Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 11

Search results for: Abishek Poudel

11 Human-Tiger Conflict in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Authors: Abishek Poudel


Human-tiger conflicts are serious issues of conflicts between local people and park authority and the conflicting situation potentially play negative role in park management. The study aimed (1) To determine the trend and nature of human-tiger conflicts (2) To understand people's perception and mitigation measures towards tiger conservation. Both primary and secondary information were used to determine human- tiger conflicts in Chitwan National Park. Systematic random sampling with 5% intensity was done to collect the perception of the villagers regarding human-tiger conflicts. The study sites were selected based on frequencies of incidences of human attacks and livestock depredation viz. Rajahar and Ayodhyapuri VDCs respectively. The trend of human casualties by tiger has increased in last five year whereas the trend of livestock has decreased. Reportedly, between 2008 and 2012, tigers killed 22 people, injured 10 and killed at least 213 livestock. Conflict was less common in the park and more intense in the sub-optimal habitats of Buffer Zone. Goat was the most vulnerable livestock followed by cattle. The livestock grazing and human intrusion into tiger habitat were the causes of conflicts. Developing local stewardship and support for tiger conservation, livestock insurance, and compensation policy simplification may help reduce human-tiger conflicts.

Keywords: livestock depredation, sub optimal habitat, human-tiger, local stewardship

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10 Selection Effects on the Molecular and Abiotic Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance

Authors: Abishek Rajkumar


Antibiotic resistance can occur naturally given the selective pressure placed on antibiotics. Within a large population of bacteria, there is a significant chance that some of those bacteria can develop resistance via mutations or genetic recombination. However, a growing public health concern has arisen over the fact that antibiotic resistance has increased significantly over the past few decades. This is because humans have been over-consuming and producing antibiotics, which has ultimately accelerated the antibiotic resistance seen in these bacteria. The product of all of this is an ongoing race between scientists and the bacteria as bacteria continue to develop resistance, which creates even more demand for an antibiotic that can still terminate the newly resistant strain of bacteria. This paper will focus on a myriad of aspects of antibiotic resistance in bacteria starting with how it occurs on a molecular level and then focusing on the antibiotic concentrations and how they affect the resistance and fitness seen in bacteria.

Keywords: antibiotic, molecular, mutation, resistance

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9 In vitro Clonal Multiplication and Acclimatization of Large Cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.)

Authors: Krishna Poudel, Tahar Katuwal, Sujan Karki


A rapid propagation and acclimatization method of large cardamom was optimized in this study. Sprouted rhizome buds were collected. The excised rhizome bud explants were cultured on semi solid culture media. The explants were cultured on Murashige and Skoog’s (MS) medium supplemented with different concentration and combinations of BAP (6-Benzyl-amino-purine) and IBA (Indole-3-butyric acid) for shoot and root induction. Explants cultured on MS basal medium supplemented with 1.0 mg/l BAP + 0.5 gm/l IBA showed the highest rate of shoot multiplication. In vitro shoots were rooted on to the half-strength MS basal media supplemented with 0.5 mg/l IBA. Rooted shoots were transplanted in the screen house for hardening process. These hardened plants were subsequently shifted into the netted nursery for further multiplication process.

Keywords: concentration, explants, hardening, rhizome

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8 Modeling and Design of Rectenna for Low Power Medical Implants

Authors: Madhav Pant, Khem N. Poudel


Wireless power transfer is continuously becoming more powerful and compact in medical implantable devices and the wide range of applications. A rectenna is designed for wireless power transfer technique that can be applied to medical implant devices. The experiment is performed using ANSYS HFSS, a full wave electromagnetic simulation. The dipole antenna combinations operating at 2.4 GHz are used for wireless power transfer and the maximum DC voltage reception by the implant considering International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) regulation. The power receiving dipole antenna is placed inside the cylindrical geometry having the similar properties of the human body at the frequency of 2.4 GHz. Our design can provide the power at the depth of 5 mm skin and 5mm of bone for the implant. The voltage doubler/quadrupler rectifier in ANSYS Simplorer is used to calculate the exact DC current utilized by implant inside the human body. The qualitative design and analysis of this wireless power transfer method could also be used for other biomedical implants systems such as cardiac pacemaker, insulin pump, and retinal implants.

