as the ICT indicators around the world, which are making EG initiatives successful. Europe leads the world in its EG adoption and development index, followed by the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa. There is a gradual growth in ICT indicators in terms of the increase in Internet access and usage, increase in broadband penetration, an increase of individuals using the Internet at home and a decline in fixed telephone use, while the mobile cellular phone has been on the increase year-on-year. Though the lack of ICT infrastructure is a major challenge to EG adoption and implementation around the world, in Africa it is very pervasive, hampering the expansion of Internet access and provision of broadband, and hence is a barrier to the successful adoption, development, and implementation of EG initiatives in countries on the continent. But with the general improvement and increase in ICT indicators around the world, it provides countries in Europe, Americas, Asia, Arab States, Oceania and Africa with the huge opportunity to enhance public service delivery through the adoption of EG. Countries within these regions cannot fail their citizens who desire to enjoy an enhanced and efficient public service delivery from government and its many state institutions.
80
69348
Adoption and Use of an Electronic Voting System in Ghana
Abstract:
The manual system of voting has been the most widely used system of electing representatives around the globe, particularly in Africa. Due to the known numerous problems and challenges associated with the manual system of voting, many countries are migrating to the electronic voting system as a suitable and credible means of electing representatives over the manual paper-based system. This research paper therefore investigated the factors influencing adoption and use of an electronic voting system in Ghana. A total of 400 Questionnaire Instruments (QI) were administered to potential respondents in Ghana, of which 387 responded representing a response rate of 96.75%. The Technology Acceptance Model was used as the theoretical framework for the study. The research model was tested using a simple linear regression analysis with SPSS. A little of over 71.1% of the respondents recommended the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to adopt an electronic voting system in the conduct of public elections in Ghana. The results indicated that all the six predictors such as perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEOU), perceived free and fair elections (PFFF), perceived credible elections (PCE), perceived system integrity (PSI) and citizens trust in the election management body (CTEM) were all positively significant in predicting the readiness of citizens to adopt and use an electronic voting system in Ghana. However, jointly, the hypotheses tested revealed that apart from Perceived Free and Fair Elections and Perceived Credible and Transparent Elections, all the other factors such as PU, Perceived System Integrity and Security and Citizen Trust in the Election Management Body were found to be significant predictors of the Willingness of Ghanaians to use an electronic voting system. All the six factors considered in this study jointly account for about 53.1% of the reasons determining the readiness to adopt and use an electronic voting system in Ghana. The implications of this research finding on elections in Ghana are discussed.
79
35187
Overview of E-government Adoption and Implementation in Ghana
Abstract:
E-government has been adopted and used by many governments/countries around the world including Ghana to provide citizens and businesses with more accurate, real-time, and high quality services and information. The objective of this paper is to present an overview of the Government of Ghana’s (GoG) adoption and implement of e-government and its usage by the Ministries, Departments and its agencies (MDAs) as well as other public sector institutions to deliver efficient public service to the general public i.e. citizens, business etc. Government implementation of e-government focused on facilitating effective delivery of government service to the public and ultimately to provide efficient government-wide electronic means of sharing information and knowledge through a network infrastructure developed to connect all major towns and cities, Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other public sector organizations in Ghana. One aim for the Government of Ghana use of ICT in public administration is to improve productivity in government administration and service by facilitating the exchange of information to enable better interaction and coordination of work among MDAs, citizens and private businesses. The study was prepared using secondary sources of data from government policy documents, national and international published reports, journal articles, and web sources. This study indicates that through the e-government initiative, currently citizens and businesses can access and pay for services such as renewal of driving license, business registration, payment of taxes, acquisition of marriage and birth certificates as well as application for passport through the GoG electronic service (eservice) and electronic payment (epay) portal. Further, this study shows that there is an enormous commitment from GoG to adopt and implement e-government as a tool not only to transform the business of government but also to bring efficiency in public services delivered by the MDAs. To ascertain this, a further study need to be carried out to determine if the use of e-government has brought about the anticipated improvements and efficiency in service delivery of MDAs and other state institutions in Ghana.
78
69837
Sustainable Water Resource Management and Challenges in Indian Agriculture
Abstract:
India, having a vast cultivable area and regional climatic variability, encounters water Resource Management Problems at various levels. The agricultural production of India needs to be increased to meet out projected population growth. Sustainable water resource is the only option to ensure food security, especially in northern Indian states, where the ground and surface water resources are fast depleting. Various tools and technologies available for management of scarce water resources have been discussed. It was concluded that multiple use of water, adopting latest water management options, identification of climate adoptable cropping and farming systems, can enhance water productivity and would encounter the fast growing water management and water shortage problems in Indian agriculture.
77
90271
Road Maintenance Management Decision System Using Multi-Criteria and Geographical Information System for Takoradi Roads, Ghana
Abstract:
The road maintenance backlogs created as a result of deferred maintenance especially in developing countries has caused considerable deterioration of many road assets. This is usually due to difficulties encountered in selecting and prioritising maintainable roads based on objective criteria rather than some political or other less important criteria. In order to ensure judicious use of limited resources for road maintenance, five factors were identified as the most important criteria for road management within the study area. This was based on the judgements of 40 experts. The results were further used to develop weightings using the Multi-Criteria Decision Process (MCDP) to analyse and select road alternatives according to maintenance goal. Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), maintainable roads were grouped using the Jenk’s natural breaks to allow for further prioritised in order of importance for display on a dashboard of maps, charts, and tables. This reduces the problems of subjective maintenance and road selections, thereby reducing wastage of resources and easing the maintenance process through an object organised spatial decision support system.
76
58743
Vulnerability of Indian Agriculture to Climate Change: A Study of the Himalayan Region State
Abstract:
Climate variability and changes are the emerging challenges for Indian agriculture with the growing population to ensure national food security. A study was conducted to assess the Climatic Change effects in medium to low altitude areas of the Himalayan region causing changes in land use and cereal crop productivity with the various climatic parameters. The rainfall and temperature changes from 1951 to 2013 were studied at four locations of varying altitudes, namely Hardwar, Rudra Prayag, Uttar Kashi and Tehri Garwal. It was observed that there is noticeable increment in temperature on all the four locations. It was surprisingly observed that the mean rainfall intensity of 30 minutes duration has increased at the rate of 0.1 mm/hours since 2000. The study shows that the combined effect of increasing temperature, rainfall, runoff and urbanization at the mid-Himalayan region is causing an increase in various climatic disasters and changes in agriculture patterns. A noticeable change in cropping patterns, crop productivity and land use change was observed. Appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies are necessary to ensure that sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture. Appropriate information is necessary for farmers, as well as planners and decision makers for developing, disseminating and adopting climate-smart technologies.
75
49175
Using Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors in Population Growth and Stability Obtaining
Abstract:
The Knowledge of the population growth of a nation is paramount to national planning. The population of a place is studied and a model developed over a period of time, Matrices is used to form model for population growth. The eigenvalue ƛ of the matrix A and its corresponding eigenvector X is such that AX = ƛX is calculated. The stable age distribution of the population is obtained using the eigenvalue and the characteristic polynomial. Hence, estimation could be made using eigenvalues and eigenvectors.
74
84700
Association between Dental Caries and Asthma among 12-15 Years Old School Children Studying in Karachi, Pakistan: A Cross Sectional Study
Abstract:
Background: Dental caries affects the overall health and well-being of children. Findings from various international studies regarding the association of dental caries with asthma are inconsistent. With the increasing burden of caries and childhood asthma, it becomes imperative for an underdeveloped country like Pakistan where resources are limited to identify whether there is a relationship between the two. This study aims to identify an association between dental caries and asthma. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 544 children aged 12-15 years recruited from five private schools in Karachi. Information on asthma was collected through the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire. The questionnaire addressed questions regarding child’s demographics, physician diagnoses of asthma, type of medication administered, family history of asthma and allergies, dietary habits and oral hygiene behavior. Dental caries was assessed using DMFT Index (Decayed, Missing, Filled teeth) index The data was analyzed using Cox proportional Hazard algorithm and crude and adjusted prevalence ratios with 95% CI were reported. Results: This study comprises of 306 (56.3%) boys and 238 (43.8%) girls. The mean age of children was 13.2 ± (0.05) years. The total number of children with carious teeth (DMFT > 0) were 166/544 (30.5%), and the decayed component contributed largely (22.8%) to the DMFT score. The prevalence of physician’s diagnosed asthma was 13%. This study identified almost 7% asthmatic children using the internationally validated International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) tool and 8 children with childhood asthma were identified by parent interviews. Overall prevalence of asthma was 109/544 (20%). The prevalence of caries in asthmatic children was 28.4% as compared to 31% among non-asthmatic children. The adjusted prevalence ratio of dental caries in asthmatic children was 0.8 (95% CI 0.59-1.29). After adjusting for carious food intake, age, oral hygiene index and dentist visit, the association between asthma and dental caries turned out to be non-significant. Conclusion: There was no association between asthma and dental caries among children who participated in this study.
73
53904
A GIS Based Composite Land Degradation Assessment and Mapping of Tarkwa Mining Area
Abstract:
The clearing of vegetation in the Tarkwa Mining Area (TMA) for the purposes of mining, lumbering and development of settlement for the increasing population has caused a large scale denudation of the forest cover and erosion of the top soil thereby degrading the agriculture land. It is, therefore, essential to know the current status of land degradation in TMA so as to facilitate land conservation policy-making. The types of degradation, the extents of the degradations and their various degrees were combined to develop a composite land degradation index to assess the current status of land degradation in TMA using GIS based techniques. The assessment revealed that the most significant types of degradation in TMA were open pit and quarry mining; urbanisation and other construction projects; and surface scraping during land clearing. It was found that 21.62 % of the total area of TMA (353.07 km2) had high degradation index rating. It is recommended that decision makers use this assessment as a reference point for future initiatives that will be taken in order to develop land conservation policy.
72
16117
Measurements of Chitin by Ochratoxigenic Fungi and Its Relationship to Ochratoxin a Production
Abstract:
Production of OTA was detected after 24hr by Aspergillus ochraceus isolate whereas at 36hr for A. carbonarius isolate and Penicillium verrucosum IMI 285522 and 60hr for A. ochraceus CBS 588.68. Highest OTA level was produced by A. carbonarius isolate followed by A. ochraceus CBS 588.68, Penicillium verrucosum IMI 285522 and finally A. ochraceus isolate. Glucosamine content of barley sample before fermentation was found to be negligible and remained almost constant during the incubation time. Glucosamine content started to increase at 12 hours after incubation with A. ochraceus isolate, A. carbonarius isolate and A. ochraceus CBS 588.68, and after 12 hours with P. verrucosum IMI 285522. Highest glucosamine content, as a result of increase in fungal biomass, was produced by A. ochraceus CBS 588.68 followed by A. ochraceus isolate, A. carbonarius isolate, and finally by P. verrucosum IMI 285522. It appears that there is a correlation between OTA synthesis and glucosamine content with A. ochraceus isolate, A. carbonarius isolate and A. ochraceus CBS 588.68 but not with P. verrucosum IMI 285522.
71
29072
Journey to the East: The Story of Ghanaian Migrants in Guangzhou, China
Abstract:
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, nationals of sub-Saharan Africa who had initially settled in the Middle East and other parts of south east Asia moved to Guangzhou in response to the 1997/8 Asian financial crisis in numbers never witnessed. They were later joined by many more as the Chinese economy improved and as the economic relationship between China and Africa improved. This paper tells the story of identifiable sets of Ghanaians in Guangzhou, China in the 21st century. It details out their respective characteristics and their activities in China, their migratory trajectories and the motivations for travelling to China. Also analyzed is how they are coping with life in the unknown destination. It finally attempt predicting the future of the Ghanaian community in China in terms of their level of community participation and integration.
70
33991
The Relationship between Organizations' Acquired Skills, Knowledge, Abilities and Shareholders (SKAS) Wealth Maximization: The Mediating Role of Training Investment
Abstract:
The study looked at the relationship between organizations’ acquired knowledge, skills, abilities, and shareholders wealth with training playing the mediating role. The sample of the study consisted of organizations that spent 10% or more of its annual budget on training and those whose training budget is less than 10% of the organization’s annual budget. A total of 620 questionnaires were distributed to employees working in various organizations out of which 580 representing 93.5% were retrieved. The respondents that constitute the sample were drawn using convenience sampling. The researchers used regression models for their analyses with the help of SPSS 16.0. Analyzing multiple models, it was discovered that organizations training investment plays a considerable indirect and direct effect with partial mediation between organizations acquired skills, knowledge, abilities, and shareholders wealth. Shareholders should allow their agents to invest part of their holdings to develop the human capital of the organization but this should be done with caution since shareholders returns do not depend much on how much organizations spend in developing its human resource capital.
69
69621
Application of Molecular Markers for Crop Improvement
Authors:
Abstract:
Use of molecular markers for selecting plants with desired traits has been started long back. Due to their heritable characteristics, they are useful for identification and characterization of specific genotypes. The study involves various types of molecular markers used to select multiple desired characters in plants, their properties, and advantages to improve crop productivity in adverse climatological conditions for the purpose of providing food security to fast-growing global population. The study shows that genetic similarities obtained from molecular markers provide more accurate information and the genetic diversity can be better estimated from the genetic relationship obtained from the dendrogram. The information obtained from markers assisted characterization is more suitable for the crops of economic importance like sugarcane.
68
113510
Kinetic Parameter Estimation from Thermogravimetry and Microscale Combustion Calorimetry
Abstract:
Flammability analysis of extruded polystyrene (XPS) has become crucial due to its utilization as an insulation material for energy-efficient buildings. Using the Kissinger-Akahira-Sunose and Flynn-Wall-Ozawa methods, the degradation kinetics of two pure XPS from the local market, red and grey ones, were obtained from the results of thermogravimetry analysis (TG) and microscale combustion calorimetry (MCC) experiments performed under the same heating rates. From the experiments, it was discovered that red XPS released more heat than grey XPS and both materials showed two mass loss stages. Consequently, the kinetic parameters for red XPS were higher than the grey XPS. A comparative evaluation of activation energies from MCC and TG showed an insignificant degree of deviation, signifying equivalent apparent activation energy from both methods. However, different activation energy profiles as a result of the different chemical pathways were presented when the dependencies of the activation energies on the extent of conversion for TG and MCC were compared.
67
6522
Kiira EV Project Transition from Student to Professional Team through Project-Based Skills Development
Abstract:
The world of academia tends to be a very insular place. Consequently, scholars who successfully completed their undergraduate and graduate studies are unpleasantly surprised at how challenging the transition to corporate life can get. This is a global trend even as the students who juggle work with attending some of the most demanding and best graduate programs may not easily adjust to and confirm to the professionalism required for corporate management of the industry. This paper explores the trends in the transition of Kiira EV Project from a predominantly student team to a professional team of a national pride program through mentorship and apprenticeship. The core disciplines within the Kiira EV Project include Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Design.
