Our detailed study on the chemical constituents of the stem bark of Calophyllum benjaminum and Calophyllum javanicum has resulted in one new coumarin benjaminin (1), five xanthones fuscaxanthone C (2), β-mangostin (3), thwaitesixanthone (4), dombakinaxanthone (5) and caloxanthone A (6), together with four common triterpenes friedelin (7), β-sitosterol (8), lupeol (9) and stigmasterol (10). The structures of these compounds were elucidated using NMR, FTIR and GCMS.
This study aimed at documenting species richness and distribution of sea cucumbers (Phylum Echinodermata: Class Holothuroidea) in Malaysia. Sea cucumber collections were conducted from August 2004 until November 2011 from several study sites in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. A total of fifty two morphospecies of sea cucumbers from four orders comprising of 12 genera were documented. Thirty eight species were recorded for Sabah, followed by 24 species for Peninsular Malaysia, and 10 species were recorded in both regions. However, nine species required further taxonomic works for their identification. Of the 15 Actinopyga species recorded, 14 species were from Sabah and one species was from Peninsular Malaysia. The order Aspidochirotida in general, and genus Holothuria in particular were the dominant taxa. Holothuria (Mertensiothuria) leucospilota (Brandt, 1835) is the dominant species in Malaysia as it was observed and documented at all collection sites. Future studies on the species richness of sea cucumbers are required in Sarawak marine waters and the molecular phylogeny of the sea cucumbers in order to obtain a better understanding of the evolutionary relationships between the sea cucumbers of Malaysia.
Sea cucumber, Malaysia, Echinodermata, Holothuroidea
Differences in the growth and development of sesame ecotypes growing sporadically as uncultivated plant in dissimilar agro-ecological and habitat conditions of Serdang and Port Dickson of Malaysia have not been studied. The purpose of the study was to compare the inherent variations in growth parameters and degree of relationships between the two ecotypes over time. The quantitative growth parameters of the plants` height, leaf number per plant, total leaf area, fresh and dry weight of leaves, fresh and dry weight of roots were measured at 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks after planting under the same growing conditions. Results indicated that the two ecotypes manifested almost similar growth patterns and the variations on growth parameters between the ecotypes were statistically insignificant. Regression analysis showed that all the growth parameters increased exponentially over time, and the growth parameters were positively correlated between the ecotypes. Thus, this study suggested that a high homology in the growth patterns between the two sesame ecotype could exist when grown under the same growing conditions, although both have adapted to different habitat conditions.
Ecotypes, growth parameters, morphological characters, sesame, Malaysia
This study investigated embryonic growth and early growth rate in three strains of chicken. A total of nine hundred hatching eggs, 300 each from 3 strains of chicken, were used for this study. The strains of chicken used were Nigerian indigenous chicken (NIC), Isa Brown (IB) and Nera Black (NB) strains. Twenty eggs per strain were randomly selected for breakout at Embryonic Days (ED) 7, 11, 15, and 18 of incubation to determine embryonic weight, egg weight, egg weight loss and shell weight loss during incubation. Embryonic weight was monitored on ED 7, 11, 15, and 18. The results showed that the NIC had greater (P < 0.05) Haugh unit (71.78) than those of NB (53.23) and IB (52.36). Also, percentage egg yolk weight in NIC (28.74) was higher than that of NB (25.87) but similar to that of IB (26.55). Strain significantly (P < 0.05) affected the percentage shell weight from ED 0 until ED15, except at ED18, where they were similar. At ED7, the NB(6.12) showed significant weight loss compared to that of the IB (4.16) but the weight loss was similar to that ofthe NIC chickens. At ED7 and 18, there were significant differences (P < 0.05) in the embryo weight as percentage of egg weight between the strains. NIC showed a higher embryo weight as percentage of egg weight than the two other strains which were similar in value. It was concluded that the present incubation protocol is adequate for NIC as the embryo weight (expressed as percentage of egg weight) was superior to those of the exotic strains.