Keywords: dipole antenna, medical implants, wireless power transfer, rectifier

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7 Thermal Pre-Treatment of Sewage Sludge in Fluidized Bed for Enhancing Its Solid Fuel Properties

Authors: Sujeeta Karki, Jeeban Poudel, Ja Hyung Choi, Sea Cheon Oh


A lab-scale fluidized bed was used for the study of sewage sludge, a non-lignocellulosic biomass, torrefaction. The influence of torrefaction temperature ranging from 200–350 °C and residence time of 0–50 minutes on the physical and chemical properties of the torrefied product was investigated. Properties of the torrefied product were analyzed on the basis of degree of torrefaction, ultimate and proximate analysis, gas analysis and chemical exergy. The degree of torrefaction and chemical exergy had a positive influence on increasing the torrefaction temperature. Moreover, the effect of torrefaction temperature and residence time on the elemental variation of sewage sludge exhibited an increase in the weight percentage of carbon while the content of H/C and O/C molar ratios decreased. The product gas emitted during torrefaction was analyzed to study the pathway of hydrocarbons and oxygen-containing compounds. The compounds with oxygen were emitted at higher temperatures in contrast to hydrocarbon gases. An attempt was made to obtain the chemical exergy of sewage sludge. In addition, the study of various correlations for predicting the calorific value of torrefied sewage sludge was made.

Keywords: chemical exergy, degree of torrefaction, fluidized bed, higher heating value (HHV), O/C and H/C molar ratios, sewage sludge

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6 De Novo Design of a Minimal Catalytic Di-Nickel Peptide Capable of Sustained Hydrogen Evolution

Authors: Saroj Poudel, Joshua Mancini, Douglas Pike, Jennifer Timm, Alexei Tyryshkin, Vikas Nanda, Paul Falkowski


On the early Earth, protein-metal complexes likely harvested energy from a reduced environment. These complexes would have been precursors to the metabolic enzymes of ancient organisms. Hydrogenase is an essential enzyme in most anaerobic organisms for the reduction and oxidation of hydrogen in the environment and is likely one of the earliest evolved enzymes. To attempt to reinvent a precursor to modern hydrogenase, we computationally designed a short thirteen amino acid peptide that binds the often-required catalytic transition metal Nickel in hydrogenase. This simple complex can achieve hundreds of hydrogen evolution cycles using light energy in a broad range of temperature and pH. Biophysical and structural investigations strongly indicate the peptide forms a di-nickel active site analogous to Acetyl-CoA synthase, an ancient protein central to carbon reduction in the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway and capable of hydrogen evolution. This work demonstrates that prior to the complex evolution of multidomain enzymes, early peptide-metal complexes could have catalyzed energy transfer from the environment on the early Earth and enabled the evolution of modern metabolism

Keywords: hydrogenase, prebiotic enzyme, metalloenzyme, computational design

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5 Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and Depression in Persons with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: A Cross-Sectional and Prospective Study

Authors: Kalpana Poudel-Tandukar


Background: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection has been frequently associated with vitamin D deficiency and depression. Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of depression in people without HIV. We assessed the cross-sectional and prospective associations between serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and depression in a HIV-positive people. Methods: A survey was conducted among 316 HIV-positive people aged 20-60 years residing in Kathmandu, Nepal for a cross-sectional association at baseline, and among 184 participants without depressive symptoms at baseline who responded to both baseline (2010) and follow-up (2011) surveys for prospective association. The competitive protein-binding assay was used to measure 25(OH)D levels and the Beck Depression Inventory-Ia method was used to measure depression, with cut off score 20 or higher. Relationships were assessed using multiple logistic regression analysis with adjustment of potential confounders. Results: The proportion of participants with 25(OH)D level of <20ng/mL, 20-30ng/mL, and >30ng/mL were 83.2%, 15.5%, and 1.3%, respectively. Only four participants with 25(OH)D level of >30ng/mL were excluded in the further analysis. The mean 25(OH)D level in men and women were 15.0ng/mL and 14.4ng/mL, respectively. Twenty six percent of participants (men:23%; women:29%) were depressed. Participants with 25(OH)D level of < 20 ng/mL had a 1.4 fold higher odds of depression in a cross-sectional and 1.3 fold higher odds of depression after 18 months of baseline compared to those with 25(OH)D level of 20-30ng/mL (p=0.40 and p=0.78, respectively). Conclusion: Vitamin D may not have significant impact against depression among HIV-positive people with 25(OH)D level below normal ( > 30ng/mL).