66
28771
An Adjusted Network Information Criterion for Model Selection in Statistical Neural Network Models
Abstract:
In selecting a Statistical Neural Network model, the Network Information Criterion (NIC) has been observed to be sample biased, because it does not account for sample sizes. The selection of a model from a set of fitted candidate models requires objective data-driven criteria. In this paper, we derived and investigated the Adjusted Network Information Criterion (ANIC), based on Kullback’s symmetric divergence, which has been designed to be an asymptotically unbiased estimator of the expected Kullback-Leibler information of a fitted model. The analyses show that on a general note, the ANIC improves model selection in more sample sizes than does the NIC.
65
4930
Evaluation of Fuel Properties of Six Tropical Hardwood Timber Species for Briquettes
Abstract:
The fuel potential of six tropical hardwood species namely: Triplochiton scleroxylon, Ceiba pentandra, Aningeria robusta, Terminalia superba, Celtis mildbreadii and Piptadenia africana were studied. Properties studied include the species density, gross calorific value, volatile matter, ash, organic carbon, N, H, S, Cu, Pb, As and Cd content. Fuel properties were determined using standard laboratory methods. The result indicates that the Gross Calorific Value (GCV) of the species ranged from 20.16 to 22.22 MJ/kg and they slightly varied from each other. Additionally, the GCV of the biomass materials were higher than that of other biomass materials like; wheat straw, rice straw, maize straw and sugar cane. The ash and volatile matter content varied from 0.6075 to 5.0407%, and 75.23% to 83.70% respectively. The overall rating of the properties of the six biomass materials suggest that Piptadenia africana has the best fuel property to be used as briquettes and Aningeria robusta the worse. This study therefore suggests that a holistic assessment of a biomass material needs to be done before selecting it for fuel purpose.
64
118318
Analysis of Football Fans Perception of the Video Assistant Referee System
Abstract:
Football has gone through a series of technological reforms targeted at improving the game for its audience. Yet, promote sanity of the game led to the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) to ‘check’ or ‘review’ an incident to clarify incidents and communicate the outcome to the referee and the fans. This is to reduce controversies regarding incidents on the pitch of play. In this study, we seek to survey the views of football fans to understand their perception of the video assistant referee, whether it has brought sanity or reduce the uncertainty regarding the decisions after reviews. The exploratory study focuses on 420 fans arbitrarily sampled on the university campuses to answer questionnaires based on the introduction of the video assistant referee. Results show that the VAR has interrupted the flow of the game, dropping passion, increased controversies including decisions from the referees’ call room leading to ensuing fans conflict, especially when it is against their team and vice versa. The study concludes by addressing some of their concerns as the VAR has come to minimise perceptions of incidents and engender fairness for teams.
63
55106
Comparative International Law and Feminist Legal Studies, Uniting to Make a Difference in Addressing the Disempowerment of Women
Authors:
Abstract:
In thinking about the role of the law and its impact on socially constructed norms and identities, scholars have come to explore a multitude of issues to do with equality, empowerment, and views. The aim of this contribution is threefold. Firstly, offer a descriptive framework of feminist legal studies (FLS) through a review of the evolution of the field in the context of equality, rights, and justice. Secondly, encourage those working on equality, rights, and justice in respect to ‘women’s issues’ to engage in international comparative legal studies. Third, to highlight that those seeking solutions to disempowerment and discrimination must recognize that they need to contend with claims that one is seeking to undermine cultural norms. Therefore, one effective way for feminists to address this situation is by relying more on the international legal mechanism, which reflects basic legal tenets as to the universality of equality, rights, and justice, that can then help shape the domestic setting.
62
46599
Maintaining Organizational Harmony: The Way Forward in Ghanaian Basic Schools
Abstract:
The study examined conflict management strategies among head teachers and teachers in selected basic schools in Okai-Koi sub metro in the greater region of Ghana. In all, 270 participants were engaged in the study, comprising 237 teachers, 32 head teachers, and one officer in charge of the Metropolis. The study employed descriptive survey while using purposive and simple random sampling techniques to sample participants. Interview guides and questionnaires were the main instruments used for gathering primary data. The study found that conflict is inevitable in the schools. Conflicts in schools are usually subtle and hardly noticed by outsiders even though they occur on daily basis. The causes of conflict include among other things, high expectation from head teachers, inability to attain goals set, communication from head teachers and power struggle. The study found out that, in managing and resolving conflicts, issues such as identifying and focusing on the problem, building of trust and cooperation, clarifying goals and objectives were seen to be effective means of managing conflict and recommended that management should design and develop conflict management strategies to quickly resolve conflict.
61
14443
A Virtual Electrode through Summation of Time Offset Pulses
Abstract:
Retinal prostheses have been successful in eliciting visual responses in implanted subjects. As these prostheses progress, one of their major limitations is the need for increased resolution. As an alternative to increasing the number of electrodes, virtual electrodes may be used to increase the effective resolution of current electrode arrays. This paper presents a virtual electrode technique based upon time-offsets between stimuli. Two adjacent electrodes are stimulated with identical pulses with too short of pulse widths to activate a neuron, but one has a time offset of one pulse width. A virtual electrode of twice the pulse width was then shown to appear in the center, with a total width capable of activating a neuron. This can be used in retinal implants by stimulating electrodes with pulse widths short enough to not elicit responses in neurons, but with their combined pulse width adequate to activate a neuron in between them.
60
57038
Determination of the Optimal DG PV Interconnection Location Using Losses and Voltage Regulation as Assessment Indicators Case Study: ECG 33 kV Sub-Transmission Network
Abstract:
In this paper, CYME Distribution software has been used to assess the impacts of solar Photovoltaic (PV) distributed generation (DG) plant on the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) 33 kV sub-transmission network at different PV penetration levels. As ECG begins to encourage DG PV interconnections within its network, there has been the need to assess the impacts on the sub-transmission losses and voltage contribution. In Tema, a city in Accra - Ghana, ECG has a 33 kV sub-transmission network made up of 20 No. 33 kV buses that was modeled. Three different locations were chosen: The source bus, a bus along the sub-transmission radial network and a bus at the tail end to determine the optimal location for DG PV interconnection. The optimal location was determined based on sub-transmission technical losses and voltage impact. PV capacities at different penetration levels were modeled at each location and simulations performed to determine the optimal PV penetration level. Interconnection at a bus along (or in the middle of) the sub-transmission network offered the highest benefits at an optimal PV penetration level of 80%. At that location, the maximum voltage improvement of 0.789% on the neighboring 33 kV buses and maximum loss reduction of 6.033% over the base case scenario were recorded. Hence, the optimal location for DG PV integration within the 33 kV sub-transmission utility network is at a bus along the sub-transmission radial network.
59
84361
Physiological Response of Naturally Regenerated Pinus taeda L. Saplings to Four Levels of Stem Inoculation with Leptographium terebrantis
Abstract:
Leptographium terebrantis is an opportunistic root pathogen commonly associated with loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) stands that are undergoing a loss of vigor in the southeastern US. In order to understand the relationship between L. terebrantis inoculum density and host physiology, an artificial inoculation study was conducted in a five-year-old naturally regenerated loblolly pine stand over a 24 week period in a completely randomized design. L. terebrantis caused sapwood occlusions that increased in severity as inoculum density increased. The occlusions significantly reduced water transport through the stem but did not interfere with fascicle-level stomatal conductance or induce moisture stress in the saplings. The resilience of stomatal conductance among pathogen-infested saplings is attributed to the growth and hydraulic function of new sapwood that developed after artificial inoculation. Results demonstrate that faster-growing families of loblolly pine may be capable of tolerating the vascular root disease when the formation of new sapwood is supported by sustained crown health.
58
76973
Aiding Water Flow in Irrigation Technology with a Pedal Operated Manual Pump
Abstract:
The research was set to design a manually pedal operated water pump to aid water flow technology for irrigation activities for rural farmers. The development was carried out first by a prototype design to guide the fabrication. All items needed for the fabrication were used for the final product. The machine is operated manually by pedaling. This engages all the parts of the machine into active motion. Energy is generated and transfer finally to the pumping unit which is wired with plastic pipes. The pumping unit which is wired with PVC pipes, both linked to the water source and the reservoir respectively. The (rpm) revolution per minute of the machine is approximated at 3130 depending on the pedaling speed of the user. The machine does not have gear arrangement yet can give high (rpm) for effective performance. The pumping performance of the machine is 125 liters in one minute and can sustain small scale irrigation farming activities and to supplement water management system to sustain crop growth.
57
8847
Comparing the Sequence and Effectiveness of Teaching the Four Basic Operations and Mathematics in Primary Schools
Abstract:
The study compared the effectiveness of Audition, Multiplication, subtraction and Division (AMSD) and Addition, subtraction, Multiplication and Division (ASMD), sequence of teaching these four basic operations in mathematics to primary one pupil’s in Katsina Local Government, Katsina State. The study determined the sequence that was more effective and mostly adopted by teachers of the operations. One hundred (100) teachers and sixty pupils (60) from primary one were used for the study. The pupils were divided into two equal groups. The researcher taught these operations to each group separately for four weeks (4 weeks). Group one was taught using the ASMD sequence, while group two was taught using ASMD sequence. In order to generate the needed data for the study, questionnaires and tests were administered on the samples. Data collected were analyzed and major findings were arrived at: (i) Two primary mathematics text books were used in all the primary schools in the area; (ii) Each of the textbooks contained the ASMD sequence; (iii) 73% of the teachers sampled adopted the ASMD sequence of teaching these operations; and (iv) Group one of the pupils (taught using AMSD sequence) performed significantly better than their counter parts in group two (taught using AMSD sequence). On the basis of this, the researcher concluded that the AMSD sequence was more effective in teaching the operations than the ASMD sequence. Consequently, the researcher concluded that primary schools teachers, authors of primary mathematics textbooks, and curriculum planner should adopt the AMSD sequence of teaching these operations.
56
34204
Development of a Drive Cycle Based Control Strategy for the KIIRA-EV SMACK Hybrid
Abstract:
New vehicle concepts targeting specific geographical markets are designed to satisfy a unique set of road and load requirements. The KIIRA-EV SMACK (KES) hybrid vehicle is designed in Uganda for the East African market. The engine and generator added to the KES electric power train serve both as the range extender and the power assist. In this paper, the design consideration taken to achieve the proper management of the on-board power from the batteries and engine-generator based on the specific drive cycle are presented. To harness the fuel- efficiency benefits of the power train, a specific control philosophy operating the engine and generator at the most efficient speed- torque and speed-power regions is presented. By using a suitable model developed in MATLAB using Simulink and Stateflow, preliminary results show that the steady-state response of the vehicle for a particular hypothetical drive cycle mimicking the expected drive conditions in the city and highway traffic is sufficient.
55
56938
Survey of Potential Adverse Health Effects of Mobile Phones, and Wireless Base Stations in Nigeria
Abstract:
Survey was conducted to gather information on potential adverse health effects of Mobile Phones, and Telecommunication Tower Base Stations in Nigeria. Data was sourced from two sampled populations. Firstly from the people living in close proximity to base stations, and secondly from cell phone users. Questionnaire was used to gathered information from 574 people on thirteen non-specific health symptoms. Data obtained was presented and analyzed. The analysis shows that people living close to the based stations over a long period of time with or without cell phone, and also the heavy phone users with close proximity to the base stations are liable to have some potential health hazards, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches, feeling of discomfort, difficulty in concentrating, depression, memory loss, visual disruptions, irritability, hearing disruptions, skin problems, cardiovascular disorders, and dizziness.
54
13904
Treatment Performance of Waste Stabilization Ponds: A Look at Physic-Chemical Parameters in Ghana
Abstract:
The study was conducted to determine the treatment performance of waste stabilization ponds in Akosombo. A total of 15 samples were taken for four consecutive months from the inlet, facultative pond and outlet of maturation pond. The samples were preserved and transported to Water Research Institute for laboratory analysis. The wastewater quality parameters analysed to assess the treatment performance were total suspended solids (TSS), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), ammonia and phosphate. The results of the laboratory analysis showed that the ponds achieved TSS, BOD and COD removals of about 30, 82 and 75 per cent respectively. Statistically, the BOD (t = 10.27, p = 6.68 x 10-6) and COD (t = 4.23, p = 0.0029) of the raw sewage were significantly different from the total effluent at 95% confidence interval. The ammonia and phosphate removal was as high as 92% and 84% respectively. The quality parameters analysed for the final effluent from the Waste Stabilisation Pond was within the EPA guideline values. The general treatment performances were very good with respect to the parameters studied and does not pose threat to the receiving water body. A further study to examine the bacteriological treatment performance was recommended.
53
101314
A Comparative Analysis of Grade Weighted Average and Comprehensive Examination Result of Non Board Passers and Board Passers
Abstract:
One of the valuable things that shows the intelligence among individuals is the academic background specifically their Grade Weighted Average and the significant result of the Comprehensive Examination. The general objective of the researchers to this study is to determine if there is a significant difference between General Weighted Average and Comprehensive Examination Result of Psychometrician Board Passers and Non-Board Passers. The respondents of this study composed of board passers and non-board passers. The researchers used purposive sampling technique. The result utilized by using T-test Independent Sample to determine the comparison of General Weighted Average and Comprehensive Examination Result of Board Passers and Non Board Passers. At the end, it concluded that the General Weighted Average of Board Passers and Non-Board Passers shows that there is no significant difference, but the average showed a minimal variation. The Comprehensive Examination Result of Board Passers and Non-Board Passers result revealed that there is a significant difference. The performance of comprehensive examination that will test the overall knowledge of an individual and will determine whose more proficient will likely to have a higher score. The result of the comprehensive examination had an impact in the passing performance of board examination.
52
44408
Feed Value of Selected Nigerian Browse Plants: Chemical Composition and in vitro Digestibility
Authors:
Abstract:
A study was conducted to determine the in-vitro degradation of selected Nigerian browse plants consumed by small ruminants on free range in northern guinea savannah region of Nigeria using in vitro gas production, proximate composition, fibre components, methane gas production and dry matter degradation as tools. The leaves samples of the selected browse plants were collected, processed and incubated using in vitro gas dry matter degradation techniques. Results obtained showed variation in the rate of degradation. The result obtained from chemical analysis showed that the CP content of A. occidentale (26.49%) was higher than F. thonningi (23.58%), M. indica (20.58%) and T. catappa (18.61%). Both ADF and NDF of A. occidentale (40.00 and 50.00) were as well higher than F. thonningi (20.00 and 40.00), M. indica (20.00 and 40.00) and T.catappa (20.00 and 42.00). Results from in vitro gas production however showed that T. catappa (23.67ml/DM) has a significantly higher (p< 0.05) value than F.thonningi (20.67ml/DM), A. occidentale (16.67ml/DM), and M. indica(14.00ml/DM) at 72 hours of incubation. Methane gas production and in vitro gas production can be used to predict dry matter degradation and nutritive value of feedstuff for small ruminants. A. occidentale with the least methane gas production and highest crude protein (CP) content might have the most nutritive value among the browse plants investigated.
