Open Access Original Research Article

A Novel Method to Produce Cost Effective, Environment Friendly Superabsorbent from Eichhornia crassipes for Improved Water Retention in Soil

J. G. Shantha Siri, C. A. N. Fernando, S. N. T. De Silva

Asian Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology, Page 1-10
DOI: 10.9734/ajb2t/2020/v6i230075

Eichhornia crassipes is considered the worst aquatic weed in the world as it has become a serious threat to the environment and biodiversity hence eco-friendly utilization of this hydrophyte is needed and important. Enhancement of agricultural production to cater for increased food demand is a global challenge which is aggravated by climate change and scarcity of water. Superabsorbent materials have been developed to improve water retention in soil but majority of superabsorbent are synthetic based and non-biodegradable. Therefore, this study is aimed at developing an eco-friendly superabsorbent from E. crassipes in a cost-effective manner and assess its efficacy on improved water retention in soil. E. crassipes was collected from tank nearby Faculty of Applied Sciences, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka and petiole was treated with potassium hydroxide (KOH) followed by microwave irradiation in which reaction conditions were optimized to obtain maximum water absorption and swelling capacity. Prepared superabsorbent was characterized using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), XRD and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. Efficacy of the superabsorbent on improved water retention was assessed using normal loam soil. The superabsorbent showed a maximum swelling index of 1276% at KOH concentration of 0.1 moles/l which is attributed to highly porous structure, presence of hydrophilic functional groups in cellulose and hemicellulose, increased number of surface hydrophilic functional groups during the KOH activation process and carboxymethyl cellulose created during microwave irradiation. Water absorption capacity of the superabsorbent is greatly influenced by KOH concentration, reaction time, microwave power and exposure time. Water retention studies in soil showed that superabsorbent has capacity to retain water for 27 days with a slow rate of water evaporation whereas soil samples without superabsorbent showed a high rate of water evaporation retaining water only for 15 days. Findings of this study disclose an innovative method for development of an eco-friendly superabsorbent from E. crassipes in a cost-effective manner excluding toxic chemical reagents which can be used for improved water retention in soil effectively for climate change resilient sustainable agriculture.

Open Access Original Research Article

The Dynamics of Electrochemicals and Microbial Populations during Anaerobic Treatment of Human Urine in Soil Microbial Fuel Cells

H. O. Stanley, C. J. Ugboma

Asian Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology, Page 11-21
DOI: 10.9734/ajb2t/2020/v6i230076

The dynamics of electrochemicals and microbial populations during anaerobic treatment of human urine in soil microbial fuel cells (MFCs) were investigated. The experimental MFC was supplemented with daily urine input while the control MFC was without urine. During the treatment process, electrochemical and microbiological parameters in effluent of the urine-supplemented MFC were monitored using standard methods. The pH of the urine increased from 5.70 to 7.16 after 15 days of treatment in the urine supplemented MFC. The concentration of phosphorus, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, total nitrogen and total organic carbon of the urine reduced from 0.76 g/l to 0.07 g/l, 1.91 g/l to 0.17 g/l, 2.24 g/l to 0.09 g/l, 0.14 g/l to 0.003 g/l, 0.08 g/l to 0.00 g/l, 8.25 g/l to 0.74 g/l and 7.10 g/l to 0.53 g/l respectively after 15 days of treatment. Furthermore, Open voltage of the urine supplemented MFC ranged from 5.63 V to 10.34 V while Open voltage of the control ranged from 1.84 V to 5.02 V after 15 days of operation. The population of facultative bacteria (FAB) and strict anaerobic bacteria (SAB) ranged from 64.2 x 104 CFU to 36.2 x 104 CFU and 21.2 x104 CFU to 61.3 x104 CFU respectively with time. The urine supplemented MFC performed significantly (p < 0.05) better than the control with respect to voltage output while significantly reduced concentrations of organic carbon, nitrogen and metallic (salt) species were found. Therefore, the soil MFC may be applied as a waste management option to treat human urine while generating electricity before disposal.

Open Access Original Research Article

Green Synthesis of Chromium Nanoparticles by Aqueous Extract of Melia azedarach, Artemisia herba-alba and Bacteria Fragments against Erwinia amylovora

O. M. Kotb, F. M. Abd El-Latif, A. R. Atawia, Sherif S. Saleh, S. F. El-Gioushy

Asian Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology, Page 22-30
DOI: 10.9734/ajb2t/2020/v6i230077

This study was carried out at the Tissue Culture and Germplasm Conservation Research Laboratory, Horticulture Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Giza, Egypt. in cooperation with Department of Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture, Benha University, Egypt. from 2016 to 2020.

