Determination of Gillnet and Hook Selectivity for Caranx heberi Captured off Kanyakumari Coast of India

The larger carangids are most important fishery in the coast of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. They are caught by large meshed gillnets and hooks in these region. However, there is no selectivity studies conducted on this fishery especially in this coast. The selectivity nature of every gear is important for managing the fishery as well as for conservation of resources. Large meshed gillnets having mesh sizes of 13.5 cm, 14 cm, 14.5 cm and 15 cm and Hooks No.5,6,7 and 8 were chosen for determining the  selectivity and  fishing  power  of  the  gears  to  capture  the  larger  carangid Caranx  heberi of Kanyakumari coast of India. The catch data were analysed using the software GILLNET (Generalized Including Log-Linear N Estimation Technique) comprised of the methodology of SELECT (Share Each Length  Class  Total)  by  fitting  various  uni-normal  models  viz.,  normal  scale,  normal  location,  log-normal, gamma and bi-normal model. Models were tested using various selectivity parameters like Model Deviance, Dispersion Parameter and residual plots. Bi-normal model was found appropriate for gillnet catch data while normal location for hook catch data despite over dispersion was common in both the fits.  The  mesh  size  of  13.5  cm  and  hook  No.5  and  6  were  found  as optimum  size for capturing larger carangid C. heberi. Comparison of the selective effects of different gears is complex particularly between selective gears. Further, the mean size of fish caught from one gear to another gear varies due to various biological factors such as availability, abundance, age, sex, and size, or environmental factors such as fishing ground, depth, etc. Selection curves of gillnets and hooks of the present study are assumed as bell shaped multi-normal and uni-normal in nature respectively. In this study, hook selectivity data fit appropriately with uni-normal model despite it is complex in nature in general. It is also opined that fit may depend on models applied though it is normally influenced by biological  behavior  and  capturing  methods.  This  study  revealed  that  gillnet  yielded    obvious  size selection range  than hooks  in capturing larger carangid, C. heberi of the study area.

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The Brazilian Caatinga Biome and Its Biotechnological Potential

The Caatinga biome is a unique Brazilian biome predominant in the Northeast of Brazil and situated in the Semiarid Region. The rhizosphere comprises the narrow zone of soil that is directly influenced by the roots of plants and associated soil microorganisms. It is a dynamic environment with maximum microbial activity due to the presence of root exudates and radicular secretions representing the major carbon  source  readily  available  to  microorganisms.  The  typical  rhizospheric  community  in  the Caatinga  biome comprises  microorganisms  with  different  types  of  metabolism  and  adaptive responses to changes depending on soil temperature, plant species, nutritional status, age, stress, illness, and  other  factors.  Assays for a  variety  of  soil enzymes  give an indication of the functional diversity assumed by the microbes present. A useful characteristic of the rhizosphere isolates is the ability of the rhizobacteria to excrete enzymes such as cellulases and L-asparaginases. Among the important species found in the Caatinga biome is Poincianella pyramidalis, which is common in the Northeast of Brazil and is popularly known as “catingueira”. This plant species is heavily exploited by the local population as a source of firewood, charcoal, fodder and for medicinal purposes. This review will consider the structure of the Caatinga biome in terms of its biotechnological potential, with special emphasis on such components as the rhizosphere and enzymes associated with P. pyramidalis.

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Instrumental Analysis of Foods: Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry for Determination of Metals in Cereals and Fast Ion Chromatography Analysis for Minerals in Aqueous Sport Drinks

Aims: Foods  are  analyzed  for  their  content  for  important  reasons  that  include:  Adherence  to government  regulations,  nutritional  labeling,  authentication,  inspection  (for  grading),  safety,  quality control and detection of adulterants.

Study  Design: Inductively  coupled  plasma  mass  spectrometry  (ICP-MS)  analysis  of  various commercial  cereals  was  accomplished.  Commercial  drinks  were  analyzed  by  ion  chromatography instruments.

Place  and Duration  of  Study: The  investigation  was  carried  out  at  the  University  of  Nebraska, Omaha Nebraska from January 2014 to May 2014.

Methodology: Cereals were treated in strong acid to extract heavy metals. Following dilution steps, these  extracts  were  injected  into  ICP-MS  for  analysis. Quantity  of  metals  as  well  as  isotope distribution was established. Commercial sports drinks were examined for clarification and injected into  ion  chromatography  instruments  for  analysis  for  calcium,  sodium,  potassium,  magnesium, chloride, phosphate, sulphate and fluoride.