51
37069
Analysis of Geotechnical Parameters from Geophysical Information
Abstract:
In some part of the world where legislations related to site investigations before constructions are not strictly enforced, the expenses and time required for carrying out a comprehensive geotechnical investigation to characterize a site can discourage prospective private residential building developers. Another factor that can discourage a developer is the fact that most of the geotechnical tests procedures utilized during site investigations, to a certain extent, alter the existing environment of the site. This study suggests a quick, non-destructive and non-intrusive method of obtaining key subsoil geotechnical properties necessary for foundation design for proposed engineering facilities. Seismic wave velocities generated from near surface refraction method was used to determine the bulk density of soil, Young’s modulus, bulk modulus, shear modulus and allowable bearing capacity of a competent layer that can bear structural load at the particular study site. Also, regression equations were developed in order to directly obtain the bulk density of soil, Young’s modulus, bulk modulus, shear modulus and allowable bearing capacity from the compressional wave velocities. The results obtained correlated with the results of standard geotechnical investigations carried out.
50
73804
Land Cover, Land Surface Temperature, and Urban Heat Island Effects in Tropical Sub Saharan City of Accra
Authors:
Abstract:
The effects of rapid urbanisation of tropical sub-Saharan developing cities on local and global climate are of great concern due to the negative impacts of Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects. The importance of urban parks, vegetative cover and forest reserves in these tropical cities have been undervalued with a rapid degradation and loss of these vegetative covers to urban developments which continue to cause an increase in daily mean temperatures and changes to local climatic conditions. Using Landsat data of the same months and period intervals, the spatial variations of land cover changes, temperature, and vegetation were examined to determine how vegetation improves local temperature and the effects of urbanisation on daily mean temperatures over the past 12 years. The remote sensing techniques of maximum likelihood supervised classification, land surface temperature retrieval technique, and normalised differential vegetation index techniques were used to analyse and create the land use land cover (LULC), land surface temperature (LST), and vegetation and non-vegetation cover maps respectively. Results from the study showed an increase in daily mean temperature by 0.80 °C as a result of rapid increase in urban area by 46.13 sq. km and loss of vegetative cover by 46.24 sq. km between 2005 and 2017. The LST map also shows the existence of UHI within the urban areas of Accra, the potential mitigating effects offered by the existence of forest and vegetative cover as demonstrated by the existence of cool islands around the Achimota ecological forest and University of Ghana botanical gardens areas.
49
110855
Assessing the Feasibility of Commercial Meat Rabbit Production in the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana
Abstract:
The study aimed at assessing the feasibility of commercial meat rabbit production in the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana. Structured and unstructured questionnaires were utilized in obtaining information from two hundred meat consumers and 15 meat rabbit farmers. Data were analyzed using Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)/Profitability Index (PI) technique, percentages and chi-square contingency test. The study found that the current demand for rabbit meat is low (36%). The desirable nutritional attributes of rabbit meat and other socio economic factors of meat consumers make the potential demand for rabbit meat high (69%). It was estimated that GH¢5,292 (approximately $ 2672) was needed as a start-up capital for a 40-doe unit meat rabbit farm in Kumasi Metropolis. The cost of breeding animals, housing and equipment formed 12.47%, 53.97% and 24.87% respectively of the initial estimated capital. A Net Present Value of GH¢ 5,910.75 (approximately $ 2984) was obtained at the end of the fifth year, with an internal rate return and profitability index of 70% and 1.12 respectively. The major constraints identified in meat rabbit production were low price of rabbit meat, shortage of fodder, pest and diseases, high cost of capital, high cost of operating materials and veterinary care. Based on the analysis, it was concluded that meat rabbit production is feasible in the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana. The study recommends embarking on mass advertisement; farmer association and adapting to new technologies in the production process will help to enhance productivity.
48
83836
Effect of Nanoparticles Concentration, pH and Agitation on Bioethanol Production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae BY4743: An Optimization Study
Abstract:
Nanoparticles have received attention of the scientific community due to their biotechnological potentials. They exhibit advantageous size, shape and concentration-dependent catalytic, stabilizing, immunoassays and immobilization properties. This study investigates the impact of metallic oxide nanoparticles (NPs) on ethanol production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae BY4743. Nine different nanoparticles were synthesized using precipitation method and microwave treatment. The nanoparticles synthesized were characterized by Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Fermentation processes were carried out at varied NPs concentrations (0 – 0.08 wt%). Highest ethanol concentrations were achieved after 24 h using Cobalt NPs (5.07 g/l), Copper NPs (4.86 g/l) and Manganese NPs (4.74 g/l) at 0.01 wt% NPs concentrations, which represent 13%, 8.7% and 5.4% increase respectively over the control (4.47 g/l). The lowest ethanol concentration (0.17 g/l) was obtained when 0.08 wt% of Silver NPs was used. And lower ethanol concentrations were observed at higher NPs concentration. Ethanol concentration decrease after 24 h for all the processes. In all set up with NPs, the pH was observed to be stable and the stability was directly proportional to nanoparticles concentrations. These findings suggest that the presence of some of the NPs in the bioprocesses has catalytic and pH stabilizing potential. Ethanol production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae BY4743 was enhanced in the presence of Cobalt NPs, Copper NPs and Manganese NPs. Optimization study using response surface methodology (RSM) will further elucidate the impact of these nanoparticles on bioethanol production.
47
58000
Epidemiological Survey of Feline Leukemia Virus in Domestic Cats on Tsushima Island, Japan: Tsushima Leopard Cats Are at Risk
Abstract:
The Tsushima leopard cat (TLC) Prionailurus bengalensis euptilurus, designated a National Natural Monument of Japan, inhabits Tsushima Island, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. TLC is considered a subspecies of P. bengalensis, and lives only on Tsushima Island. TLCs are threatened by various infectious diseases. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) causes a serious infectious disease with a poor prognosis in cats. Therefore, the transmission of FeLV from Tsushima domestic cats (TDCs) to TLCs may threaten the TLC population. We investigated the FeLV infection status of both TDCs and TLCs on Tsushima Island by screening blood samples for FeLV p27 antigen and using PCR to amplify the full-length FeLV env gene. The prevalence of FeLV was 6.4% in TDCs and 0% in TLCs. We also demonstrated that the virus can replicate in the cells of TLCs, suggesting its potential cross-species transmission. The viruses in TDCs were classified as genotype I/clade 3, which is prevalent on a nearby island, based on previous studies of FeLV genotypes and FeLV epidemiology. The FeLV viruses identified on Tsushima Island can be further divided into two lineages within genotype I/clade 3, which are geographically separated in Kamijima and Shimojima, indicating that FeLV may have been transmitted to Tsushima Island at least twice. Monitoring FeLV infection in the TDC and TLC populations is highly recommended as part of the TLC surveillance and management strategy.
46
6752
Mineral Chemistry of Barium and Titanium-Bearing Biotite in Alkaline Trachyte from Upper Benue Valley (Northern Cameroon)
Abstract:
Barium and titanium bearing biotite from alkaline trachyte of Upper Benue valley, Northern Cameroon is studied. The iron enrichment index of mica (average I.E.=0.40) is intermediate between annite and phlogopite. The biotite phenocrysts contain up to 6.2 wt. % BaO and 9.8 wt. % TiO2. The BaO content of electron-microprobe mica is positively correlated with the Al2O3, TiO2, and FeO contents, and negatively correlated with the SiO2, K2O, and MgO contents. Ba and Ti rich micas are generally found in in SiO2 deficient rocks, whereas Ba and Ti bearing mica in this study occur in silica-saturated rocks. Most of the phenocrysts analysed have deficiencies in their octahedral and interlayer sites. Deficiencies in the octahedral sites may arise from the Ti vacancy and partly the Ti tschermakite substitution. On the other hand, deficiencies in the interlayer-site are due to the replacement of K by Ba. The substitution mechanism in the Upper Benue valley mica is characterized by Ba + 2Ti + 3Al =(K + Na + Ca) + 3(Mg + Fe + Mn) + 3Si, with an excellent correlation coefficient. Biotite compositions from the Upper Benue valley area fall between the quartz-fayalite-magnetite (QFM) and nickel-nickel-oxide (NNO) oxygen fugacity buffers. All these show that Upper Benue valley mica with high Ba and Ti contents may be formed from magmas rich in these elements.
45
60810
Hydrogeophysical Investigations of Groundwater Resources and Demarcation of Saltwater-Freshwater Interface in Kilwa Kisiwani Island, Se Tanzania
Abstract:
The main objective of this research was to identify new potential sources of groundwater resources using geophysical methods and also to demarcate the saltwater - freshwater interface. Kilwa Kisiwani Island geologically is covered mostly by Quaternary alluvial sediments, sand, and gravel. The geophysical techniques employed during the research include Vertical Electrical Sounding (VES), Earth Resistivity Tomography (ERT), and Transient Electromagnetics (TEM). Two-dimensional interpolated geophysical results show that there exist freshwater lenses formations that are potential aquifers on the Island with resistivity values ranging from 11.68 Ωm to 46.71 Ωm. These freshwater lenses are underlain by formation with brackish water in which the resistivity values are varying between 3.89 Ωm and 1.6 Ωm. Saltwater with resistivity less than 1 Ωm is found at the bottom being overlaid by brackish saturated formation. VES resistivity results show that 89% (16 out of 18) of the VES sites are potential for groundwater resources drilling while TEM results indicate that 75% (12 out of 16) of TEM sites are potential for groundwater borehole drilling. The recommended drilling depths for potential sites in Kilwa Kisiwani Island show that the maximum depth is 25 m and the minimum being 10 m below ground surface. The aquifer structure in Kilwa Kisiwani Island is a shallow, unconfined freshwater lenses floating above the seawater and the maximum thickness of the aquifer is 25 m for few selected VES and TEM sites while the minimum thickness being 10 m.
44
56882
Indigenous Knowledge Management: Towards Identification of Challenges and Opportunities in Developing Countries
Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to provide a theoretical discourse that highlights the challenges associated with management of indigenous knowledge with reference to developing countries. Literature review and brainstorming were used to collect relevant data and draw inferences. The findings indicate that non-existence of indigenous knowledge management policy (IKMP), low level of partnership drive among library and information services providers, non-uniformity of format and content of indigenous knowledge, inadequate funding, and lack of access to ICTs, lack of indigenous people with indigenous expertise and hoarding of knowledge as challenges to indigenous knowledge management. The study is based on literature review and information gathered through brain storming with professional colleagues the geographic scope as developing countries. The study has birth several implication based on the findings made. Professionally, it has necessitated the need for formulating a viable indigenous knowledge management policy (IKMP), creating of collaborative network through partnership, and integration of ICTs to indigenous knowledge management practices by libraries in developing countries etc. The originality of this paper is revealed in its capability as serving as an eye opener to librarians on the need for preserving and managing indigenous knowledge in developing countries. It further unlocks the possibilities of exploring empirical based researches to substantiate the theoretical issues raised in this paper. The findings may be used by library managers to improve indigenous knowledge management (IKM).
43
111018
Reducing Uncertainty in Climate Projections over Uganda by Numerical Models Using Bias Correction
Authors:
Abstract:
Since the beginning of the 21st century, climate change has been an issue due to the reported rise in global temperature and changes in the frequency as well as severity of extreme weather and climatic events. The changing climate has been attributed to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, including environmental changes such as ecosystems and land-uses. Climatic projections have been carried out under the auspices of the intergovernmental panel on climate change where a couple of models have been run to inform us about the likelihood of future climates. Since one of the major forcings informing the changing climate is emission of greenhouse gases, different scenarios have been proposed and future climates for different periods presented. The global climate models project different areas to experience different impacts. While regional modeling is being carried out for high impact studies, bias correction is less documented. Yet, the regional climate models suffer bias which introduces uncertainty. This is addressed in this study by bias correcting the regional models. This study uses the Weather Research and Forecasting model under different representative concentration pathways and correcting the products of these models using observed climatic data. This study notes that bias correction (e.g., the running-mean bias correction; the best easy systematic estimator method; the simple linear regression method, nearest neighborhood, weighted mean) improves the climatic projection skill and therefore reduce the uncertainty inherent in the climatic projections.
42
18018
The Determinants of Financial Ratio Disclosures and Quality: Evidence from an Emerging Market
Abstract:
This study investigated the influence of firm-specific characteristics which include proportion of Non-Executive Directors, ownership concentration, firm size, profitability, debt equity ratio, liquidity and leverage on the extent and quality of financial ratios disclosed by firms listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange. The research was conducted through detailed analysis of the 2012 financial statements of the listed firms. Descriptive analysis was performed to provide the background statistics of the variables examined. This was followed by regression analysis which forms the main data analysis. The results of the extent of financial ratio disclosure level, mean of 62.78%, indicate that most of the firms listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange did not overwhelmingly disclose such ratios in their annual reports. The results of the low quality of financial ratio disclosure mean of 6.64% indicate that the disclosures failed woefully to meet the International Accounting Standards Board's qualitative characteristics of relevance, reliability, comparability and understandability. The results of the multiple regression analysis show that leverage (gearing ratio) and return on investment (dividend per share) are associated on a statistically significant level as far as the extent of financial ratio disclosure is concerned. Board ownership concentration and proportion of (independent) non-executive directors, on the other hand were found to be statistically associated with the quality of financial ratio disclosed. There is a significant negative relationship between ownership concentration and the quality of financial ratio disclosure. This means that under a higher level of ownership concentration less quality financial ratios are disclosed. The findings also show that there is a significant positive relationship between board composition (proportion of non-executive directors) and the quality of financial ratio disclosure.
41
36989
Ghanaian Men and the Performance of Masculinity: Negotiating Gender-Based Violence in Contemporary Ghana
Authors:
Abstract:
Masculinity studies have gained much purchase globally in recent decades, especially the sense in which they have produced discursive space for interdisciplinary investigations. In the light of this, there is increasing consensus among commentators that different masculinities co-exist within a particular social space. There is also a growing recognition and awareness of the merits in examining the conceptual underpinnings of masculinity (especially hegemonic masculinity) its variously contested meanings, and values, and how it contributes to violent behaviours by men. The consequences of hegemonic masculinity and its violent and traumatic impacts on men and women have been evident. The emerging call to imagine more egalitarian and complex masculinities among men has been at the centre of various discussions on the fight against violence. Some theorists argue that this violence emanates from men’s drive to live up to impossible ideals of “masculinity.” Seeking to make the connections between masculinity and gender-based violence, this paper discusses the imperative and possibilities of engaging men/boys as key actors in the campaign against violence. It is worth re-examining the ways in which men’s embodiment and performance of dangerous masculinities contribute towards violence. This paper therefore argues that empowering men to understand the implications of certain behaviours is the key in an attempt to arrest violence and its traumatic cost. This paper is situated within the thesis that there is a relationship between men’s embodiment and performance of dominant forms of masculinities, on the one hand, and violence against women and other men, on the other. Based on research conducted in northern Ghana on domestic violence, it is the argument of this paper that in order to contain violence against women, conditions of gender construction need to be problematized in a manner that will transform fundamental understandings of gender relations in society.