A longitudinal study assessed the response to foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) vaccination on sequential sera of local Malaysian Kedah-Kelantan cattle in two states of Peninsular Malaysia; Perlis, a foot and mouth (FMD) disease non-endemic state, and Kelantan, an endemic state for FMD. These cattle were from various vaccination backgrounds and some with unknown vaccination status. For the cattle in both states, the antibody against FMDV type O effectively increased to a strong protective level in the first week following vaccination, regardless of the vaccination background of the animals. In the endemic state, where vaccination was performed more routinely than the non-endemic state, the response had better magnitude and duration. In the non-endemic state, the antibody response level was good but appeared to last for a shorter period of time before it significantly declined. For naïve cattle with no evidence of infection or vaccination, the response was rapid and reached a strong level immediately by the first week. However, the level was not sustained and significantly declined thereafter. All the cattle stayed healthy and clinically FMD- free throughout the study, even when there was a transient evidence of natural field infection detected among the cattle. A marked difference was observed in the patterns of antibody response between cattle in the FMD endemic and non-endemic areas. However, the level of antibodies generally rose to a strong protective level within the stipulated 7-14 days post-vaccination. The vaccine used was effective in eliciting immune response when naturally challenged by the local field FMD virus.
Thirty West African dwarf (WAD) sheep aged 18-24 months with average weight of 17.96±0.89kg, managed under semi-intensive system, were used in a 56-day experiment to investigate the effects of varying levels of cassava leaves (CL) and cassava peels (CPL) supplementation on the performance, haematological indices and faecal egg count of sheep. Animals were subjected to 6 dietary treatments of 100% CL, 100% CPL, 75% CL/25% CPL, 25% CL/75% CPL, 50% CL/50% CPL, and natural pasture (0% CL/0% CPL) in a complete randomized design. Results showed that weight gain (g/day) varied (P<0.05) across treatments from 26.25 to 44.64 with sheep supplemented with 75CL/25CPL having the highest (P < 0.05) growth rate and the least values observed in sheep on control treatment. The dry matter and crude protein digestibilities were least (P<0.05) in sheep supplemented with 100%CPL relative to other treatments. The white blood cells and total protein of sheep varied (P<0.05) across treatments, while supplementary diets of CL reduced faecal egg count in sheep. It was therefore concluded that the performance of sheep managed under the semi-intensive system, grazing natural pasture could further be enhanced through the supplementation of cassava leaves and peels with dietary levels of 75% CL/25% CPL recommended for sheep`s optimum performance.
A field experiment was conducted to find out optimum doses of N, P, K and S for yield maximization of aquatic taro (Colocasia esculenta) during the summer seasons of 2008- 2009 and 2010-2011 in Grey Terrace Soil (poorly drained, grey, and silty) of Gazipur. There were four levels of nitrogen (0, 75, 100 and 125 kg ha-1), four levels of phosphorus (0, 30, 45 and 60 kg ha-1), four levels of potassium (0, 80, 100 and 120 kg ha-1) and four levels of sulphur (0, 10, 20 and 30 kg ha-1). The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. The yield attributes and yield of aquatic taro were significantly increased by the application of NPKS fertilizers. The highest stolon yields (25.60 and 28.16 t ha-1 for 2008-09 and 2010-11, respectively) were found in N100P45K100S20 kg ha-1 combination. From the regression analysis, it could be concluded that around 110- 50-105-24 kg ha-1 N-P-K-S was the optimum dose for the production of aquatic taro in Grey Terrace Soil of Gazipur.
Sampling for the mangrove snails, Nerita lineata, and surface sediments was carried out from nine geographical sites of Peninsular Malaysia in April 2011. The concentrations of Lithium (Li) were determined in the shells, opercula and soft tissues of N. lineata and in the surface sediments by using ICP-MS. The ranges of Li concentrations (µg/g dry weight) were found to be 0.107-0.283 for shells, 0.021-0.177 for opercula and 0.011-0.634 for total soft tissues of N. lineata. For sediments, Li ranges were found to be between 21.84- 146.22 µg/g dry weight). The distribution of Li was found to be: sediment> ST> shell> opercula. The Li sediment data in the present study were comparable with the results of Li contaminated sediments which had been previously reported in the literature and higher than those of continental crust materials and igneous rocks. There was no significant correlation (P>0.05) for the Li levels between the sediments. The snails (shells, opercula and soft tissues) and this indicated that Li is an essential metal for metabolism and thus is being regulated in the body of the snail.
