The aim of this study was to determine the Mg levels in Centella asiatica and their relationship to the habitat soils. Based on the levels of Mg in soils from the 12 sampling sites, its concentration was found to range from 13080 to 45350 µg/g dw. Although higher than the continental crust and European topsoils baselines, the soils of Peninsular Malaysia were considered 'unpolluted to moderately polluted' based on EF and 'deficiency to minimal enrichment' based on Igeo. As for plants, the highest Mg level was found in roots (3250 ± 815 µg/g dw), followed by leaves (2900 ± 565 µg/g dw) and stems (1660 ± 393 µg/g dw). This is in agreement with the transfer factor (TF). Based on correlation analysis and multiple linear regression analysis, Mg-Soil was found as a significant and the most important factor controlling the Mg uptake from the soils to the three plant parts. The direct relationships between Mg(plant)-Mg(Soil) also indicates that C. asiatica roots, leaves and stems are able to reflect the Mg levels of the sampling sites. Thus, the experimental transplantation studies under field and laboratory conditions confirmed the results from the field collected samples and indicated the roots, leaves and stems can be used as good biomonitors of Mg levels in the habitat soils.
The effects of adding various concentrations of antioxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) on chilled bull semen for 72 h at 4°C in Bioxcell® (BX), Tris egg-yolk- (TEY) and citrate egg-yolk- (CEY) based semen extenders were studied. Twenty-two ejaculates collected from three bulls, each extended using three extenders with BHT at 0 (control), 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0 mM/mL, were evaluated for sperm quality parameters. Extended semen was packaged into 0.25 mL straws containing 20 x 106 spermatozoa and chilled for 72 h. Four random straws each from the control and treatment groups were warmed at 37°C, pooled and evaluated using a computer-assisted semen analyser (IVOS Hamilton Thorne Biosciences) for general and progressive motilities, and for morphology, viability and acrosome damage using eosin-nigrosin stain under phase-contrast microscope. Results showed that sperm morphology, viability and protection of acrosome damage were significantly improved (p<0.05) at BHT concentrations of 0.5 in BX and 1.0 mM/mL in TEY and CEY compared to the controls. The BHT also showed a potential positive effect on progressive motility at 0.5 mM/mL in BX and 1.0 mM/mL in TEY and CEY. High concentrations of BHT (2.0 and 3.0 mM/mL), however, produced deteriorative effects on the sperm parameters in all the extenders. In conclusion, BHT when added at 0.5 mM/mL in BX and 1.0 mM/mL concentration to TEY and CEY extenders improved the quality parameters of bull chilled semen.
This investigation highlights the chemical and physical properties of oil palm frond (OPF) observed during 14 weeks of composting. Composting is a controlled biological decomposition process that converts organic waste into humus-like material. Two white rot fungi species, Trametes versicolor and Schizophyllum commune, were introduced as inoculants for the composting process. Oil palm fronds (OPF) were composted for 14 weeks, with four treatments, i) control (untreated OPF), ii) OPF treated with T. versicolor, iii) OPF treated with S. commune, iv) OPF treated with both T. versicolor and S. commune, with four replications. The resulting compost was brown in colour with a homogenous appearance, and no unpleasant odour was detected. In this study, C/N ratio and percentage volume reduction became the most important parameters to be monitored. Inoculation with S. commune achieved the acceptable C/N ratio of 63.2 at the end of the composting period. Compared to other treatments, single inoculation of S. commune indicated a higher percentage of volume reduction with a value of 62.8%. Single inoculation of S. commune, therefore, provides a suitable medium for composting of OPF.