40
20630
Saponins from the Fruits of Solanum anguivi Reverse Hyperglycemia, Hyperlipidemia and Increase Antioxidant Status in Stretozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats
Abstract:
This work investigated the antihyperglycemic, antioxidant and antihyperlipidemic effects of saponins from the fruit of Solanum anguivi, a plant generally used in folk medicine to treat diabetes and hypertension and to compare its effect with metformin in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Diabetes was induced in albino rats by administration of STZ (65 mg/kg) intraperitoneally. Saponin (40 and 100 mg/kg) was administered by oral gavage once daily for 21 days. Metformin (200 mg/kg b.w.) was administered as the positive control. The effect of saponin on blood glucose, serum lipids and enzymatic antioxidants defense systems, like superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), as well as MDA levels in serum, liver and pancreas were studied. Saponins from S. anguivi fruits reduced the blood glucose, total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in STZ-diabetic rats. They also significantly abolished the increase in MDA level in serum, liver and pancreas of diabetic rats. The activities of SOD and CAT in serum, liver and pancreas were significantly increased as well as concentration of HDL in the serum. Metformin had the same effect as saponin but saponins seems to be more potent in reducing serum TC, TG, LDL, and MDA, and increasing SOD and CAT. Conclusions: These results suggest that saponins from S. anguivi fruits have anti-diabetic and antihypercholesterolemic, antihypertriglyceridemic antiperoxidative activities mediated through their antioxidant properties. Also, saponins appeared to have more hypolipidemic, antiperoxidative and antioxidant activity than metformin.
39
14551
Bio-Heat Transfer in Various Transcutaneous Stimulation Models
Abstract:
This study models the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on skin with a disk electrode in order to simulate tissue damage. The current density distribution above a disk electrode is known to be a dynamic and non-uniform quantity that is intensified at the edges of the disk. The non-uniformity is subject to change through using various electrode geometries or stimulation methods. One of these methods known as edge-retarded stimulation has shown to reduce this edge enhancement. Though progress has been made in modeling the behavior of a disk electrode, little has been done to test the validity of these models in simulating the actual heat transfer from the electrode. This simulation uses finite element software to couple the injection of current from a disk electrode to heat transfer described by the Pennesbioheat transfer equation. An example application of this model is studying an experimental form of stimulation, known as edge-retarded stimulation. The edge-retarded stimulation method will reduce the current density at the edges of the electrode. It is hypothesized that reducing the current density edge enhancement effect will, in turn, reduce temperature change and tissue damage at the edges of these electrodes. This study tests this hypothesis as a demonstration of the capabilities of this model. The edge-retarded stimulation proved to be safer after this simulation. It is shown that temperature change and the fraction of tissue necrosis is much greater in the square wave stimulation. These results bring implications for changes of procedures in transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation as well.
38
90949
Synthesis of Zeolites from Bauxite and Kaolin: Effect of Synthesis Parameters on Competing Phases
Abstract:
Bauxite and kaolin from Ghana Bauxite Company mine site were used to synthesize zeolites. Bauxite served as the alumina source and kaolin the silica source. Synthesis variations include variation of aging time at constant crystallization time and variation of crystallization times at constant aging time. Characterization techniques such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDX) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were employed in the characterization of the raw samples as well as the synthesized samples. The results obtained showed that the transformations that occurred and the phase of the resulting products were coordinated by the aging time, crystallization time, alkaline concentration and Si/Al ratio of the system. Zeolites A, X, Y, analcime, Sodalite, and ZK-14 were some of the phases achieved. Zeolite LTA was achieved with short crystallization times of 3, 5, 18 and 24 hours and a maximum aging of 24 hours. Zeolite LSX was synthesized with 24 hr aging followed with 24 hr hydrothermal treatment whilst zeolite Y crystallized after 48 hr of aging and 24 hr crystallization. Prolonged crystallization time produced a mixed phased product. Prolonged aging times, on the other hand, did not yield any zeolite as the sample was amorphous. Increasing the alkaline content of the reaction mixture above 5M introduced sodalite phase in the final product. The properties of the final products were comparable to zeolites synthesized from pure chemical reagents.
37
88050
A Comparative Analysis of the Performance of COSMO and WRF Models in Quantitative Rainfall Prediction
Abstract:
The Numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are considered powerful tools for guiding quantitative rainfall prediction. A couple of NWP models exist and are used at many operational weather prediction centers. This study considers two models namely the Consortium for Small&ndash;scale Modeling (COSMO) model and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. It compares the models&rsquo; ability to predict rainfall over Uganda for the period 21st April 2013 to 10th May 2013 using the root mean square (RMSE) and the mean error (ME). In comparing the performance of the models, this study assesses their ability to predict light rainfall events and extreme rainfall events. All the experiments used the default parameterization configurations and with same horizontal resolution (7 Km). The results show that COSMO model had a tendency of largely predicting no rain which explained its under&ndash;prediction. The COSMO model (RMSE: 14.16; ME: -5.91) presented a significantly (p = 0.014) higher magnitude of error compared to the WRF model (RMSE: 11.86; ME: -1.09). However the COSMO model (RMSE: 3.85; ME: 1.39) performed significantly (p = 0.003) better than the WRF model (RMSE: 8.14; ME: 5.30) in simulating light rainfall events. All the models under&ndash;predicted extreme rainfall events with the COSMO model (RMSE: 43.63; ME: -39.58) presenting significantly higher error magnitudes than the WRF model (RMSE: 35.14; ME: -26.95). This study recommends additional diagnosis of the models&rsquo; treatment of deep convection over the tropics.
36
67839
Bioethanol Production from Wild Sorghum (Sorghum arundinacieum) and Spear Grass (Heteropogon contortus)
Abstract:
There is a growing need to develop the processes to produce renewable fuels and chemicals due to the economic, political, and environmental concerns associated with fossil fuels. Lignocellulosic biomass is an excellent renewable feedstock because it is both abundant and inexpensive. This project aims at producing bioethanol from lignocellulosic plants (Sorghum Arundinacieum and Heteropogon Contortus) by biochemical means, computing the energy audit of the process and determining the fuel properties of the produced ethanol. Acid pretreatment (0.5% H2SO4 solution) and enzymatic hydrolysis (using malted barley as enzyme source) were employed. The ethanol yield of wild sorghum was found to be 20% while that of spear grass was 15%. The fuel properties of the bioethanol from wild sorghum are 1.227 centipoise for viscosity, 1.10 g/cm3 for density, 0.90 for specific gravity, 78 °C for boiling point and the cloud point was found to be below -30 °C. That of spear grass was 1.206 centipoise for viscosity, 0.93 g/cm3 for density 1.08 specific gravity, 78 °C for boiling point and the cloud point was also found to be below -30 °C. The energy audit shows that about 64 % of the total energy was used up during pretreatment, while product recovery which was done manually demanded about 31 % of the total energy. Enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation, and distillation total energy input were 1.95 %, 1.49 % and 1.04 % respectively, the alcoholometric strength of bioethanol from wild sorghum was found to be 47 % and the alcoholometric strength of bioethanol from spear grass was 72 %. Also, the energy efficiency of the bioethanol production for both grasses was 3.85 %.
35
20633
Phyllantus nuriri Protect against Fe2+ and SNP Induced Oxidative Damage in Mitochondrial Rich Fractions of Rats Brain
Abstract:
We evaluated the potential neuroprotective effect of Phyllantus nuriri against Fe2+ and SNP induced oxidative stress in mitochondria of rats brain. Cellular viability was assessed by MTT reduction, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was measured using the probe 2,7-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA). Glutathione content was measured using dithionitrobenzoic acid (DTNB). Fe2+ (10µM) and SNP (5µM) significantly decreased mitochondrial activity, assessed by MTT reduction assay, in a dose-dependent manner, this occurred in parallel with increased glutathione oxidation, ROS production and lipid peroxidation end-products (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS). The co-incubation with methanolic extract of Phyllantus nuriri (10-100 µg/ml) reduced the disruption of mitochondrial activity, gluthathione oxidation, ROS production as well as the increase in TBARS levels caused by both Fe2+ and SNP in a dose dependent manner. HPLC analysis of the extract revealed the presence of gallic acid (20.54±0.01), caffeic acid (7.93±0.02), rutin (25.31±0.05), quercetin (31.28±0.03) and kaemferol (14.36±0.01). This result suggests that these phytochemicals account for the protective actions of Phyllantus nuriri against Fe2+ and SNP -induced oxidative stress. Our results show that Phyllantus nuriri consist important bioactive molecules in the search for an improved therapy against the deleterious effects of Fe2+, an intrinsic producer of reactive oxygen species (ROS), that leads to neuronal oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.
34
89612
A Comparative Analysis of the Performance of Consortium for Small–Scale Modeling and Weather Research and Forecasting Models in Quantitative Rainfall Prediction
Abstract:
The numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are considered powerful tools for guiding quantitative rainfall prediction. A couple of NWP models exist and are used at many operational weather prediction centers. This study considers two models namely the Consortium for Small-Scale Modeling (COSMO) model and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. It compares the models’ ability to predict rainfall over Uganda for the period 21st April 2013 to 10th May 2013 using the root mean square (RMSE) and the mean error (ME). In comparing the performance of the models, this study assesses their ability to predict light rainfall events and extreme rainfall events. All the experiments used the default parameterization configurations and with same horizontal resolution (7 Km). The results show that COSMO model had a tendency of largely predicting no rain which explained its under-prediction. The COSMO model (RMSE: 14.16; ME: -5.91) presented a significantly (p = 0.014) higher magnitude of error compared to the WRF model (RMSE: 11.86; ME: -1.09). However, the COSMO model (RMSE: 3.85; ME: 1.39) performed significantly (p = 0.003) better than the WRF model (RMSE: 8.14; ME: 5.30) in simulating light rainfall events. All the models under-predicted extreme rainfall events with the COSMO model (RMSE: 43.63; ME: -39.58) presenting significantly higher error magnitudes than the WRF model (RMSE:35.14; ME: -26.95). This study recommends additional diagnosis of the models’ treatment of deep convection over the tropics.
33
13009
Data and Biological Sharing Platforms in Community Health Programs: Partnership with Rural Clinical School, University of New South Wales and Public Health Foundation of India
Abstract:
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Rural Clinical School has a strategic collaborative focus on chronic disease and public health. Our objectives are to understand rural environmental and biological interactions in vulnerable community populations. The UNSW Rural Clinical School translational model is a spoke and hub network. This spoke and hub model connects rural data and biological specimens with city based collaborative public health research networks. Similar spoke and hub models are prevalent across research centers in India. The Australia-India Council grant was awarded so we could establish sustainable public health and community research collaborations. As part of the collaborative network we are developing strategies around data and biological sharing platforms between Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Hyderabad and Rural Clinical School UNSW. The key objective is to understand how research collaborations are conducted in India and also how data can shared and tracked with external collaborators such as ourselves. A framework to improve data sharing for research collaborations, including DNA was proposed as a project outcome. The complexities of sharing biological data has been investigated via a visit to India. A flagship sustainable project between Rural Clinical School UNSW and PHFI would illustrate a model of data sharing platforms.
32
97243
Flotation of Rare Earth Oxides from Iron-Oxide Silicate Rich Tailings Using Fatty Acids
Abstract:
The versatility of froth flotation has made it vital in the beneficiation of rare earth elements minerals from either high or low-grade ores. There has been a significant increase in the quantity of iron oxide silicate-rich tailings generated from the extraction of primary commodities such as copper and gold in Australia, which have been identified to contain very low-grade rare earth oxides (≤ 1%). There is a vast knowledge gap in the beneficiation of rare earth oxides from such tailings. The aim of this research is to investigate the feasibility of using fatty acids as collectors for the flotation recovery and upgrade of rare earth oxides from selected iron-oxide silicate-rich tailings. Two forms of fatty acid collectors (oleic acid and sodium oleate) were tested in this investigation. Flotation tests were carried out using a 1.2 L Denver D-12 cell. The effects of pulp pH, fatty acid dosage, particle size distribution (-150 +75 µm, -75 +38 µm and -38 µm) and conventional depressants (sodium silicate and starch) dosage on flotation recovery of rare earth oxides were investigated. A comparison of the flotation results indicated that sodium oleate was the more efficient fatty acid for rare earth oxides flotation at all the pulp pH investigated. The flotation performance was found to be particle size-dependent. Both sodium silicate and starch were unselective in decreasing the recovery of iron oxides and silicate minerals, respectively with the corresponding decrease in rare earth oxides recovery. Generally, iron oxides and silicate minerals formed the substantial fraction of the flotation concentrates obtained, both in the absence and presence of depressants, resulting in a generally low rare earth oxides upgrade, even though rare earth oxides recoveries were high. The flotation tests carried out on the tailings sample suggest the feasibility of rare earth oxides recovery using fatty acids, although particle size distribution and minerals liberation are key limiting factors in achieving selective rare earth oxides upgrade.
31
44022
Bank Internal Controls and Credit Risk in Europe: A Quantitative Measurement Approach
Abstract:
Managerial actions which negatively profile banks and impair corporate reputation are addressed through effective internal control systems. Disregard for acceptable standards and procedures for granting credit have affected bank loan portfolios and could be cited for the crises in some European countries. The study intends to determine the effectiveness of internal control systems, investigate whether perceived agency problems exist on the part of board members and to establish the relationship between internal controls and credit risk among listed banks in the European Union. Drawing theoretical support from the behavioural compliance and agency theories, about seventeen internal control variables (drawn from the revised COSO framework), bank-specific, country, stock market and macro-economic variables will be involved in the study. A purely quantitative approach will be employed to model internal control variables covering the control environment, risk management, control activities, information and communication and monitoring. Panel data from 2005-2014 on listed banks from 28 European Union countries will be used for the study. Hypotheses will be tested and the Generalized Least Squares (GLS) regression will be run to establish the relationship between dependent and independent variables. The Hausman test will be used to select whether random or fixed effect model will be used. It is expected that listed banks will have sound internal control systems but their effectiveness cannot be confirmed. A perceived agency problem on the part of the board of directors is expected to be confirmed. The study expects significant effect of internal controls on credit risk. The study will uncover another perspective of internal controls as not only an operational risk issue but credit risk too. Banks will be cautious that observing effective internal control systems is an ethical and socially responsible act since the collapse (crisis) of financial institutions as a result of excessive default is a major contagion. This study deviates from the usual primary data approach to measuring internal control variables and rather models internal control variables in a quantitative approach for the panel data. Thus a grey area in approaching the revised COSO framework for internal controls is opened for further research. Most bank failures and crises could be averted if effective internal control systems are religiously adhered to.