Lansium domesticum (langsat) is a popular tropical fruit bearing trees across the Southeast Asia region. It is cultivated mainly for its fruit, while the peel of langsat as wastes of fruit consumption has been traditionally used as medicine. The aim of this study was to evaluate the total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity of different fractions of ethanolic extract of langsat peel. The extract was fractionated using open column chromatography and the antioxidant components were observed based on high-performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC). TPC of the extract and extract fractions (FI?FIII) was estimated using Folin-Ciocalteu reagent assay, while their antioxidant activity was evaluated using DPPH radical scavenging assay. Highest TPC was estimated in the ethanolic extract of langsat peel compared to its extract fractions. No significant difference was found for TPC among the extract fractions. The extract also had the highest DPPH radical scavenging activity, followed by FIII and FII, but no radical scavenging activity was observed in FI. The result obtained from HPTLC also showed that no band of antioxidative compounds was observed under UV or white light. Based on the antioxidative components found in the peel extract of langsat, the fruit peel is a potential source of antioxidants for development of nutraceutical. Fractionation of the extract is not an ideal technique for producing nutraceutical.
Antioxidant activity, DPPH radical, HPTLC, Lansium domesticum, total phenolic content
Micronutrient application has been in general overlooked in oil palm fertilisation programmes. Considering the importance of a balanced fertiliser in plant nutrition, it was necessary to determine the requirements of important micronutrients for their further recommendation in oil palm fertilisation programmes to ensure better growth and good yield. An experiment was conducted to identify the optimum concentrations of B, Cu and Mn for the growth of oil palm seedlings. The concentrations tested were 0, 0.25, 0.50, 1 and 2 mg B /L; 0, 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 mg Cu /L; 5, 10, 15 and 20 mg Mn /L. Germinated oil palm seeds were supplied with different concentrations of the selected micronutrients for three months in soilless culture. The assessment of the growth and physiological parameters showed that 2 mg/L for both B and Cu gave better response, while all the tested Mn concentrations were suppressive to the growth of oil palm seedlings. Therefore, 2 mg/L for both B and Cu and a minimal concentration of 2 mg Mn/L are being tested in new experiments in single and different possible combinations on nutritional, biochemical and growth parameters of oil palm seedlings from two to eight months for their future incorporation in oil palm fertilisers
Widening of the narrow genetic base of Jatropha curcas through germplasm collection, diversity study and evaluation is needed to bring about much needed improvement in its seed yield and oil content. This study was carried out to profile the divergence patterns of 45 Jatropha curcas from three populations (Kelantan, Selangor and Terengganu) and to evaluate their yield over a period of three years. Eleven (11) morphological traits together with ISSR markers were used in this study. The percentage of polymorphism for the ISSR markers among the three populations was very high, ranging from 90.38-100%. Shannon information index (I) and expected heterozygosity (He) were found to be highest in the Kelantan population, at 0.58 and 0.40 respectively. Genetic differentiation (Analysis of molecular variance) expressed as fixation index (0.46) revealed that variations within the population accounted for about 100% of the total variation. Interestingly, the cluster analysis based on molecular and morphological traits, as presented in the dendrogram, grouped the 45 accessions into seven and five clusters respectively. For morphological traits, variability in terms of coefficient of variation (CV) was very high, as much as 53.19 and 51 % in total number of seeds and oil yield/ha. Small differences were seen between phenotypic and genotypic coefficient of variation (≤ 10%) for the yield trait. Broad sense heritability for virtually all the yield and yield components was very high (≥ 67.8). Accessions B-01- 03, D-01-06, T-01-06, B-06-02 have been identified and recommended for further evaluation under field conditions before they are chosen for future breeding programmes for seed yield and oil improvement.
Gene expression is regulated mainly at the transcriptional level through binding of transcription factors to specific promoter regulatory elements. The expression profile of EgDREB, a transcription factor belonging to the AP2 family, was determined by reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR and it was found that it was expressed at different stages of oil palm mesocarp development as well as in vegetative tissues (roots and leaves) but not in the mesocarp at the early ripening stage, which is 12 WAA (weeks after anthesis). Thus, the effects of over-expressing EgDREB on the transcriptional regulation of genes from five functional groups related to ripening were investigated in 12 WAA mesocarp of oil palm. Co-bombardment of 12 WAA mesocarp tissues with recombinant vector construct harbouring EgDREB and plasmid containing the GFP reporter gene was carried out. Fluorescent detection of GFP and verification via RT-PCR using GFP-specific primers enabled selection of successfully transformed tissues. Using transient expression assay, it was demonstrated that over-expression of EgDREB results in up-regulation of translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP) and type 2 metallothionein-like genes (MET2a and MET2b). These proteins are categorised under biogenesis of the cellular component and proteins with binding functions or cofactor requirements. More specifically, the roles of metallothioneins are in homeostasis of essential metal ions and oxidative stress response. This may suggest that EgDREB is involved in regulating cellular processes related to the roles of these three proteins.