The abundance of sea cucumbers (Phylum Echinodermata: Class Holothuroidea) in Malaysian waters has been gradually declining in past decades. Due to the lack of recent studies on the status of sea cucumber populations in Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia, this study was conducted. This study aimed to identify the species of a timun laut morphospecies i.e. Holothuria (Metriatyla) scabra and two gamat morphospecies i.e. Stichopus horrens and Stichopus ocellatus that were collected from Limau Limawan based on ossicle shapes and non-protein-coding 12S mitochondrial rRNA gene sequences. A number of five main ossicle shapes were microscopically identified without microscopic size measurement i.e. rod, plate, rosette, button and table. However, a number of ossicle shapes for S. horrens and S. ocellatus recorded in the previous studies were not observed in this study and this could be due to the body deformation of the specimens. Interestingly, five specimens of H. scabra exhibited additional ossicle shapes other than the smooth button and the table. Despite the absence of common ossicles and the presence of additional ossicle shapes, 12S mitochondrial rRNA gene sequences analysed using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool programme for Nucleotide (blastn) resulted in the species identification of the specimens of morphospecies H. scabra and S. horrens as H. scabra and S. horrens; however, the specimen of morphospecies S. ocellatus was identified only up to the genus level i.e. genus Stichopus, showing the lack of 12S mitochondrial rRNA gene sequences of S. ocellatus in the GenBank until 15 September, 2016. In total, 31 partial sequences of 12S mitochondrial rRNA gene were registered with the GenBank (Accession No.: KX913672-KX913702). The findings also suggested that species identification based on 12S mitochondrial rRNA gene sequence showed better inference than the ossicle shape identification. In summary, the three morphospecies were morphologically and genetically verified as H. scabra,S. horrens and S. ocellatus. Despite the fact that more specimens and more molecular techniques are required to generate better conclusive outcomes, the current findings give better insight into the importance of morphological and molecular approaches and the present status of the timun laut species and gamat species in Kudat.
A field experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of the combined application of poultry manure and inorganic fertiliser on yield and the yield component of maize (Zea mays L) and soybean (Glycine max L. Merril) intercrops. Treatments comprised combinations of three intercropping systems (sole maize, sole soybean and maize+soybean) and four nutrient management practices [control, 100% NPK, 100% poultry manure (PM) and 50 % NPK+50% PM]. The experiment was laid out in a randomised complete block design (RCBD) with three replications. The results revealed that intercropping of maize with soybean significantly reduced soybean yield and yield components, but maize yield and yield traits were not significantly affected by intercropping. Land Equivalent Ratio (LER) was >1, indicating a beneficial effect of intercropping soybean with maize. For both maize and soybean, there were no significant differences in yield between application of 100% NPK and the 50% NPK+50% PM fertiliser. A combined application of 50% NPK and 50% PM gave the highest monetary advantage in intercropping system. It can be concluded that a 50% substitution of inorganic fertiliser with poultry manure is recommended to reduce use of chemical fertilisers without sacrificing crop yield.
Rodent tuber is an anticancer plant. The natural genetic diversity of rodent tuber is low due to vegetative propagation. It is important to increase the plant's genetic diversity in order to obtain plants with a high amount of anticancer compounds. In vitro calli were irradiated with gamma rays to increase its genetic diversity. Seventeen clones of the first generation of vegetative mutants in a green house (MV1) were propagated until MV3. This research aimed to analyse the stability of mutation in MV3 based on morphology, RAPD and GC-MS markers. Clone 6-1-2 had the highest increase of shoots and leaf number than the control and the other MV3 clones while clone 6-1-3-4 had the highest fresh and dry weight. RAPD analysis using 15 primers produced 67 polymorphic DNA bands and showed four main clusters at the similarity coefficient cut-off of 0.87. The GC-MS showed that MV3 contained at least eight types of anticancer compound in the leaves and six types in the tubers; these were higher than in the control. MV3 leaves and tubers contained at least eight new anticancer compounds that were not found in the control. This research proved that rodent tuber MV3 clones were solid mutants and had a high potential for being developed into anticancer drugs.