30
96334
Chronic Pesticides Exposure and Certain Endocrine Functions Among Farmers in East Almnaif District, Ismailia, Egypt
Abstract:
Background: Exposure to pesticides is one of the most important occupational risks among farmers in developing countries. Along with the wide use of pesticides in the world, the concerns over their health impacts are rapidly growing. Objective: To investigate thyroid and reproductive hormones and fasting blood glucose levels among farmers chronically exposed to pesticide from East Almnaif district, Ismailia governorate. Methods: An analytical cross-sectional study was conducted on 43 farmers with active involvement pesticides handling and 43 participants not occupationally exposed to pesticides as the control group. A structured interview questionnaire measuring the sociodemographic characteristics, pesticides exposure characteristics, and safety measures was used. General examination including measurements of height, weight, and blood pressure was done. Moreover, levels of plasma cholinesterase enzyme (PChE), glucose, as well as reproductive and thyroid hormones (TSH, T4, and testosterone) were determined. Results: There were no statistically significant differences between both groups regarding their age, educational level, smoking status, and body mass index. The mean duration of exposure was 20.60 11.06 years. Majority of farmers (76.7%) did not use any personal protective equipment (PPE) during pesticides handling. The mean systolic blood pressure among exposed farmers was greater (134.88 17.18 mm Hg) compared to control group (125 14.69 mm Hg) with statistically significant difference (p = 0.003). The mean diastolic blood pressure was higher (84.02 8.69 mm Hg) compared to control group (78.79 8.98 mm Hg) with statistically significant difference (p = 0.006). The pesticide exposed farmers had statistically significant lower level of PChE (3969.93 1841U/L) than control group (4879.29 1950.08 U/L). Additionally, TSH level was significantly higher in exposed farmers (median =1.39µIU/ml) compared to controls (median = 0.91 µIU/ml) (p=0.032). While, the exposed group had a lower T4 level (6.91 1.91 µg/dl) compared to the control group (7.79 2.10µg/dl), with the statistically significant difference between the two groups (p = 0.045). The exposed group had significantly lower level of testosterone hormone (median=3.37 ng/ml) compared to the control group (median= 6.22 ng/ml) (p=0.003). While, the exposed farmers had statistically insignificant higher level of fasting blood glucose (median =89 mg/dl) than the controls (median=88 mg/dl). Furthermore, farmers who did not use PPE had statistically significant lower level of T4 (6.57 1.81µg/dl) than farmers who used PPE during handling of pesticides (8.01 1.89 µg/dl). Conclusion: Chronic exposure to pesticides exerts disturbing action on reproductive function and thyroid function of the male farmers.
29
21918
Protective Effect of Saponin Extract from the Root of Garcinia kola (Bitter Kola) against Paracetamol-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Albino Rats
Abstract:
Liver disorders are one of the major problems of the world. Despite its frequent occurrence, high morbidity, and high mortality, its medical management is currently inadequate. This study was designed to evaluate the Hepatoprotective effect of saponin extract of the root of Garcinia kola on the integrity of the liver of paracetamol induced Wistar albino rats. Twenty-five male adult Wistar albino rats were divided into five (5) groups. Group I, was the Control group that received distilled water only, group II was the negative control that received 2 g/kg of paracetamol on the 13th day, and group III, IV, and V were pre-treated with 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg of the saponin extract before inducing the liver damage on the 13th day with 2 g/kg of paracetamol. Twenty-four hours after administration, the rats were sacrificed, and blood samples were collected. The serum Alanine Transaminase (ALT), Aspartate Transaminase (AST), Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) activities, Bilirubin and Conjugated Bilirubin, Glucose and Protein concentrations were evaluated. The liver was fixed immediately in Formalin and was processed and stained with Haematoxylin and Eosin (H&E). Administration of saponin extract from the root of Garcinia kola significantly decreased paracetamol induced elevated enzymes in the test group. Also, histological observations showed that saponin extract of the root of Garcinia kola exhibited a significant liver protection against the toxicant as evident by the cells trying to return to normal. Saponin extract from the root of Garcinia kola indicated a protection of the structural integrity of the hepatocytic cell membrane and regeneration of the damaged liver.
28
48815
Developing Stability Monitoring Parameters for NIPRIMAL®: A Monoherbal Formulation for the Treatment of Uncomplicated Malaria
Abstract:
NIPRIMAL® is a mono herbal formulation of Nauclea latifolia used in the treatment of malaria. The stability of extracts made from plant material is essential to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of the finished product. This study assessed the stability of the formulation under three different storage conditions; normal room temperature, infrared and under refrigeration. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) were used to monitor the formulations. The DSC analysis was done from 0oC to 350oC under the three storage conditions. Results obtained indicate that NIPRIMAL® was stable at all the storage conditions investigated. Thin layer chromatography (TLC) after 6 months showed there was no significant difference between retention factor (RF) values for the various storage conditions. The reference sample had four spots with RF values of 0.47, 0.68, 0.76, 0.82 respectively and these spots were retained in the test formulations with corresponding RF values were after 6 months at room temperature and refrigerated temperature been 0.56, 0.73, 0.80, 0.92 and 0.47, 0.68, 0.76, 0.82 respectively. On the other hand, the RF values (0.55, 0.74, 0.77, 0.93) obtained under infrared after 1 month varied slightly from the reference. The sample exposed to infrared had a lower heat capacity compared to that stored under room temperature or refrigeration. A combination of TLC and DSC measurements has been applied for assessing the stability of NIPRIMAL®. Both methods were found to be rapid, sensitive and reliable in determining its stability. It is concluded that NIPRIMAL® can be stored under any of the tested conditions without degradation. This study is a major contribution towards developing appropriate stability monitoring parameters for herbal products.
27
60423
A Sentence-to-Sentence Relation Network for Recognizing Textual Entailment
Abstract:
Over the past decade, there have been promising developments in Natural Language Processing (NLP) with several investigations of approaches focusing on Recognizing Textual Entailment (RTE). These models include models based on lexical similarities, models based on formal reasoning, and most recently deep neural models. In this paper, we present a sentence encoding model that exploits the sentence-to-sentence relation information for RTE. In terms of sentence modeling, Convolutional neural network (CNN) and recurrent neural networks (RNNs) adopt different approaches. RNNs are known to be well suited for sequence modeling, whilst CNN is suited for the extraction of n-gram features through the filters and can learn ranges of relations via the pooling mechanism. We combine the strength of RNN and CNN as stated above to present a unified model for the RTE task. Our model basically combines relation vectors computed from the phrasal representation of each sentence and final encoded sentence representations. Firstly, we pass each sentence through a convolutional layer to extract a sequence of higher-level phrase representation for each sentence from which the first relation vector is computed. Secondly, the phrasal representation of each sentence from the convolutional layer is fed into a Bidirectional Long Short Term Memory (Bi-LSTM) to obtain the final sentence representations from which a second relation vector is computed. The relations vectors are combined and then used in then used in the same fashion as attention mechanism over the Bi-LSTM outputs to yield the final sentence representations for the classification. Experiment on the Stanford Natural Language Inference (SNLI) corpus suggests that this is a promising technique for RTE.
26
39681
Cryptolepis sanguinolenta - A Medicinal Plant Used in the Treatment of Malaria, Cultivate It or Lose It
Abstract:
Medicinal plants serve as a reservoir of active ingredients for the treatment of common ailments such as cancer, malaria and diabetes. With the recent wave of health consciousness and reliance on plant based medicines, the demand for medicinal plants has increased considerably. This surge in medicinal plant use has raised great concern amongst key players (herbalist, collectors, conservationist and researchers) along the value chain about the sustainability of the raw material. The over reliance on wild crafting as a means to obtain the raw material spells doom for several of Africa’s native medicinal plant species. In this study domestication protocols for the cultivation of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta (CS), a medicinal plant used in the treatment of malaria were developed. Initial surveys were conducted, using questionnaires comprising of open and close ended questions, to gather information that would inform the domestication and cultivation of the species. A field study was then conducted to determine the plant’s cropping cycle and the effect of staking and plant age on the active ingredient (cryptolepine) concentration in its roots. Results of the survey confirmed the demand for the raw material and threw more light on the harvesting methods and intensity of CS collection from the wild. Cryptolepine concentration was found to be highest (~1.84 mg/100 mg of root material) at 289 days after planting (DAP) which coincided with the peak of root dry weight (52.8 g), signifying the best time for root harvest. Staking was found to be important for seed production. The first 105 DAP were characterized by low yields of root dry weight (13.5 g), followed by a period of rapid growth in which the root dry weight increased almost linearly until 289 DAP. Although dry matter partitioned to the vines increased towards the end of the experimental period (60%), dry matter partitioned to the roots remained fairly constant (30%) throughout the experimental period. Cryptolepine was found to increase as the plant aged and the practice of staking CS promoted pod formation. A suitable cropping cycle for the cultivation of CS was also developed.
25
1927
An Estimation of Rice Output Supply Response in Sierra Leone: A Nerlovian Model Approach
Abstract:
Rice grain is Sierra Leone’s staple food and the nation imports over 120,000 metric tons annually due to a shortfall in its cultivation. Thus, the insufficient level of the crop's cultivation in Sierra Leone is caused by many problems and this led to the endlessly widening supply and demand for the crop within the country. Consequently, this has instigated the government to spend huge money on the importation of this grain that would have been otherwise cultivated domestically at a cheaper cost. Hence, this research attempts to explore the response of rice supply with respect to its demand in Sierra Leone within the period 1980-2010. The Nerlovian adjustment model to the Sierra Leone rice data set within the period 1980-2010 was used. The estimated trend equations revealed that time had significant effect on output, productivity (yield) and area (acreage) of rice grain within the period 1980-2010 and this occurred generally at the 1% level of significance. The results showed that, almost the entire growth in output had the tendency to increase in the area cultivated to the crop. The time trend variable that was included for government policy intervention showed an insignificant effect on all the variables considered in this research. Therefore, both the short-run and long-run price response was inelastic since all their values were less than one. From the findings above, immediate actions that will lead to productivity growth in rice cultivation are required. To achieve the above, the responsible agencies should provide extension service schemes to farmers as well as motivating them on the adoption of modern rice varieties and technology in their rice cultivation ventures.
24
68817
Effect of Processing Parameters on the Physical Properties of Pineapple Pomace Based Aquafeed
Abstract:
The solid waste disposal and its management from pineapple juice processing constitute environmental contamination affecting public health. The use of this by-product called pomace has potentials to reduce cost of aquafeed. Pineapple pomace collected after juice extraction was dried and milled. The interactive effects of feeding rate (1.28, 1.44 and 1.60kg/min), screw speed (305, 355 and 405rpm), moisture content (16, 19 and 22%), temperatures (60, 80, 100 and 120°C), cutting speed (1300, 1400 and 1500rpm), pomace inclusion ratio (5, 10, 15, 20%) and open surface die (50, 75 and 100%) on the extrudate physical properties (bulk density, unit density, expansion ratio, durability and floatability) were investigated using optimal custom design (OCD) matrix and response surface methodology. The predicted values were found to be in good agreement with the experimental values for, expansion ratio, durability and floatability (R2 = 0.7970; 0.9264; 0.9098 respectively) with the exceptions of unit density and bulk density (R2 = 0.1639; 0.2768 respectively). All the extrudates showed relatively high floatability, durability. The inclusion of pineapple pomace produced less expanded and more compact textured extrudates. Results indicated that increased in the value of pineapple pomace, screw speed, feeding rate decreased unit density, bulk density, expansion ratio, durability and floatability of the extrudate. However, increasing moisture content of feed mash resulted in increase unit density and bulk density. Addition of extrusion temperature and cutting speed increased the floatability and durability of extrudate. The proportion of pineapple pomace in aquafeed extruded product was observed to have significantly lower effect on the selected responses.
23
57705
21st Century Biotechnological Research and Development Advancements for Industrial Development in India
Authors:
Abstract:
Biotechnology is a discipline which explains the use of living organisms and systems to construct a product, or we can define it as an application or technology developed to use biological systems and organisms processes for a specific use. Particularly, it includes cells and its components use for new technologies and inventions. The tools developed can be further used in diverse fields such as agriculture, industry, research and hospitals etc. The 21st century has seen a drastic development and advancement in biotechnology in India. Significant increase in Government of India&rsquo;s outlays for biotechnology over the past decade has been observed. A sectoral break up of biotechnology-based companies in India shows that most of the companies are agriculture-based companies having interests ranging from tissue culture to biopesticides. Major attention has been given by the companies in health related activities and in environmental biotechnology. The biopharmaceutical, which comprises of vaccines, diagnostic, and recombinant products is the most reliable and largest segment of the Indian Biotech industry. India has developed its vaccine markets and supplies them to various countries. Then there are the bio-services, which mainly comprise of contract researches and manufacturing services. India has made noticeable developments in the field of bio industries including manufacturing of enzymes, biofuels and biopolymers. Biotechnology is also playing a crucial and significant role in the field of agriculture. Traditional methods have been replaced by new technologies that mainly focus on GM crops, marker assisted technologies and the use of biotechnological tools to improve the quality of fertilizers and soil. It may only be a small contributor but has shown to have huge potential for growth. Bioinformatics is a computational method which helps to store, manage, arrange and design tools to interpret the extensive data gathered through experimental trials, making it important in the design of drugs.
22
72263
Spatial Variation of Weather Research and Forecast Model Rainfall Prediction over Uganda
Authors:
Abstract:
Rainfall is one of the major weather and climatic parameters affecting many sectors such as health, agriculture and water resources. Its quantitative prediction remains a challenge to weather forecasters although numerical weather prediction models are increasing being used for rainfall prediction. The performance of six convective parameterization schemes, namely the Kain-Fritsch scheme, the Betts-Miller-Janjic scheme, the Grell-Deveny scheme, the Grell-3D scheme, the Grell-Fretas scheme, the New Tiedke scheme of the weather research and forecast (WRF) model regarding quantitative rainfall prediction over Uganda is investigated using the root mean square error for the March-May (MAM) 2013 season. The MAM 2013 seasonal rainfall amount ranged from 200 mm to 900 mm over Uganda with northern region receiving comparatively lower rainfall amount (200--500 mm); western Uganda (270--550 mm); eastern Uganda (400--900 mm) and the lake Victoria basin (400--650 mm). A spatial variation in simulated rainfall amount by different convective parameterization schemes was noted with the Kain-Fritsch scheme over estimating the rainfall amount over northern Uganda (300--750 mm) but also presented comparable rainfall amounts over the eastern region of Uganda (400--900 mm). The Betts-Miller-Janjic, the Grell-Deveny, and the Grell-3D underestimated the rainfall amount over most parts of the country especially the eastern region (300--600 mm). The Grell-Fretas captured rainfall amount over the northern region (250--450 mm) but also underestimated rainfall over the lake Victoria Basin (150--300 mm) while the New Tiedke generally underestimated rainfall amount over many areas of Uganda. For deterministic rainfall prediction, the Grell-Fretas is recommended for rainfall prediction over northern Uganda while the Kain-Fritsch scheme is recommended over eastern region.