Keywords: depression, HIV, Nepal, vitamin D

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4 Scale-Up Study of Gas-Liquid Two Phase Flow in Downcomer

Authors: Jayanth Abishek Subramanian, Ramin Dabirian, Ilias Gavrielatos, Ram Mohan, Ovadia Shoham


Downcomers are important conduits for multiphase flow transfer from offshore platforms to the seabed. Uncertainty in the predictions of the pressure drop of multiphase flow between platforms is often dominated by the uncertainty associated with the prediction of holdup and pressure drop in the downcomer. The objectives of this study are to conduct experimental and theoretical scale-up study of the downcomer. A 4-in. diameter vertical test section was designed and constructed to study two-phase flow in downcomer. The facility is equipped with baffles for flow area restriction, enabling interchangeable annular slot openings between 30% and 61.7%. Also, state-of-the-art instrumentation, the capacitance Wire-Mesh Sensor (WMS) was utilized to acquire the experimental data. A total of 76 experimental data points were acquired, including falling film under 30% and 61.7% annular slot opening for air-water and air-Conosol C200 oil cases as well as gas carry-under for 30% and 61.7% opening utilizing air-Conosol C200 oil. For all experiments, the parameters such as falling film thickness and velocity, entrained liquid holdup in the core, gas void fraction profiles at the cross-sectional area of the liquid column, the void fraction and the gas carry under were measured. The experimental results indicated that the film thickness and film velocity increase as the flow area reduces. Also, the increase in film velocity increases the gas entrainment process. Furthermore, the results confirmed that the increase of gas entrainment for the same liquid flow rate leads to an increase in the gas carry-under. A power comparison method was developed to enable evaluation of the Lopez (2011) model, which was created for full bore downcomer, with the novel scale-up experiment data acquired from the downcomer with the restricted area for flow. Comparison between the experimental data and the model predictions shows a maximum absolute average discrepancy of 22.9% and 21.8% for the falling film thickness and velocity, respectively; and a maximum absolute average discrepancy of 22.2% for fraction of gas carried with the liquid (oil).

Keywords: two phase flow, falling film, downcomer, wire-mesh sensor

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3 Human-Elephant Conflict and Mitigation Measures in Buffer Zone of Bardia National Park, Nepal

Authors: Rabin Paudel, Dambar Bahadur Mahato, Prabin Poudel, Bijaya Neupane, Sakar Jha


Understanding Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) is very important in countries like Nepal, where solutions to escalating conflicts are urgently required. However, most of the HEC mitigation measures implemented so far have been done on an ad hoc basis without the detailed understanding of nature and extent of the damage. This study aims to assess the current scenario of HEC in regards to crop and property damages by Wild Asian Elephant and people’s perception towards existing mitigating measures and elephant conservation in Buffer zone area of Bardia National Park. The methods used were a questionnaire survey (N= 178), key-informant interview (N= 18) and focal group discussions (N= 6). Descriptive statistics were used to determine the nature and extent of damage and to understand people’s perception towards HEC, its mitigation measures and elephant conservation. Chi-square test was applied to determine the significance of crop and property damages with respect to distance from the park boundary. Out of all types of damage, crop damage was found to be the highest (51%), followed by house damage (31%) and damage to stored grains (18%) with winter being the season with the greatest elephant damage. Among 178 respondents, the majority of them (82%) were positive towards elephant conservation despite the increment in HEC incidents as perceived by 88% of total respondents. Among the mitigation measures present, the most applied was electric fence (91%) followed by barbed wire fence (5%), reinforced concrete cement wall (3%) and gabion wall (1%). Most effective mitigation measures were reinforced concrete cement wall and gabion wall. To combat increasing crop damage, the insurance policy should be initiated. The efficiency of the mitigation measures should be timely monitored, and corrective measures should be applied as per the need.

Keywords: crop and property damage, elephant conflict, Asiatic wild elephant, mitigation measures

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2 Pharmacognostical, Phytochemical and Biological Studies of Leaves and Stems of Hippophae Salicifolia

Authors: Bhupendra Kumar Poudel, Sadhana Amatya, Tirtha Maiya Shrestha, Bharatmani Pokhrel, Mohan Prasad Amatya