Results: (ICP-MS) analysis of  various  commercial  cereals showed  a  content  of  chromium,  nickel, copper, zinc and traces of lead. In general, zinc was found to be highest in content within the cereal products  analyzed  ranging  from  2.951 mg/kilogram  to  90.56 mg/kilogram  (mean  =  58.38 mg/kilogram),  followed  by  copper  ranging  from  1.218 mg/kilogram  to  4.395 mg/kilogram  (mean  = 2.756 mg/kilogram). This is followed in amounts (by average of all samples tested) by nickel, lead and chromium. Chromium, copper, nickel and zinc are considered human micronutrients. Sport drinks are consumed for their mineral content and enhancement of electrolytes. Various sports drinks analyzed showed both cation and anion minerals in their content, which included: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfate, phosphate, chloride, fluoride and nitrate ions.

Conclusion: ICP-MS and ion chromatography are versatile approaches for analysis of food nutrient value and metals content. ICP-MS can track the absorption of heavy metals into commercial cereals. Ion  chromatography  can  identify  adulterants  in  sport  drinks. Current  ion  chromatography instrumentation can quickly and with versatility assay a broad concentration of cations and anions in electrolyte mixtures. The monitoring of electrolyte contentis an important aspect for the clinical use of such  mixtures  for  the  treatment  of  disease.  Sensitive  and  versatile  methodologies  for  monitoring nutrients inside food products will enhance their safety, government compliance, nutritional value and the demands from consumers.

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Biology, Chemical Composition, Cultivation and Applications of Cacti from the Opuntia Genus

In this review, we approached various aspects of Opuntia sp. that are a type of forage cacti. These plants stand out for its energy potential and have peculiar morphological and physiological features that  allow  tolerance  for  long  periods  of  drought.  In  addition,  Opuntia  species  has  a  cosmopolitan distribution, found mainly in arid and semi-arid regions. Opuntia sp. presents phenotypic variations related  to  weather  conditions,  like  polyploidy  occurring  in  a  large  number  of  populations  and  high hybridization capacity.  These  plants  have  a  shrub  morphological  characteristic  with  ramifications, variable size, from creeping until arboreal; it can reach up to 4 m high and a series of fleshy stems with, depending on time of year, flowers and fruits. Opuntia sp. have a typical physiology with the photosynthetic process called crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM); stomata close during the day in order to maintain hydration of tissues. The chemical composition of Opuntia sp. varies according to species,  age  of  reticule, and  season.  These  cacti  have  excellent  nutritional  value  with  high  water content (about 90%), digestibility in vitro (about 75%) and vitamin A; in addition, they have organic matter  (67%),  energy  (2,61,  crude  fiber  (4.3%),  phosphorus  (0.08  to  0.18%),  calcium (4.2%), potassium (2.3%)  and  magnesium (1.4%), but shows low protein  content (about 5%). The proper yield of the crop needs a climate with 400-800 mm annual rainfall, relative humidity above 40% and day/night  temperature  from  25  to  15°C.  The wide  variety  of  applications  demonstrates  the versatility of this plant species, being used in food and feed, agriculture, medicine, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, in water and wastewater treatments, and even as insecticide agent. Opuntia genus comprises about 1500 species and O. ficus indica is the most important as forage and human uses.

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Color Stability of Freeze-dried Date Fruits (Barhi CV.) during Storage

Fresh Date fruits “Barhi CV.” were freeze dried as slices to characterize the dried fruit quality. CIELAB color parameters (L*, a*, and b*) were measured as well as Chroma, the hue angle, the browning index and  the  total  color  difference  parameters  were  derivative.  The  samples  were  stored  for  12 months  at  three  temperatures  of  5,  15  and  25°C  with  an  uncertainty  of  ±1°C  to  assess  the  color change kinetics and quantify the degree of change during storage. The L*, a* and b* values for fresh samples at room temperature were 93.16±0.15, 18.76±0.45 and 61.70±0.32, respectively, while they were 78.72±0.51, 29.52±0.07 and 62.75±0.14 after 12 months. To  explain  the  changing  kinetics  of  the  date  slices,  zero,  first  and second  order  models  were attempted. Based on statistical analysis, the first-order model was found to be the best model for all CIELAB parameters. Analysis on the kinetic constants reveals that the temperature could affect the resulting color of the dried product,  in turn, it contributes to the color changes of the freeze dried Barhi during storage. The values obtained for the activation energy for freeze-dried Barhi based on the selected models were between 4930 and 10850 kJ. mol-1 which were somewhat different from the reported values due to the variation in sample’s type, treatment or process. In the present study, Barhi fruit slices were freeze-dried (FD) and examined. The effect of the FD process on the color change, water activity, and moisture content was determined over 12-month storage time. Based on the experimental data, all CIELAB color parameters were significantly affected by temperature and storage time. Based on the statistical analysis, the first-order model could be used to fit the data for of color change in freeze-dried Barhi fruit slices.