21
69722
Spatial Variation of WRF Model Rainfall Prediction over Uganda
Abstract:
Rainfall is a major climatic parameter affecting many sectors such as health, agriculture and water resources. Its quantitative prediction remains a challenge to weather forecasters although numerical weather prediction models are increasingly being used for rainfall prediction. The performance of six convective parameterization schemes, namely the Kain-Fritsch scheme, the Betts-Miller-Janjic scheme, the Grell-Deveny scheme, the Grell-3D scheme, the Grell-Fretas scheme, the New Tiedke scheme of the weather research and forecast (WRF) model regarding quantitative rainfall prediction over Uganda is investigated using the root mean square error for the March-May (MAM) 2013 season. The MAM 2013 seasonal rainfall amount ranged from 200 mm to 900 mm over Uganda with northern region receiving comparatively lower rainfall amount (200&ndash;500 mm); western Uganda (270&ndash;550 mm); eastern Uganda (400&ndash;900 mm) and the lake Victoria basin (400&ndash;650 mm). A spatial variation in simulated rainfall amount by different convective parameterization schemes was noted with the Kain-Fritsch scheme over estimating the rainfall amount over northern Uganda (300&ndash;750 mm) but also presented comparable rainfall amounts over the eastern Uganda (400&ndash;900 mm). The Betts-Miller-Janjic, the Grell-Deveny, and the Grell-3D underestimated the rainfall amount over most parts of the country especially the eastern region (300&ndash;600 mm). The Grell-Fretas captured rainfall amount over the northern region (250&ndash;450 mm) but also underestimated rainfall over the lake Victoria Basin (150&ndash;300 mm) while the New Tiedke generally underestimated rainfall amount over many areas of Uganda. For deterministic rainfall prediction, the Grell-Fretas is recommended for rainfall prediction over northern Uganda while the Kain-Fritsch scheme is recommended over eastern region.
20
34191
A Review of Teaching and Learning of Mother Tongues in Nigerian Schools; Yoruba as a Case Study
Abstract:
Taking a cue from countries such as China and Japan, there is no doubt that the teaching and learning of Mother Tongue ( MT) or Language of Immediate Environment (LIE) is a potential source of development in every country. The engine of economic, scientific, technological and political advancement would be more functional when the language of instruction for teaching and learning in schools is in the child’s mother tongue. The purpose of this paper therefore, is to delve into the genesis of the official recognition given to the teaching and learning of Nigerian languages at national level with special focus on Yoruba language. Yoruba language and other Nigerian languages were placed on a national pedestal by a Nigerian Educational Minister, Late Professor Babatunde Fafunwa, who served under the government of General Ibrahim Babangida (1985 – 1993). Through his laudable effort, the teaching and learning of Nigerian languages in schools all over the nation was incorporated officially in the national policy of education. Among all the Nigerian languages, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba were given foremost priorities because of the large population of their speakers. Since the Fafunwa era, Yoruba language has become a national subject taught in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria. However, like every new policy, its implementation has suffered several forms of criticisms and impediments from governments, policy makers, curriculum developers, school administrators, teachers and learners. This paper has been able to arrive at certain findings through oral interviews, questionnaires and evaluation of pupils/students enrolment and performances in Yoruba language with special focus on the South-west and North central regions of Nigeria. From the research carried out, some factors have been found to be responsible for the successful implementation or otherwise of Yoruba language instruction policy in some schools, colleges and higher institutions in Nigeria. In conclusion, the paper made recommendations on how the National Policy of Education would be implemented to enhance the teaching and learning of Yoruba language in all Nigerian schools.
19
71540
From Service Delivery Strikes to Anti-Immigrant March: A Paradigm Shift in the Post-Colonial Discourse of Politics of Belonging in the Twenty-First Century South Africa
Abstract:
This study aims to unravel the myth behind animosity towards foreign nationals in South Africa. Systemic violence against foreign African nationals since 2008 to date necessitates critical research with regards to migration issues connected to social upheavals. Extensive research ubiquitously tagged black-on-black violence as xenophobia or Afrophobia. In all, escalation of violence indicates a connotation of belonging. With unemployment rates approaching a crescendo, other vices have also soared in the same regard. As a result, this present generation seems cynical as the South African state has not fulfilled her obligations towards the indigent population; a situation pitching locals against foreigners. Locals have repeatedly blamed African foreign nationals for the economic downturn, using service delivery strikes to express their grievances. These strikes have continued unabatedly over the years but February 2017 marked a turning point in ‘insider-outsider’ relations as the strike was now turned to an anti-immigrant march resulting into widespread violence as the police failed to restore normalcy at some point. Over time, migration has been a harbinger of violence against the foreign black population in South Africa. Our paper encourages the state and civil society to invent new peace-building mechanisms to reduce xenophobic orchestrated violence. Our paper also contends that since the political class has hijacked the situation by using the youths for political propaganda during crises periods, a re-education of the political class and a culture of tolerance is inevitable for peace and harmony between locals and foreigners in post-apartheid South Africa.
18
116622
Multidimensional Poverty and Its Correlates among Rural Households in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Abstract:
This study investigates multidimensional poverty, and its correlates among rural households in Sekhukhune and Capricorn District municipalities (SDM & CDM) in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Primary data were collected from 407 rural households selected through purposive and simple random sampling techniques. Analytical techniques employed include descriptive statistics, principal component analysis (PCA), and the Alkire Foster (A-F) methodology. The results of the descriptive statistics showed there are more females (66%) than males (34%) in rural areas of Limpopo Province, with about 45% of them having secondary school education as the highest educational level attained and only about 3% do not have formal education. In the analysis of deprivation, eight dimensions of deprivation, constructed from 21 variables, were identified using the PCA. These dimensions include type and condition of dwelling water and sanitation, educational attainment and income, type of fuel for cooking and heating, access to clothing and cell phone, assets and fuel for light, health condition, crowding, and child health. In identifying the poor with poverty cut-off (0.13) of all indicators, about 75.9% of the rural households are deprived in 25% of the total dimensions, with the adjusted headcount ratio (M0) being 0.19. Multidimensional poverty estimates showed higher estimates of poor rural households with 71%, compared to 29%, which fall below the income poverty line. The study conducted poverty decomposition, using sub-groups within the area by examining regions and household characteristics. In SDM, there are more multidimensionally poor households than in CDM. The water and sanitation dimension is the largest contributor to the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) in rural areas of Limpopo Province. The findings can, therefore, assist in better design of welfare policy and target poverty alleviation programs and as well help in efficient resource allocation at the provincial and local municipality levels.
17
92608
Robustness of the Deep Chroma Extractor and Locally-Normalized Quarter Tone Filters in Automatic Chord Estimation under Reverberant Conditions
Abstract:
In MIREX 2016 (http://www.music-ir.org/mirex), the deep neural network (DNN)-Deep Chroma Extractor, proposed by Korzeniowski and Wiedmer, reached the highest score in an audio chord recognition task. In the present paper, this tool is assessed under acoustic reverberant environments and distinct source-microphone distances. The evaluation dataset comprises The Beatles and Queen datasets. These datasets are sequentially re-recorded with a single microphone in a real reverberant chamber at four reverberation times (0 -anechoic-, 1, 2, and 3 s, approximately), as well as four source-microphone distances (32, 64, 128, and 256 cm). It is expected that the performance of the trained DNN will dramatically decrease under these acoustic conditions with signals degraded by room reverberation and distance to the source. Recently, the effect of the bio-inspired Locally-Normalized Cepstral Coefficients (LNCC), has been assessed in a text independent speaker verification task using speech signals degraded by additive noise at different signal-to-noise ratios with variations of recording distance, and it has also been assessed under reverberant conditions with variations of recording distance. LNCC showed a performance so high as the state-of-the-art Mel Frequency Cepstral Coefficient filters. Based on these results, this paper proposes a variation of locally-normalized triangular filters called Locally-Normalized Quarter Tone (LNQT) filters. By using the LNQT spectrogram, robustness improvements of the trained Deep Chroma Extractor are expected, compared with classical triangular filters, and thus compensating the music signal degradation improving the accuracy of the chord recognition system.
16
57739
Optimizing the Insertion of Renewables in the Colombian Power Sector
Abstract:
Colombia is rich in natural resources and greatly focuses on the exploitation of water for hydroelectricity purposes. Alternative cleaner energy sources, such as solar and wind power, have been largely neglected despite: a) its abundance, b) the complementarities between hydro, solar and wind power, and c) the cost competitiveness of renewable technologies. The current limited mix of energy sources creates considerable weaknesses for the system, particularly when facing extreme dry weather conditions, such as El Niño event. In the past, El Niño have exposed the truly consequences of a system heavily dependent on hydropower, i.e. loss of power supply, high energy production costs, and loss of overall competitiveness for the country. Nonetheless, it is expected that the participation of hydroelectricity will increase in the near future. In this context, this paper proposes a stochastic lineal programming model to optimize the insertion of renewable energy systems (RES) into the Colombian electricity sector. The model considers cost-based generation competition between traditional energy technologies and alternative RES. This work evaluates the financial, environmental, and technical implications of different combinations of technologies. Various scenarios regarding the future evolution of costs of the technologies are considered to conduct sensitivity analysis of the solutions – to assess the extent of the participation of the RES in the Colombian power sector. Optimization results indicate that, even in the worst case scenario, where costs remain constant, the Colombian power sector should diversify its portfolio of technologies and invest strongly in solar and wind power technologies. The diversification through RES will contribute to make the system less vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, reduce the overall system costs, cut CO2 emissions, and decrease the chances of having national blackout events in the future. In contrast, the business as usual scenario indicates that the system will turn more costly and less reliable.
15
93972
Strengthening Facility-Based Systems to Improve Access to In-Patient Care for Sick Newborns in Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana
Abstract:
Background: The Every Newborn Action Plan provides evidence–based interventions to end preventable deaths in high burden countries. Brong Ahafo Region is one of ten regions in Ghana with less than half of its district hospitals having sick newborn units. Facility-based neonatal care is not prioritized and under-funded, and there is also inadequate knowledge and competence to manage the sick. The aim of this intervention was to make available in–patient care for sick newborns in all 19 district hospitals through the strengthening of facility-based systems. Methods: With the development and dissemination of the National Newborn Strategy and Action Plan 2014-2018, the country was able to attract PATH which provided the region with basic resuscitation equipment, supported hospital providers’ capacity building in Helping Babies Breathe, Essential Care of Every Baby, Infection Prevention and Management and held a symposia on managing the sick newborn. Newborn advocacy was promoted through newborn champions at the facility and community levels. Hospital management was then able to mobilize resources from communities, corporate organizations and from internally generated funds; created or expanded sick newborn care units and provided essential medicines and equipment. Kangaroo Mother Care was initiated in 6 hospitals. Pediatric specialist outreach services initiated comprised telephone consultations, teaching ward rounds and participating in perinatal death audits meetings. Newborn data capture and management was improved through the provision and training on the use of standard registers provided from the national level. Results: From February 2015 to November 2017, hospitals with sick newborn units increased from 7 to 19 (37%-100%). 180 pieces each of newborn ventilation bags and masks size 0, 1 and penguin suction bulbs were distributed to the hospitals, in addition to 20 newborn mannequin sets and 90 small clinical reminder posters. 802 providers (96.9%) were trained in resuscitation, of which 96% were successfully followed up in 6 weeks, 91% in 6 months and 80% in 12 months post-training. 53 clinicians (65%) were trained and mentored to manage sick newborns. 56 specialist teaching ward rounds were conducted. Data completeness improved from 92.6% - 99.9%. Availability of essential medicines improved from 11% to 100%. Number of hospital cots increased from 116 to 248 (214%). Cot occupancy rate increased from 57.4% to 92.5%. Hospitals with phototherapy equipment increased from 0 to 12 (63%). Hospitals with incubators increased from 1 to 12 (5%-63%). Newborn deaths among admissions reduced from 6.3% to 5.4%. Conclusion: Access to in-patient care increased significantly. Newborn advocacy successfully mobilized resources required for strengthening facility –based systems.
14
34174
The Impacts of Foreign Culture on Yoruba Crime Films
Abstract:
This paper focuses on the evolution and development of Yoruba theatre during the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial years and how Yoruba crime films have been influenced by foreign culture. It emphasizes on the transition of theatre from the ground to the stage and from the stage to the screen with emphasis on the contribution of late Chief Hubert Ogunde who is regarded as the doyen of Yoruba and the entire Nigerian theatre. Using the Theory of Post-colonialism, two modern Yoruba crime films are carefully selected from the numerous available ones to highlight and explain the various aspects of Yoruba films that have been greatly influenced by the foreign cultural practices. The questions to be answered here include 'Which attitudes or cultural practices are widely believed to be that of Yoruba?', 'To what extent are they projected in the selected Yoruba crime films?', 'Which attitudes or cultural practices are widely believed to be foreign among the Yoruba people?', 'To what extent are they projected in the selected Yoruba crime films?'. Although, the British colonial masters granted political independence to Nigeria on October 1, 1960, but a seed of multi-culture and counterculture had been sown into the lives of the Yoruba people. Under the literature review, there is an intensive illumination on some scholars’ ideas and views on what constitutes Yoruba culture, the evolution and development of drama, theatre and films in the Yoruba society and the nature of criminals and criminalities in the Yoruba society and the western world in the pre-colonial and post-colonial times. Furthermore, the processes of interaction between man, his values and his thoughts are also highlighted – a situation that procreates criminal or benevolent acts. Consequently, the paper dwells on how colonialism, despite its so-called merits put the gradual process of urbanization and civilization among the originally rustic, cohesive and moralistic Yoruba society on a supersonic speed that culminated in acquisition of attitudes that are alien to the Yoruba culture. Since a drama is nothing but the theatrical replication of what occurs in the real life, the paper then focuses on the submission that Yoruba crime films have experienced a serious foreign influence in form and content as a result of this encounter. In conclusion, the findings of the impact of foreign cultural practices on Yoruba crime films are highlighted and expatiated with a view to recommending a few steps that could be taken to retain the projection of the original Yoruba cultural practices in Yoruba films, especially the ones that have crime as a theme.