The empty fruit bunch of oil palm (EFB) is the solid waste that is generated at palm oil mills. In 2012 only, it was available in large amounts by more than 50 million tons worldwide. Its utilisation for technical purposes is unfortunately very limited and so far, it is still less value-added. It would be interesting to discover the appropiate technology so that the biomass has an added-value such utilisation for technical and commercial products. Fibre from EFB can be processed to be environmentally-friendly composites by mixing the fibres with renewable binding agents based on starch such as potato starch. There are some options to forming the between product into a composite such as creating a dough base first that is then laminated and finally mixed (nonwoven). Experiments to produce possible composites can be done where the combination between product and technology matches so that the fibres are spread randomly and homogenously throughout the body of the composite. The variables for this option of producing a composite with a thickness of 2 mm are a temperature of 180°C, press duration of 5-15 min and pressure of about 10-30 bar where the modulus of elasticity is about 7 GPa.
biomass, composite, empty fruit bunch, forming process, oil palm
One of the most precious edible bird's nests (EBN) is constructed by the white-nest swiftlet (Aerodramus). However, different swiftlet populations might have different food intakes as a result of their different habitat sources. This situation will likely influence the secretion of the salivary gland. EBN is built from the saliva of the swiftlets. The major function of the salivary gland is to secrete saliva. This study was conducted with the aim of defining and comparing the histological structures of the sublingual salivary gland and its mucin content found in two separate populations of house-farm and cave white-nest swiftlets. Samples were collected from Seri Iskandar, Perak, Malaysia (04°20.824´N, 100°52.826´E) and Gomantong caves, Sabah, Malaysia (5°31.46.5´N, 118°4.29.6´E). It was found that the largest visible salivary gland present in both populations was the sublingual gland. The glands were stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H & E) stain and a combination of Alcian blue (AB) with periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) stain. The H&E stain displayed a broad range of cytoplasmic, nuclear and extracellular matrix features. The parenchyma of the cave swiftlet population appeared foamy due to high mucous secretion whereas the cells of the house-farm population could clearly be seen to be separated because of less mucous secretion. There was a clear difference in density and abundance of mucous acini cells in which the samples from the cave population were compacted with these cells. AB-PAS stains revealed full complement of tissue proteoglycans and acidic-mucin, neutral-mucin and mixtures of acidic and neutral mucins. The cave population exhibited higher concentrations of acidic, neutral, and mucins mixture compared with those from the house-farm. This is probably caused by several combinations of factors such as difference in dietary habit, habitat preference and age of the swiftlet.
Soilless media (SM) is a common worldwide growing method for industrial horticultural production. It is a good growing medium that relies on the properties that benefit plant growth i.e. physical property, chemical properties and microbial activity. There are several SM with good characteristics such as empty fruit bunch compost (EFBC), coconut coir dust (CCD) and peat. EFBC is one of the organic residues of oil palm that provide beneficial microorganisms a good source of bacteria-rich, high nutrient content. The composting process reduces the pH of EFB by 6.86-7.20 to 4.5-6.0. CCD is recommended as a substitute for other media because of it is excellent for holding water and drainage and has high air porosity due to its large surface area. Microbiologically, CCD is the absence of weeds and pathogens and has anti-fungal properties that prevent soil-borne diseases. It also maintains greater oxygen levels and is reusable after sanitisation. Despite the ideal characteristics of CCD, there are some chemical limitations of this medium, including low pH and low potassium content. Peat has good aeration characteristics that are good for root growth. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the best medium combinations for growth performance and nutrient content of hempedu bumi (Andrographis paniculata). Three types of SM with five different combinationa were used as growing media for the plant; they included C1=CCD (1: -) as control; C2=EFBC + CCD (7:3); C3=EFBC + CCD (3:7); C4=CCD + Peat (7:3) and C5=CCD + Peat (3:7). Prior to the experiment, the physical, chemical and microbiological properties of the media were determined. The experiment was conducted in RCBD with five replications. In this experiment, the parameters of vegetative components (plant height, number of leaves and total leaf area), dry matter yield and partitioning [root, shoot dry weight and root to shoot ratio (R:S)] and the macronutrient nitrogen [(N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg)] of hempedu bumi were determined. C3 showed the highest vegetative component [plant height (39.5 cm), number of leaves (72.7 leaf plant-1), total leaf area (79.8 cm2) and shoot dry weight (3.03 g)] of hempedu bumi. The highest macronutrient content (1.17% N, 0.07% P, 2.45% K, 2.77% Ca and 0.58% Mg) was in the leaf tissues of hempedu bumi when grown in the C3 media. In conclusion, a combination of EFBC+CCD (3:7) is recommended as a suitable growing medium for hempedu bumi due to the greater vegetative components well as the higher macronutrient content it yielded in the leaf tissues of the plant.