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Moringa oleifera: A Powerful Source of Environmentally, Medicinally and Biotechnologically Relevant Compounds

Moringa oleifera Lamarck (Moringaceae family) is a plant native from the Western and sub-Himalayan parts of Northwest India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This species is widely cultivated across Africa, South-East  Asia,  Arabia,  South  America  and  Caribbean  Islands. M.  oleifera culture  is  also  being distributed  in  the  Semi-Arid  Northeast  of  Brazil.  It  is  a  multiuse  life  tree  with  great  environmental economic  importance in  industrial and medical areas. This review reports  different purposes of M. oleifera including  sustaining  environmental  resources,  soil  protection  and  shelter  for  animals.  This plant requires not much care and distinct parts have bioactive compounds. Moringa tissues used in human and animal diets, also withdraw pollutants from water. The seeds with coagulant properties used  in  water  treatment  for  human  consumption,  remove  waste  products  like  surfactants,  heavy metals and pesticides. The oil extracted from seeds is used in cosmetic production and as biodiesel. M.  oleifera tissues  also  contain  proteins  with  different  biological  activities,  including  lectins,  chitin-binding  proteins,  trypsin  inhibitors,  and  proteases.  The  lectins  are  reported  to  act  as  insecticidal agents  against Aedes  aegypti (vector  of  dengue,  chikungunya  and  yellow  fevers)  and Anagasta kuehniella (pest  of  stored products) and  also  showed  water  coagulant,  antibacterial,  antineoplastic and blood anticoagulant activities. The presence of trypsin inhibitors has been reported in M. oleifera leaves and flowers. The inhibitor from flowers is toxic to larvae of A.  aegypti and to the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. The flowers also contain caseinolytic proteases that are able to promote clotting of milk. In this sense, M. oleifera is a promising tree from a biotechnological point of view, since it has shown a great variety of uses and it is a source of several compounds with a broad range of biological activities.

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Studies on Performance of Newly Released Apple Cultivar on Clonal Rootstocks

Apple (Malus × domestica Borkh) occupies a significant place in the horticultural wealth of temperate zone. The growth and productivity of apple in Indian conditions can be optimised by replacing out-dated  depleted  standard  Delicious  cultivars  by  the  improved  high  yielding  cultivars  and  adopting standard clonal rootstocks instead of seedling stock in addition to improved management practices. The  present  investigation  was  undertaken  to  make  a  preliminary  assessment  for  studying  the performance of newly released apple cultivars viz, Lal Ambri, Sunhari, Shireen, Firdous and Akbar on clonal  rootstocks  M-9  and  MM-106. The  experiment  was  carried  out  at  the  Experimental  Farm  of SKUAST-Kashmir, and was laid out in a randomized block design with ten treatment combinations. The  results  obtained  revealed  that  the  varieties  excepting  shireen  worked  on  MM-106  rootstock resulted in higher plant height, per cent fruit set and fruit retention and the plants which were raised on M-9  rootstock  resulted  in  more  plant  girth  and  plant  spread. Commencement  of  flowering,  fruit maturity, fruit weight and firmness occurred earlier in all varieties worked on M-9. Among these tested varieties, Lal Ambri, Shireen and Firdous developed red colour intensity excepting Sunhari and Akbar. It is concluded that apple trees raised on MM-106 rootstock resulted in higher yield than the trees raised on M-9 rootstock. Cultivar Akbar was better in comparison to other varieties, Lal Ambri showed maximum red colour intensity. Fruits from trees on M-9 rootstock showedhigher red colour intensity. However, Shireen performed better in these parameters on M-9 rootstock.