13
56628
Sediment Transport Monitoring in the Port of Veracruz Expansion Project
Abstract:
The construction of most coastal infrastructure developments around the world are usually made considering wave height, current velocities and river discharges; however, little effort has been paid to surveying sediment transport during dredging or the modification to currents outside the ports or marinas during and after the construction. This study shows a complete survey during the construction of one of the largest ports of the Gulf of Mexico. An anchored Acoustic Doppler Current Velocity profiler (ADCP), a towed ADCP and a combination of model outputs were used at the Veracruz port construction in order to describe the hourly sediment transport and current modifications in and out of the new port. Owing to the stability of the system the new port was construction inside Vergara Bay, a low wave energy system with a tidal range of up to 0.40 m. The results show a two-current system pattern within the bay. The north side of the bay has an anticyclonic gyre, while the southern part of the bay shows a cyclonic gyre. Sediment transport trajectories were made every hour using the anchored ADCP, a numerical model and the weekly data obtained from the towed ADCP within the entire bay. The sediment transport trajectories were carefully tracked since the bay is surrounded by coral reef structures which are sensitive to sedimentation rate and water turbidity. The survey shows that during dredging and rock input used to build the wave breaker sediments were locally added (&lt; 2500 m2) and local currents disperse it in less than 4 h. While the river input located in the middle of the bay and the sewer system plant may add more than 10 times this amount during a rainy day or during the tourist season. Finally, the coastal line obtained seasonally with a drone suggests that the southern part of the bay has not been modified by the construction of the new port located in the northern part of the bay, owing to the two subsystem division of the bay.
12
77369
Critical Evaluation of the Transformative Potential of Artificial Intelligence in Law: A Focus on the Judicial System
Abstract:
Amidst all suspicions and cynicism raised by the legal fraternity, Artificial Intelligence has found its way into the legal system and has revolutionized the conventional forms of legal services delivery. Be it legal argumentation and research or resolution of complex legal disputes; artificial intelligence has crept into all legs of modern day legal services. Its impact has been largely felt by way of big data, legal expert systems, prediction tools, e-lawyering, automated mediation, etc., and lawyers around the world are forced to upgrade themselves and their firms to stay in line with the growth of technology in law. Researchers predict that the future of legal services would belong to artificial intelligence and that the age of human lawyers will soon rust. But as far as the Judiciary is concerned, even in the developed countries, the system has not fully drifted away from the orthodoxy of preferring Natural Intelligence over Artificial Intelligence. Since Judicial decision-making involves a lot of unstructured and rather unprecedented situations which have no single correct answer, and looming questions of legal interpretation arise in most of the cases, discretion and Emotional Intelligence play an unavoidable role. Added to that, there are several ethical, moral and policy issues to be confronted before permitting the intrusion of Artificial Intelligence into the judicial system. As of today, the human judge is the unrivalled master of most of the judicial systems around the globe. Yet, scientists of Artificial Intelligence claim that robot judges can replace human judges irrespective of how daunting the complexity of issues is and how sophisticated the cognitive competence required is. They go on to contend that even if the system is too rigid to allow robot judges to substitute human judges in the recent future, Artificial Intelligence may still aid in other judicial tasks such as drafting judicial documents, intelligent document assembly, case retrieval, etc., and also promote overall flexibility, efficiency, and accuracy in the disposal of cases. By deconstructing the major challenges that Artificial Intelligence has to overcome in order to successfully invade the human- dominated judicial sphere, and critically evaluating the potential differences it would make in the system of justice delivery, the author tries to argue that penetration of Artificial Intelligence into the Judiciary could surely be enhancive and reparative, if not fully transformative.
11
39118
Caffeic Acid in Cosmetic Formulations: An Innovative Assessment
Abstract:
Phenolic compounds are abundant in the Brazilian plant kingdom and they are part of a large and complex group of organic substances. Cinnamic acids are part of this group of organic compounds, and caffeic acid (CA) is one of its representatives. Antioxidants are compounds which act as free radical scavengers and, in other cases, such as metal chelators, both in the initiation stage and the propagation of oxidative process. The tyrosinase, polyphenol oxidase, is an enzyme that acts at various stages of melanin biosynthesis within the melanocytes and is considered a key molecule in this process. Some phenolic compounds exhibit inhibitory effects on melanogenesis by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzymatic activity and therefore has been the subject of studies. However, few studies have reported the effectiveness of these products and their safety. Objectives: To assess the inhibitory activity of tyrosinase, the antioxidant activity of CA and its cytotoxic potential. The method to evaluate the inhibitory activity of tyrosinase aims to assess the reduction transformation of L-dopa into dopaquinone reactions catalyzed by the enzyme. For evaluating the antioxidant activity was used the analytical methodology of DPPH radical inhibition. The cytotoxicity evaluation was carried out using the MTT method (3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide), a colorimetric assay which determines the amount of insoluble violet crystals formed by the reduction of MTT in the mitochondria of living cells. Based on the results obtained during the study, CA has low activity as a depigmenting agent. However, it is a more potent antioxidant than ascorbic acid (AA), since a lower amount of CA is sufficient to inhibit 50% of DPPH radical. The results are promising since CA concentration that promoted 50% toxicity in HepG2 cells (IC50=781.8 μg/mL) is approximately 330 to 400 times greater than the concentration required to inhibit 50% of DPPH (IC50 DPPH= 2.39 μg/mL) and ABTS (IC50 ABTS= 1.96 μg/mL) radicals scavenging activity, respectively. The maximum concentration of caffeic acid tested (1140 mg /mL) did not reach 50% of cell death in HaCat cells. Thus, it was concluded that the caffeic acid does not cause toxicity in HepG2 and HaCat cells in the concentrations required to promote antioxidant activity in vitro, and it can be applied in topical products.
10
70679
Screening Maize for Compatibility with F. Oxysporum to Enhance Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze Resistance
Abstract:
Striga asiatica is among the leading abiotic constraints to maize production under small-holder farming communities in southern African. However, confirmed sources of resistance to the parasitic weed are still limited. Conventional breeding programmes have been progressing slowly due to the complex nature of the inheritance of Striga resistance, hence there is a need for more innovative approaches. This study aimed to achieve partial resistance as well as to breed for compatibility with Fusarium oxysporum fsp strigae, a soil fungus that is highly specific in its pathogenicity. The agar gel and paper roll assays in conjunction with a glass house pot trial were done to select genotypes based on their potential to stimulate germination of Striga and to test the efficacy of Fusarium oxysporum as a biocontrol agent. Results from agar gel assays showed a moderate to high potential in the release of Strigalactones among the 33 OPVs. Maximum Striga germination distances from the host root of 1.38 cm and up to 46% germination were observed in most of the populations. Considerable resistance was observed in a landrace ‘8lines’ which had the least Striga germination percentage (19%) with a maximum distance of 0.93 cm compared to the resistant check Z-DPLO-DTC1 that had 23% germination at a distance of 1.4cm. The number of fusarium colony forming units significantly deferred (P < 0.05) amongst the genotypes growing between germination papers. The number of crown roots, length of primary root and fresh weight of shoot and roots were highly correlated with concentration of fusarium macrospore counts. Pot trials showed significant differences between the fusarium coated and the uncoated treatments in terms of plant height, leaf counts, anthesis-silks intervals, Striga counts, Striga damage rating and Striga vigour. Striga emergence counts and Striga flowers were low in fusarium treated pots. Plants in fusarium treated pots had non-significant differences in height with the control treatment. This suggests that foxy 2 reduces the impact of Striga damage severity. Variability within fusarium treated genotypes with respect to traits under evaluation indicates the varying degree of compatibility with the biocontrol.
9
108302
The Stereotypical Images of Marginalized Women in the Poetry of Rita Dove
Abstract:
This paper attempts to shed light upon the stereotypical images of marginalized black women as shown through the poetry of Rita Dove. Meanwhile, it explores how stereotypical images held by the society and public perceptions perpetuate the marginalization of black women. Dove is considered one of the most fundamental African-American poets who devoted her writings to explore the problem of identity that confronted marginalized women in America. Besides tackling the issue of black women’s stereotypical images, this paper focuses upon the psychological damage which the black women had suffered from due to their stripped identity. In ‘Thomas and Beulah’, Dove reflects the black woman’s longing for her homeland in order to make up for her lost identity. This poem represents atavistic feelings deal with certain recurrent images, both aural and visual, like the image of Beulah who represents the African-American woman who searches for an identity, as she is being denied and humiliated one in the newly founded society. In an attempt to protest against the stereotypical mule image that had been imposed upon black women in America, Dove in ‘On the Bus with Rosa Parks’ tries to ignite the beaten spirits to struggle for their own rights by revitalizing the rebellious nature and strong determination of the historical figure ‘Rosa Parks’ that sparked the Civil Rights Movement. In ‘Daystar’, Dove proves that black women are subjected to double-edged oppression; firstly, in terms of race as a black woman in an unjust white society that violates her rights due to her black origins and secondly, in terms of gender as a member of the female sex that is meant to exist only to serve man’s needs. Similarly, in the ‘Adolescence’ series, Dove focuses on the double marginalization which the black women had experienced. It concludes that the marginalization of black women has resulted from the domination of the masculine world and the oppression of the white world. Moreover, Dove’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ investigates the African-American women’s problem of estrangement and identity crisis in America. It also sheds light upon the psychological consequences that resulted from the violation of marginalized women’s identity. Furthermore, this poem shows the black women’s self-debasement, helplessness, and double consciousness that emanate from the sense of uprootedness. Finally, this paper finds out that the negative, debased and inferior stereotypical image held by the society did not only contribute to the marginalization of black women but also silenced and muted their voices.
8
43123
High Rate of Dual Carriage of Hepatitis B Surface and Envelope Antigen in Gombe in Infants and Young Children, North-East Nigeria: 2000-2015
Abstract:
Introduction: Hepatitis B infection is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, where transmission predominantly occurs in infants and children by perinatal and horizontal routes. The risk of chronic infection peaks when infection is acquired early. Materials and Methods: Records of Hepatitis B surface and envelope antigen results in Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe between May 2000 and May 2015 were retrieved and analyzed. Results: Paediatric outpatient visits and in-patient admissions were 64,193 accounting for 13% of total. Individuals tested for Hepatitis B surface antigenaemia were 23,866. Children aged 0-18 years constituted 11% (2,626). Among children tested, males accounted for 52.8% (1386/2626) and females 47.2% (1240/2626). Infants contributed 65 (2.3%); 1-4 year old children 309 (11.7%); 5-9 year old children 564 (21.4%) and adolescents 1717 (65.1%). HbSAg sero-positivity was 18% (496/2626) among children tested. The highest number of children tested per year was in 2009 (518) and 2014 (569) and the lowest, in the first study year (62). The highest sero-positivity rate was in 2010; 21.7% (54/255). Children aged 0-18years accounted for 10.5% (496/4720) of individuals with Hepatitis B surface antigenaemia. Sero-positivity was 3.1% (2/65); 12.9% (40/309); 18.1% (102/564); and 20.5% (352/1717) in infants, children ages 1-4years, 5-9years and adolescents respectively. 2.5% (1/40) and 4% (1/25) of male and female infants respectively had HbSAg. Among children aged 1-4years, 15.1% (30/198) of males and 9.0% (10/111) of females were seropositive; 14.8% (52/350) and 22% (50/224) of male and female 5-9year old children respectively has HbSAg. 14.3% (138/943) of adolescent females had Hepatitis B surface antigenaemia. Adolescent males demonstrated the highest sero-positivity rate 27.6% (214/774). 97.3% (483/496) of children who demonstrated Hepatitis B surface antigenaemia were tested for dual carriage with the e antigen. Males accounted for 296/483 (63.1%) and females 187/483 (36.9%). Infants constituted 0.97% (4/482); children aged 1-4years, 5-9years and adolescents were 6.8% (33/483); 20.9% (100/483) and 71.3% (342/483) respectively. 17.6% (85/483) of children tested had HBe antigenaemia. Of these, males accounted for 69.4% (59/85). 1.2% (1/85) were infants; 9.4% (8/85%) 1-4years; 22.3% (19/85) 5-9years and 68.2% (58/85) adolescents. 25% (1/4) infants; 24% (8/33) children aged 1-4 years; 19% (19/100) 5-9 year old children and 16.9% (58/342) adolescents had dual carriage. Infants and young children demonstrated the highest rate of dual carriage but were less likely to be tested for dual carriage 37/42 (88%) than their 5-9 year old 98% (100/102) and adolescent 342/352 (97%) counterparts. HB e antigen positivity rate was 45.4% (59/130) males and 36.0% (27/75) in females. Conclusion: Hepatitis B surface antigenaemia is high among adolescent males. Infants and young children who had HBSAg had the highest rate of envelope antigen carriage. Testing in pregnancy, vaccination programmes and prophylaxis need to be strengthened.