Wild mushrooms including Boletus are among edible mushrooms consumed by local populations. However, the species identity for many types of wild edible mushroom in Malaysia is poorly known. The present study was conducted to identify and to determine factors affecting in-vitro growth of an edible Boletussp. (kulat gelam) commonly found in peat swamp forests in Bachok, Kelantan. Identification was initially done using macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of the fruiting bodies. However, due to overlapping chemical colour reactions, morphological and anatomical characteristics of the fruiting body with other Boletus species, species identity was confirmed using ITS region, and the mushroom was identified as Boletus griseipurpureus. A toxicity test indicated that B. griseipurpureus is an edible mushroom with low toxic levels (LC50=4.33 mg/mL). From growth studies, the results suggested that potato dextrose agar (PDA), cassava dextrose agar (CDA) and yeast malt extract (YME) were the most suitable artificial media for mycelial growth of B. griseipurpureus at pH 6.0 and 30°C. To our knowledge, this is the first documented report on wild edible mushroom B. griseipurpureus in Malaysia.
Protein feed shortage is one of the most important factors that limit the development of animal husbandry in China. Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) can be used as a high-quality protein feed for livestock. The aims of this study were to evaluate the yield and quality characters of seven kenaf varieties harvested on the basis of stubble height and to screen the varieties with high nutritive value. A reasonable stubble height was selected, and then kenaf varieties were cut leaving the selected stubble height and their nutritive value was determined. The results showed that stubble height of 90 cm was the most appropriate for improving the biomass content and nutritive value of kenaf. The dry matter yield of the whole plants, crude protein content and crude fibre content of the seven kenaf varieties ranged from 15,359.31 kg/ha to 18,502.18 kg/ha, 8.99% to 16.23% and 16.71% to 37.43%, respectively. The nutritive value of the seven kenaf varieties was the same for the first two harvests, but was slightly different for the third harvest due to the cold climate during this harvest time. Variety SZHP35 had the highest nutritive value, dry matter yield (18,502.18 kg/ha) and crude protein yield content (2,027 kg/ha), while variety 4A-4B had higher leaf proportion and yield and significantly higher crude protein content (P<0.05) than that of other varieties. Correspondence analysis suggested that 4A-4B was closely related to leaf yield and crude protein content, while SZHP35 was closely related to high yield. Our findings suggested that4A-4B and SZHP35 could be used as forage material in China.
Phenolics are widely distributed in many plants and are known to play a major role in the plant and animal kingdom. Phenolics exhibit strong antioxidant properties and have been used as antitumor, anticarcinogenic, antiviral and hypotensive agents. Plant by-products contain a variety of these phenolic compounds and can therefore be used as an alternative source of phenolics due to their higher antioxidant capacity and low toxicity compared to those of synthetically derived phenolics. In this study, Sekaki papaya (Carica papaya) peel was used as an alternative source of phenolics. Response Surface Methodology (RSM) was employed to optimise process conditions to achieve the highest phenolic content from the fruit peel. Total Phenolic Content was analysed using the Folin-Ciocalteau method and the total phenolic content (TPC) was expressed as Gallic Acid Equivalent (GAE). The highest TPC i.e. 1735.1 mg/L GAE was obtained at a temperature of 1200C and a time of 5 h in a solid-solvent ratio of 1:40 g/mL while the lowest TPC of 616.57 mg/L GAE was obtained at a temperature of 900C and a time of 3 h at a solid-solvent ratio of 1:20 g/mL. With such a high phenolic content, Sekaki papaya (Carica papaya) peel can be used as a natural antioxidant and can protect the human body from various free-radical-associated diseases.