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Novel Pyrimethamine Based Anti-protozoan Agents Utilizing Isostere and Heuristic Structure-similarity Search

Aims: To generate new medicaments for control and treatment of  the parasitic  protozoan Toxoplasma gondii.

Study Design: Structure similarity search and isostere search was conducted over a broad range of structure categories. Correlation and highest similarity scores were implemented to select the best drug candidates.

Place  and  Duration  of  Study: University of Nebraska, Department of Chemistry, Durham Science Center, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha Nebraska 68182, from June 2016 to February 2017.

Methodology: Utilizing pyrimethamine as the parent compound, a broad range of similar structures and isosteres were found by applying search methods. The compounds having the highest correlation and similarity scores were selected for the study of molecular properties. The molecular properties were determined and examined for underlying relationships by pattern recognition hierarchical cluster analysis and K-means cluster analysis.

Results: Thirty compounds were identified to have a very high level of structure similarity or isosteric relationship to pyrimethamine. The molecular structures and molecular properties are presented for all compounds, inclusive of pyrimethamine. Hierarchical cluster analysis and K-means cluster analysis indicated compounds with highest underlying similarity to pyrimethamine. Box plots showed the over-all distribution of important pharmaceutical properties, such as molecular weight, Log P, polar surface area, number of rotatable bonds, molecular volume, and number of hydrogen bond donors. Structure components are compared to elucidate potential clinical activity. Multiple regression is applied on all compounds to generate a numerical relationship for prediction of similar compounds. Save for only one  isostere, all  compounds  showed  zero  violations  of  the  Rule  of  5,  indicating  favorable  drug-likeness and bioavailability.

Conclusion: Thirty compounds highly analogous to pyrimethamine were identified following heuristic search course. The molecular properties were determined for all compounds and indicated genuine potential  for treatment  of  toxoplasmosis.  Correlation  of  structure  and  pattern  recognition methods indicated 30 compounds of clinical potential and property analogy to pyrimethamine. All compounds in this study showed favorable bioavailability, having zero violations of the rule of 5. Hierarchical cluster analysis  and  K-means  cluster  analysis  showed  that  the  isostere  compounds  were  most  similar  to pyrimethamine. Multiple regression analysis produced a mathematical model for predicting properties of compounds of similar medicinal use. The study and design of new medicinal agents for treatment of protozoan infections is a vital endeavor with great demand in the future.

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Preliminary Evaluation of Growth and Phenological Features of Exotic Apple Varieties under High Density Plantation System

The  apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) is believed to  have  originated  in  the  Caucasus  mountains  of south-western Asia.  The cultivated apples belong to the species Malus pumila or Malus sylvestris. Apple is undoubtedly the most important temperate fruit. It is the most important temperate fruit in the world and India stands 5th in the production of apple. In India, apple cultivation is extremely profitable and has become  the  major  industry  of  Jammu and  Kashmir and Himachal  Pradesh. The present commercial cultivars of apple are far improved from the wild apples from which they developed over many centuries. And to commercialize improved varieties of apple in India, the varieties need to be evaluated for their growth characteristics. Keeping this view, the study was taken to evaluate four new exotic  varieties  of  apple  viz., Super Chief  Sandidge, Gala  Red  Lum, Fuji Zhen Aztec  and Golden Clone B grafted on rootstock M9T337 for their various growth and phenological characteristics. The study  showed  statistically  significant  differences  among varieties  in  their various  characters.  Tree morphological characteristics revealed variety Super Chief Sandidge to be the most dwarf variety with least tree height (1.31m) and incremental growth in tree height (23.64cm) while the variety Fuji Zhen Aztec reported to be most vigorous with an average tree height of (1.96m), and highest increase in tree height in a  season  (31.04 cm).  Various phenological stages were observed earliest in variety Gala Red Lum and last in Golden Clone B. All the varieties appeared to be promising under Kashmir condition and can be recommended for further research, mass multiplication and ultimate adoption by orchardists of valley. On the basis of their vegetative behavior, Super Chief Sandidge appeared to be highly dwarf variety in terms of tree morphology and other as moderate. It was concluded that the different  exotic  cultivars  studied  had  different  flowering  phenological  features  which  will  permit  to establish  proper  varietal  combinations  for  pollination  to  improve  profitability  of  high  density  apple orchards. Further, it can be suggested that in variety Super Chief Sandidge further close plantings at the rate of 3906 trees/ha can be recommended to utilize the inter tree space more efficiently and the productivity further high.

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