Background: H. salicifolia is a dense, branched, multipurpose, deciduous, nitrogen fixing, thorny willow-like small to moderate tree, restricted to the Himalaya. Among the two species of Nepal (Hippophae salicifolia and H. tibetana), it has been traditionally used as food additive, anticancer (bark), and treating toothache, tooth inflammation (anti-inflammatory) and radiation injury; while people of Western Nepal have largely undermined its veiled treasure by using it for fuel, wood and soil stabilization only. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to explore biological properties (analgesic, antidiabetic, cytotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties of this plant. Methodology: The transverse section of leaves and stems were viewed under microscope. Extracts obtained from soxhlation subjected to tests for phytochemical and biological studies. Rats (used to study antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties) and mice (used to study analgesic, CNS depressant, muscle relaxant and locomotor properties) were assumed to be normally distributed; then ANOVA and post hoc tukey test was used to find significance. The data obtained were analyzed by SPSS 17 and Excel 2007. Results and Conclusion: Pharmacognostical analysis revealed the presence of long stellate trichomes, double layered vascular bundle 5-6 in number and double layered compact sclerenchyma. The preliminary phytochemical screening of the extracts was found to exhibit the positive reaction tests for glycoside, steroid, tannin, flavonoid, saponin, coumarin and reducing sugar. The brine shrimp lethality bioassay tested in 1000, 100 and 10 ppm revealed cytotoxic activity inherent in methanol, water, chloroform and ethyl acetate extracts with LC50 (μg/ml) values of 61.42, 99.77, 292.72 and 277.84 respectively. The cytotoxic activity may be due to presence of tannins in the constituents. Antimicrobial screening of the extracts by cup diffusion method using Staphylococcus aereus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa against standard antibiotics (oxacillin, gentamycin and amikacin respectively) portrayed no activity against the microorganisms tested. The methanol extract of the stems and leaves showed various pharmacological properties: and antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic [chemical writhing method], CNS depressant, muscle relaxant and locomotor activities in a dose-dependent fashion, indicating the possibility of the presence of different constituents in the stems and leaves responsible for these biological activities. All the effects when analyzed by post hoc tukey test were found to be significant at 95% confidence level. The antidiabetic activity was presumed to be due to flavonoids present in extract. Therefore, it can be concluded that this plant’s secondary metabolites possessed strong antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activity which could be isolated for further investigation.

Keywords: Hippophae salicifolia, constituents, antidiabetic, inflammatory, brine shrimp

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1 Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) Performance Indicators Help Predict Outcomes of Matched Savings Program

Authors: Carlos M. Parra, Matthew Sutherland, Ranjita Poudel


Reduced mental-bandwidth related to low socioeconomic status (low-SES) might lead to impulsivity and risk-taking behavior, which poses as a major hurdle towards asset building (savings) behavior. Understanding the relationship between risk-related personality metrics as well as laboratory risk behavior and real-life savings behavior can help facilitate the development of effective asset building programs, which are vital for mitigating financial vulnerability and income inequality. As such, this study explored the relationship between personality metrics, laboratory behavior in a risky decision-making task and real-life asset building (savings) behaviors among individuals with low-SES from Miami, Florida (FL). Study participants (12 male, 15 female) included racially and ethnically diverse adults (mean age 41.22 ± 12.65 years), with incomplete higher education (18% had High School Diploma, 30% Associates, and 52% Some College), and low annual income (mean $13,872 ± $8020.43). Participants completed eight self-report surveys and played a widely used risky decision-making paradigm called the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART). Specifically, participants played three runs of BART (20 trials in each run; total 60 trials). In addition, asset building behavior data was collected for 24 participants who opened and used savings accounts and completed a 6-month savings program that involved monthly matches, and a final reward for completing the savings program without any interim withdrawals. Each participant’s total savings at the end of this program was the main asset building indicator considered. In addition, a new effective use of average pump bet (EUAPB) indicator was developed to characterize each participant’s ability to place winning bets. This indicator takes the ratio of each participant’s total BART earnings to average pump bet (APB) in all 60 trials. Our findings indicated that EUAPB explained more than a third of the variation in total savings among participants. Moreover, participants who managed to obtain BART earnings of at least 30 cents out of their APB, also tended to exhibit better asset building (savings) behavior. In particular, using this criterion to separate participants into high and low EUAPB groups, the nine participants with high EUAPB (mean BART earnings of 35.64 cents per APB) ended up with higher mean total savings ($255.11), while the 15 participants with low EUAPB (mean BART earnings of 22.50 cents per APB) obtained lower mean total savings ($40.01). All mean differences are statistically significant (2-tailed p  .0001) indicating that the relation between higher EUAPB and higher total savings is robust. Overall, these findings can help refine asset building interventions implemented by policy makers and practitioners interested in reducing financial vulnerability among low-SES population. Specifically, by helping identify individuals who are likely to readily take advantage of savings opportunities (such as matched savings programs) and avoiding the stipulation of unnecessary and expensive financial coaching programs to these individuals. This study was funded by J.P. Morgan Chase (JPMC) and carried out by scientists from Florida International University (FIU) in partnership with Catalyst Miami.

Keywords: balloon analogue risk task (BART), matched savings programs, asset building capability, low-SES participants

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