phenolics, antioxidant, Total Phenolic Content (TPC), Folin-Ciocalteau method
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease which is caused by spirochetes from the genus Leptospira. It can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected animals or indirect contact with an environment contaminated by the urine of infected animals. The objective of this study was to study the status of leptospirosis in two selected National Service Training Centres (NSTCs) and two paddy fields of Sarawak. A total of 31 captured rats, 210 soil samples and 210 water samples were collected from these study sites. All the samples were inoculated into a modified semisolid Ellinghausen-McCullough-Johnson-Harris (EMJH) broth with 5-fluorouracil. For soil and water samples, a specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was conducted after a one-month incubation period. Kidney and liver samples from rats were incubated and PCR was carried out monthly during the three-month incubation period. Representative PCR-positive samples which targetted LipL32, 16S rRNA and rrs genes at 423 bp, 331 bp and 240 bp in pathogenic, intermediate and saprophytic Leptospira, respectively, were further sequenced. From the PCR analysis, intermediate Leptospira was detected in one (3.2%) rat species, Rattus exulans, that was captured in a paddy field. A total of six (2.9%) pathogenic Leptospira, one (0.5%) each from intermediate and saprophytic Leptospira, were present in soil samples from the study sites. Six (2.9%) water samples were contaminated by pathogenic Leptospira, four (1.9%) by intermediate Leptospira and seven (3.3%) by saprophytic Leptospira. All the contaminated environmental samples were collected from NSTCs except for two soil samples and four water samples from paddy fields that were infected by pathogenic Leptospira. Results from DNA sequencing analysis indicated that the dominant pathogenic, intermediate and saprophytic Leptospira species circulating in these study sites were Leptospiranoguchii, Leptospirawolffii serovar Khorat and Leptospirameyeri, respectively. Although the prevalence of Leptospira is low, there is still a risk of infection to those who are involved in outdoor activities at training centres and paddy fields. Control and preventive measures are, therefore, important in tackling preventable diseases related to pathogenic Leptospira.
Leptospira, rat, soil, water, National Service Training Centres, paddy fields
Repeated separation and purification of fractions from the crude chloroform extract of Calophyllum inophyllum via column chromatography afforded five known xanthone caloxanthones A, B, C, macluraxanthone and pyranojacareubin. Structural elucidations and determination of the isolated compounds were supported by spectral analyses obtained by subjecting the compounds to various spectroscopic techniques. The chloroform extract, when tested against RAW264.7 cells for anti-inflammatory potentials, exhibited the most promising activity with an IC50 value of 14.81±0.04 µg/mL compared to moderate activities shown by the ethyl acetate and n-hexane extracts. Antimicrobial tests showed that the n-hexane and chloroform extracts acted moderately against Staphylococcus epidermidis S273 and Bacillus Subtilis B145.
Annona muricata Linn possesses an anti-tumorigenic effect towards cancer. Several of its bioactive components have already been assessed in previous findings. However, none of the previous studies actually addressed the important consideration of the association between cultivation area of this medicinal plant and its bioactive compounds/antioxidants. In this study, the antioxidant level and antioxidant activity of 19 Annona muricata collected from different locations were evaluated by phenolic and flavonoid assays together with Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma (FRAP) and 1,1-Diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) assays. M1 was found to have an attractive antioxidant profile as it had the highest content of phenolics (73.2 µg/mL GAE) and flavonoids (191.4 µg/mL CE) and also the highest antioxidant capacity in ORAC assay (254.7 µM). Additionally, it had a favourably high ferric ion reducing capacity (15.55 µM Fe2+/µg) and the best free DPPH-radical scavenging activity (IC50=143.5 µg/mL). On the contrary, R1 showed the lowest level of phenolics with a GAE value of 21.92 µg/mL, ranked second lowest in flavonoid content (65.42 µg/mL CE), and it had the least antioxidant capacity in ORAC (94.66 µM), FRAP (4.17 µM Fe2+/µg) and DPPH assays (1597 µg/mL), making it the least desirable antioxidant source. Based on this finding, it was concluded that Annona muricata Linn had varied antioxidant levels and activity regarding its cultivation area; hence, it would be a guide in the selection of potential candidates for natural antioxidants in phytopharmacy.