Medicinal plants contain many reduction substances e.g. terpenoids, flavonoids, tannins, and glycosides. Melia azedarach and Artemisia herba-alba are rich in these compounds that are able to reduce chromium metal (VI) to chromium nanoparticles (Cr2O3). Chromium oxide nanoparticles were green synthesized by the reduction of potassium dichromate solution with Melia azedarach and Artemisia herba-alba plant extract. In biological methods, Cr2O3 nanoparticles were synthesized by two biological agents of Erwinia amylovora dry matter and extraction. The resulting Cr2O3 nanoparticles were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), UV-VIS absorption spectroscopy. The antibacterial effect of Cr2O3 nanoparticles against E. amylovora gave the highest inhibition zone for Cr2O3 nanoparticles reduction by Artemisia followed by Melia (31.0 and 25.0 mm respectively). These particles were shown to have an effective bactericide on contaminated callus pear cells by Erwinia bacteria which gave survival 75% and 50% and 0.0% contamination.

Open Access Original Research Article

Isolation and Molecular Characterization of Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus flavus Isolated from Poultry Birds in Ado- Ekiti, Nigeria

E. D. Fagbohun, K. J. Ayantola, A. J. Toyin-Famoroti

Asian Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology, Page 31-44
DOI: 10.9734/ajb2t/2020/v6i230078

Aim: The study was carried out to isolate and identify Aspergillus species from commercial birds with suspected aspergillosis in the poultry farms within Ado Ekiti metropolis Nigeria. 

Place and Period of Study: The study was carried out in the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Ekiti State University Ado Ekiti, Nigeria in August 2016.

Methodology: A total of 35 sick/suspected birds were collected randomly from three poultry farms. At Ago-Aduloju poultry farms, 15 samples were randomly collected from 1000 birds while at Ekiti State University poultry farms, 10 samples were randomly collected from 500 birds. At Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti poultry farms, 10 samples were randomly collected from 700 birds. The bird’s selection was on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, weight loss, drooping of wings and exercise intolerance. Swab samples were collected from each suspected/sick bird for mycological culture and molecular characterization of the isolates from each bird was carried out. The isolates were identified based on the color of the culture on Potato Dextrose Agar and microscopic examination. Molecular identification was done using 23S Ribosomal RNA Gene and Partial Sequence.

Results: Six fungal strains that showed similar morphological and cultural characteristics of Aspergillus species were isolated. The isolates were coded ASP 1, ASP 2, ASP 3, ASP 4, ASP 5, and ASP 6. The identified organisms were; Aspergillus fumigatus qH 107 (ASP 1), Aspergillus fumigatus qH 107 (ASP 2), Aspergillus flavus M09 (ASP 3), Aspergillus flavus UOMS6 (ASP 4), Aspergillus fumigatus qH 107 (ASP 5), Aspergillus flavus qH 107 (ASP 6).

Conclusion: It is evident that Aspergillus species were predominant in poultry farms selected in this study. Necessary precaution should be put in place to prevent the spread of aspergillosis. Poultry farmers are advised to avoid damp environments, moldy feeds, dry and dusty litters. Adequate ventilation should always be provided in poultry farms to prevent Aspergillosis.

Open Access Original Research Article

Assessment of Proximate, Phytochemical and Selected Mineral Content of Acanthus montanus Leaf

Nwachukwu, Augusta Añuli, Ogbulie, Toochukwu Ekwutosi, Nwachukwu, Chibuike Udodi, Evans-Kemka, Catherine Ijeoma, Onyekachi, Vivian Chisom

Asian Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology, Page 45-54
DOI: 10.9734/ajb2t/2020/v6i230079

Acanthus montanus (Nees) T. Anders belongs to the family Acanthaceae and is one of the most threatened and underutilized species of vegetables in Africa. However the leaves of this plant are part of a consortium infusion (agabada nkwu) given to post-natal mothers within and around Mbaise in Imo State, South Eastern Nigeria, to ensure health and vitality of both nursing mother and child. The proximate, phytochemical and selected mineral contents of the Acanthus montanus leaf were investigated to ascertain the various components. The fresh plant sample was obtained from Ife, Ezinihitte Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo state, Nigeria. The sample was air-dried at room temperature for 72 hours prior to the various analyses, which were done using standard methods. The results of the phytochemical analysis showed 1.60 % flavonoids, 6.67 % tannins, 5.60  % alkaloids, 6.45 % saponins, 0.26 % phytate, 5.41% oxalate, 0.49 % phenol and 0.019 % Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN). The percentage proximate evaluation for moisture content, carbohydrate, protein, fibre, ash content and fat were: 11.85, 37.86, 17.72, 16.70, 10.56 and 5.31 respectively, while the percentage quantities of selected minerals; iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc and copper were: 0.014, 0.569, 3.152, 0.909, 0.089, 0.202, 0.009, 0.010 and 0.001 respectively. Acanthus montanus is reported for its nutritional and medicinal values throughout Africa. The result of this work suggests further exploitation of the parts of Acanthus montanus to unveil more of its potential uses for the treatment of diseases.