7
39723
Experimental Determination of Water Productivity of Improved Cassava Varieties Propagation under Rain-Fed Condition in Tropical Environment
Abstract:
Researchers in developing countries have worked on improving cassava resistance to diseases and pests, high yielding and early maturity However, water management has received little or no attention as cassava cultivation in Sub-Saharan Africa depended on available precipitation (rain-fed condition). Therefore the need for water management in Agricultural crop production cannot be overemphasized. As other sectors compete with agricultural sector for fresh water (which is not readily available), there is need to increase water productivity in agricultural production. Experimentation was conducted to examine water use, growth and yield of improved cassava varieties under rain fed condition using Latin- square design with four replications. Four improved disease free stem cassava varieties TMS (30572, 980505, 920326 and 090581) were planted and growth parameters of the varieties were monitored for 90 and 120 days after planting (DAP). Effective rainfall useful for the plant growth was calculated using CROPWAT8 for Windows. Results indicated TMS090581 was having the highest tuber yield and plant height while TMS30572 had highest number of nodes. Tuber stem and leaf water productivities at 90 and 120 DAP of TMS (30572, 980505, 920326 and 090581) are (1.27 and 3.58, 1.44 and 2.35, 0.89 and 1.86, 1.64 and 3.77) kg/m3 (1.56 and 2.59, 1.95 and 2.02, 1.98 and 2.05, 1.95 and 2.18) kg/m3, and (1.34 and 2.32, 1.94 and 2.16, 1.57 and 1.40, 1.27 and 1.80) kg/m3 respectively. Based on tuber water productivity TMS090581 are recommended while TMS30572 are recommended based on leaf and stem productivity in water scarce regions.Experimentation was conducted to examine water use, growth and yield of improved cassava varieties under rain fed condition using Latin- square design with four replications. Four improved disease free stem cassava varieties TMS (30572, 980505, 920326 and 090581) were planted and growth parameters of the varieties were monitored for 90 and 120 days after planting (DAP). Effective rainfall useful for the plant growth was calculated using CROPWAT8 for Windows. Results indicated TMS090581 was having the highest tuber yield and plant height while TMS30572 had the highest number of nodes. Tuber, stem and leaf water productivities at 90 and 120 DAP of TMS (30572, 980505, 920326 and 090581) are (1.27 and 3.58, 1.44 and 2.35, 0.89 and 1.86, 1.64 and 3.77) kg/m3 (1.56 and 2.59, 1.95 and 2.02, 1.98 and 2.05, 1.95 and 2.18) kg/m3, and (1.34 and 2.32, 1.94 and 2.16, 1.57 and 1.40, 1.27 and 1.80) kg/m3 respectively. Based on tuber water productivity TMS090581 are recommended while TMS30572 are recommended based on leaf and stem productivity in water scarce regions
6
43126
Dual Carriage of Hepatitis B Surface and Envelope Antigen in Adults in the Poorest Region of Nigeria: 2000-2015
Abstract:
Introduction: Hepatitis B infection continues to be a serious global health problem with about 2 billion people infected worldwide, many of these in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest incidence, with a prevalence of 10-15%. Methods: Records of Hepatitis B surface and envelope antigen test results in adults in Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe between May 2000 and May 2015 were retrieved and analyzed. Findings: Adult out-patient consultations and in-patient admissions were 343,083 and 67,761 respectively, accounting for 87% of total. Hepatitis B surface antigenaemia was tested for in 23,888 adults and children. 88.9% (21240) were adults. Males constituted 56% (11902/21240) and females 44% (9211/21240). 5104 (24.0%) of tested individuals were 19-25years; 12,039 (56.7%) 26-45years; 21119 (9.0%) 46-55years; 2.8% (590/21240) and 766 (3.6%) >65years. Among adult males, 17% (2133/11902) was contributed by ages 19-25. 58% (7017/11902), 11.9% (1421/11902), 6.4% (765/11902) and 4.7% (563/11902) of males were 26-45 years old, 46-55 years old and 56-65 years and >65year old respectively. Adults aged 19-25years, 26-45 years, 46-55years, 56-65 and > 65years each constituted 32% (2966/9211); 54.4% (5009/9211); 7.4% (684/9211), 3.8% (350/9211) and 2.2% (201/9211) of females respectively. 16.2% (3431/21,240) demonstrated Hepatitis B surface antigenaemia. The sero-positivity rate was 16.9% (865//5104) between 19-25years, 21.2% (2559/12,039) among 26-45year old individuals. 17.9% (377/2111); 14.1% (83/590) and 7.3% (56/766) of 46-55year old, 56-65year old and >65year old individuals screened were seropositive. The highest sero-positivity rate was found in male young adults aged 19-25years 27.9% (398/1426) and lowest in elderly males 7.4% (28/377). HBe antigen testing rate among HbSAg seropositive individuals was 97.3% (3338/3431). Males constituted 59.7% (1992/3338) and females 40.3% (1345/3338). 25.3% (844/3338) were aged 19-25years; 61.1% (2039/3338) 26-45years; 10.2% (340/3338) 46-55years; 2.7% (90/3338) 56-65years and 0.7% >65years old. HB e antigenaemia was positive in 8.2% (275/3338) of those tested. 41% (113/275); 50.2% (138/275); 5.4% (15/275); 1.8% (5/275) and 1.1 (3/275) of HB e sero-positivity was among age groups 19-25, 26-45, 46-55, 56-65 and > 65year old individuals. Dual sero-positivity rate was highest 13% (113/844) in young adults 19-25years and lowest between 46-55years; 15/340 (4.4%). 4.2% (15/360); 13.5% (69/512); 6.7% (90/1348); 4.6% (10/214); 5% (2/40) and 6.7% (1/15) of males aged 19-25; 26-45; 46-55; 56-65; and >65years had HB e antigenaemia respectively. Among females - 27/293 (9.2%) aged 19-25; 26/500 (5.2%) 26-45; 2/84 (2.4%) 46-55; 1/12 (8.3%) 56-65 and 1/9(11.1%) >65years had dual antigenaemia. In women of childbearing age, 6.9% (53/793) had a dual carriage. Conclusion: Dual hepatitis B surface and envelope antigenaemia are highest in young adult males. This will have significant implications for the development of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma.
5
56681
Topographic Coast Monitoring Using UAV Photogrammetry: A Case Study in Port of Veracruz Expansion Project
Abstract:
Topographical changes in coastal areas are usually assessed with airborne LIDAR and conventional photogrammetry. In recent times Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have been used several in photogrammetric applications including coastline evolution. However, its use goes further by using the points cloud associated to generate beach Digital Elevation Models (DEM). We present a methodology for monitoring coastal topographic changes along a 50 km coastline in Veracruz, Mexico using high-resolution images (less than 10 cm ground resolution) and dense points cloud captured with an UAV. This monitoring develops in the context of the port of Veracruz expansion project which construction began in 2015 and intends to characterize coast evolution and prevent and mitigate project impacts on coastal environments. The monitoring began with a historical coastline reconstruction since 1979 to 2015 using aerial photography and Landsat imagery. We could define some patterns: the northern part of the study area showed accretion while the southern part of the study area showed erosion. Since the study area is located off the port of Veracruz, a touristic and economical Mexican urban city, where coastal development structures have been built since 1979 in a continuous way, the local beaches of the touristic area are been refilled constantly. Those areas were not described as accretion since every month sand-filled trucks refill the sand beaches located in front of the hotel area. The construction of marinas and the comitial port of Veracruz, the old and the new expansion were made in the erosion part of the area. Northward from the City of Veracruz the beaches were described as accretion areas while southward from the city, the beaches were described as erosion areas. One of the problems is the expansion of the new development in the southern area of the city using the beach view as an incentive to buy front beach houses. We assessed coastal changes between seasons using high-resolution images and also points clouds during 2016 and preliminary results confirm that UAVs can be used in permanent coast monitoring programs with excellent performance and detail.
4
53428
Study of the Removal Efficiency of Azo-Dyes Using Xanthan as Sequestering Agent
Abstract:
Introduction: The contamination of water with the azo-dye is a problem worldwide as although wastewater contaminate is treated in a municipal sewage system, still contain a considerable amount of dyes. In the present, there are different processes denominated tertiary method in which it is possible to lower the concentration of the dye. One of these methods is by adsorption onto various materials which can be organic or inorganic materials. The xanthan is a biomaterial as removal agents to decrease the dye content in aqueous solution. The Zimm-Bragg model described the experimental isotherms obtained when this biopolymer was used in the removal of textile dyes. Nevertheless, it was not established if a possible correlation between dye structure and removal efficiency exists. In this sense, the principal objective of this report is to propose a qualitative relationship between the structure of three azo-dyes (Congo Red (CR), Methyl Red (MR) and Methyl Orange (MO)) and their removal efficiency from aqueous environment when xanthan are used as dye sequestering agents. Methods: The dyes were subjected to different pH and ionic strength values to obtain the conditions of maximum dye removal. Afterward, these conditions were used to perform the adsorption isotherm as was reported in the previous study in our group. The Zimm-Bragg model was used to describe the experimental data and the parameters of nucleation (Ku) and cooperativity (U) were obtained by optimization using the R statistical software. The spectra from UV-Visible (aqueous solution), Infrared absorption and Raman spectroscopies (dry samples) were obtained from the biopolymer-dye complex. Results: The removal percent with xanthan in each dye are as follows: with CR had 99.98 % when the pH is 12 and ionic strength is 10.12, with MR had 84.79 % when the pH is 9.5 and ionic strength is 43 and finally the MO had 30 % in pH 4 and 72. It can be seen that when xanthan is used to remove the dyes, exists a lower dependence between structure and removal efficiency. This may be due to the different tendency to form aggregates of each dye. This aggregation capacity and the charge of each dye resulting from the pH and ionic strength values of aqueous solutions are key factors in the dye removal. The experimental isotherm of MR was only that adequately described by Zimm-Bragg model. Because with the CR had the 100 % of remove thus is very difficult obtain de experimental isotherm and finally MO had results fluctuating and therefore was impossible get the accurate data. Conclusions: The study of the removal of three dyes with xanthan as dye sequestering agents suggests that aggregation capacity of dyes and the charge resulting from structural characteristics such as molecular weight and functional groups have a relationship with the removal efficiency. Acknowledgements: We are gratefully acknowledged support for this project by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, México (CONACyT, Grant No. 632694.)
3
26491
Comparison of Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Lean Versus Overweight/Obese Peri-Urban Female Adolescent School Learners in Mthatha, South Africa: A Pilot Case Control Study
Abstract:
Background: Childhood and adolescent obesity is an important predictor of adult cardiometabolic diseases. Current data on age- and gender-specific cardiometabolic risk factors are lacking in the peri-urban Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. However, such information is important in designing innovative strategies to promote healthy living among children and adolescents. The purpose of this pilot study was to compare and determine the extent of cardiometabolic risk factors between samples of lean and overweight/obese adolescent population in a peri-urban township of South Africa. Methods: In this case-control study, age-matched, non-pregnant and non-lactating female adolescents consisting of equal number of cases (50 overweight/obese) and control (50 lean) participated in the study. Fasting venous blood samples were obtained for total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglyceride (Trig), highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and blood sugar. Anthropometric measurements included weight, height, waist and hip circumferences. Body mass index was calculated. Blood pressure was measured; and metabolic syndrome was assessed using appropriate diagnostic criteria for children and adolescents. Results: Of the 76 participants with complete data, 12/38 of the overweight/obese and 1/38 of the lean group met the criteria for adolescent metabolic syndrome. All cardiometabolic risk factors were elevated in the overweight/obese group compared with the lean group: low HDL-C (RR = 2.21), elevated TC (RR = 1.23), elevated LDL-C (RR = 1.42), elevated Trig (RR = 1.73), and elevated hsCRP (RR = 1.9). There were significant atherosclerotic indices among the overweight/obese group compared with the lean group: TC/HDL and LDL/HDL (2.99±0.91 vs 2.63±0.48; p=0.016 and 1.73±0.61 vs 1.41±0.46; p= 0.014, respectively). Conclusion: There are multiple cardiometabolic risk factors among the overweight/obese female adolescent group compared with lean adolescent group in the study. Female adolescent who are overweight and obese have higher relative risks of developing cardiometabolic diseases compared with their lean counterparts in the peri-urban Mthatha, South Africa. School health programme focusing on promoting physical exercise, healthy eating and keeping appropriate weight are needed in the country.
2
108861
Literature Review on the Controversies and Changes in the Insanity Defense since the Wild Beast Standard in 1723 until the Federal Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984
Authors:
Abstract:
Many variables led to the changes in the insanity defense since the Wild Beast Standard of 1723 until the Federal Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984. The insanity defense is used in criminal trials and argued that the defendant is ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ because the individual was unable to distinguish right from wrong during the time they were breaking the law. The issue that surrounds whether or not to use the insanity defense in the criminal court depends on the mental state of the defendant at the time the criminal act was committed. This leads us to the question of did the defendant know right from wrong when they broke the law? In 1723, The Wild Beast Test stated that to be exempted from punishment the individual is totally deprived of their understanding and memory and doth not know what they are doing. The Wild Beast Test became the standard in England for over seventy-five years. In 1800, James Hadfield attempted to assassinate King George III. He only made the attempt because he was having delusional beliefs. The jury and the judge gave a verdict of not guilty. However, to legal confine him; the Criminal Lunatics Act was enacted. Individuals that were deemed as ‘criminal lunatics’ and were given a verdict of not guilty would be taken into custody and not be freed into society. In 1843, the M'Naghten test required that the individual did not know the quality or the wrongfulness of the offense at the time they committed the criminal act(s). Daniel M'Naghten was acquitted on grounds of insanity. The M'Naghten Test is still a modern concept of the insanity defense used in many courts today. The Irresistible Impulse Test was enacted in the United States in 1887. The Irresistible Impulse Test suggested that offenders that could not control their behavior while they were committing a criminal act were not deterrable by the criminal sanctions in place; therefore no purpose would be served by convicting the offender. Due to the criticisms of the latter two contentions, the federal District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled in 1954 to adopt the ‘product test’ by Sir Isaac Ray for insanity. The Durham Rule also known as the ‘product test’, stated an individual is not criminally responsible if the unlawful act was the product of mental disease or defect. Therefore, the two questions that need to be asked and answered are (1) did the individual have a mental disease or defect at the time they broke the law? and (2) was the criminal act the product of their disease or defect? The Durham courts failed to clearly define ‘mental disease’ or ‘product.’ Therefore, trial courts had difficulty defining the meaning of the terms and the controversy continued until 1972 when the Durham rule was overturned in most places. Therefore, the American Law Institute combined the M'Naghten test with the irresistible impulse test and The United States Congress adopted an insanity test for the federal courts in 1984.
1
80548
Performance of a Lytic Bacteriophage Cocktail against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Conditions That Simulate the Cystic Fibrosis Lung Environment
Abstract:
Objectives: The cystic fibrosis (CF) lung is a unique microbiological niche, wherein harmful bacteria persist for many years despite antibiotic therapy. Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa), the major culprit leading to lung decline and increased mortality, thrives in the lungs of patients with CF due to several factors that have been linked with poor antibiotic performance. Our group is investigating alternative therapies including bacteriophage cocktails with which we have previously demonstrated efficacy against planktonic organisms. In this study, we explored the effects of a 4-phage cocktail on Pa grown in two different conditions, intended to mirror the CF lung: a) alongside standard antibiotic treatment in pre-formed biofilms (structures formed by Pa-secreted exopolysaccharides which provide both physical and cell division barriers to antimicrobials and host defenses and b) in an acidic environment postulated to be present in the CF airway due both to the primary defect in bicarbonate secretion and secondary effects of inflammation. Methods: 16 Pa strains from CF patients at the Royal Brompton Hospital were selected based on sensitivity to a) ceftazidime/ tobramycin and b) the phage cocktail in a conventional plaque assay. To assess efficacy of phage in biofilms, 96 well plates with Pa (5x10⁷ CFU/ ml) were incubated in static conditions, allowing adherent bacterial colonies to form for 24 hr. Ceftazidime and tobramycin (both at 2 × MIC) were added, +/- bacteriophage (4x10⁸ PFU/mL) for a further 24 hr. Cell viability and biomass were estimated using fluorescent resazurin and crystal violet assays, respectively. To evaluate the effect of pH, strains were grown planktonically in shaking 96 well plates at pH 6.0, 6.6, 7.0 and 7.5 with tobramycin or phage, at varying concentrations. Cell viability was quantified by fluorescent resazurin assay. Results: For the biofilm assay, treatment groups were compared with untreated controls and expressed as percent reduction in cell viability and biomass. Addition of the 4-phage cocktail resulted in a 1.3-fold reduction in cell viability and 1.7-fold reduction in biomass (p < 0.001) when compared to standard antibiotic treatment alone. Notably, there was a 50 ± 15% reduction in cell viability and 60 ± 12% reduction in biomass (95% CI) for the 4 biofilms demonstrating the most resistance to antibiotic treatment. 83% of strains tested (n=6) showed decreased bacterial killing by tobramycin at acidic pHs (p < 0.01). However, 25% of strains (n=12) showed improved phage killing at acidic pHs (p < 0.05), with none showing the pattern of reduced efficacy at acidic pH demonstrated by tobramycin. Conclusion: The 4-phage anti-Pa cocktail tested against Pa performs well in pre-formed biofilms and in acidic environments; two conditions intended to mimic the CF lung. To our knowledge, these are the first data looking at the effects of subtle pH changes on phage-mediated bacterial killing in the context of Pa infection. These findings contribute to a growing body of evidence supporting the use of nebulised lytic bacteriophage as a treatment in the context of lung infection.