Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 10

Search results for: Kenichi Suga

10 Isolation, Identification and Characterization of the Bacteria and Yeast from the Fermented Stevia Extract

Authors: Asato Takaishi, Masashi Nasuhara, Ayuko Itsuki, Kenichi Suga

Abstract:

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) is a composite plant native to Paraguay. Stevia sweetener is derived from a hot water extract of Stevia (Stevia extract), which has some effects such as histamine decomposition, antioxidative effect, and blood sugar level-lowering function. The steviol glycosides in the Stevia extract are considered to contribute to these effects. In addition, these effects increase by the fermentation. However, it takes a long time for fermentation of Stevia extract and the fermentation liquid sometimes decays during the fermentation process because natural fermentation method is used. The aim of this study is to perform the fermentation of Stevia extract in a shorter period, and to produce the fermentation liquid in stable quality. From the natural fermentation liquid of Stevia extract, the four strains of useful (good taste) microorganisms were isolated using dilution plate count method and some properties were determined. The base sequences of 16S rDNA and 28S rDNA revealed three bacteria (two Lactobacillus sp. and Microbacterium sp.) and one yeast (Issatchenkia sp.). This result has corresponded that several kinds of lactic bacterium such as Lactobacillus pentosus and Lactobacillus buchneri were isolated from Stevia leaves. Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometory (LC/MS/MS) and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) were used to determine the contents of steviol glycosides and neutral sugars. When these strains were cultured in the sterile Stevia extract, the steviol and stevioside were increased in the fermented Stevia extract. So, it was suggested that the rebaudioside A and the mixture of steviol glycosides in the Stevia extract were decomposed into stevioside and steviol by microbial metabolism.

Keywords: fermentation, lactobacillus, Stevia, steviol glycosides, yeast

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9 Determination of Neighbor Node in Consideration of the Imaging Range of Cameras in Automatic Human Tracking System

Authors: Kozo Tanigawa, Tappei Yotsumoto, Kenichi Takahashi, Takao Kawamura, Kazunori Sugahara

Abstract:

An automatic human tracking system using mobile agent technology is realized because a mobile agent moves in accordance with a migration of a target person. In this paper, we propose a method for determining the neighbor node in consideration of the imaging range of cameras.

Keywords: human tracking, mobile agent, Pan/Tilt/Zoom, neighbor relation

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8 Human Tracking across Heterogeneous Systems Based on Mobile Agent Technologies

Authors: Tappei Yotsumoto, Atsushi Nomura, Kozo Tanigawa, Kenichi Takahashi, Takao Kawamura, Kazunori Sugahara

Abstract:

In a human tracking system, expanding a monitoring range of one system is complicating the management of devices and increasing its cost. Therefore, we propose a method to realize a wide-range human tracking by connecting small systems. In this paper, we examined an agent deploy method and information contents across the heterogeneous human tracking systems. By implementing the proposed method, we can construct a human tracking system across heterogeneous systems, and the system can track a target continuously between systems.

Keywords: human tracking system, mobile agent, monitoring, heterogeneous systems

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7 Problems and Prospects of Rural Women Entrepreneurs in Kakamega County, Kenya

Authors: Ondiba Hesborn Andole, Kenichi Matsui

Abstract:

Women entrepreneurs in the rural areas of Kenya have continually been affected by culturally engraved gendered bias customs. This research investigates challenges and prospects of rural women entrepreneurship in Kakamega County, Kenya. We conducted the questionnaire survey and interviews among 153 women entrepreneurs in the County to better understand how traditional norms influence them in conducting or seeking small businesses. We found that Luhya customs significantly affect growth and performance of rural women enterprises. Traditional Luhya society does not recognize women’s rights to land and higher education. The Luhya traditional roles of women are limited so that, without competing with men, they need to find gender biased works through networking activities. Also, without higher education degrees, their business prospects are limited. Among the respondents, 31% had primary education and about 5% had no formal education at all. We discuss how these women may succeed in businesses under these conditions.

Keywords: chama, culture, entrepreneurs, rural women

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6 Assessing the Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Waste Management Workers in Ghana

Authors: Mensah-Akoto Julius, Kenichi Matsui

Abstract:

This paper examines the impact of COVID-19 on waste management workers in Ghana. A questionnaire survey was conducted among 60 waste management workers in Accra metropolis, the capital region of Ghana, to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on waste generation, workers’ safety in collecting solid waste, and service delivery. To find out correlations between the pandemic and safety of waste management workers, a regression analysis was used. Regarding waste generation, the results show the pandemic led to the highest annual per capita solid waste generation, or 3,390 tons, in 2020. Regarding the safety of workers, the regression analysis shows a significant and inverse association between COVID-19 and waste management services. This means that contaminated wastes may infect field workers with COVID-19 due to their direct exposure. A rise in new infection cases would have a negative impact on the safety and service delivery of the workers. The result also shows that an increase in economic activities negatively impacts waste management workers. The analysis, however, finds no statistical relationship between workers’ service deliveries and employees’ salaries. The study then discusses how municipal waste management authorities can ensure safe and effective waste collection during the pandemic.

Keywords: Covid-19, waste management worker, waste collection, Ghana

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5 Examining Renewable Energy Policy Implementation for Sustainable Development in Kenya

Authors: Eliud Kiprop, Kenichi Matsui, Joseph Karanja, Hesborn Ondiba

Abstract:

To double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 as part of actions for the Paris Agreement, policymakers in each ratifying country must accelerate their efforts within the next few years by implementing their own renewable energy strategies. Kenya has increased its funding for research and development in renewable energy sources largely because it intends to reduce greenhouse gas GHG emissions by 30% from business as usual (BAU) levels (143 MtCO₂eq) by 2030. In 2013, the Kenyan government launched an ambitious plan to increase the installed power generation capacity from 1,768MW to more than 5,000MW by the end of 2017. This paper examines the formulation and implementation process of this plan and shows how this plan will affect Kenya’s renewable energy industry and national policy implementation in general. Results demonstrate that, despite having a well- documented policy in place, the Kenyan government cannot meet its target of 5000MW by the end of 2017. Among other factors, we find that the main reason is attributable to the failure in adhering to the main principles of the policy plan. We also find that the government has failed to consider the future energy demand. Had the policy been implemented on time, we argue that there would have been excess power.

Keywords: policy implementation, policy plan, renewable energy, sustainable development

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4 Realizing the National Disaster Management Policy of Sri Lanka through Public Private Partnerships

Authors: K. W. A. M. Kokila, Matsui Kenichi

Abstract:

Sri Lanka’s disaster management policy aims to protect lives and developments in disaster affected areas by effectively using resources for disaster risk reduction, emergency management, and community awareness. However, funding for these action programs has posed a serious challenge to the country’s economy. This paper examines the extent to which private-public partnerships (PPPs) can facilitate and expedite disaster management works. In particular, it discusses the results of the questionnaire survey among policymakers, government administrators, NGOs, and private businesses. This questionnaire was conducted in 2017. All respondents were selected based on their experience in PPP projects in the past. The survey focused on clarifying the effectiveness of past PPP projects as well as their efficiency and transparency. The respondents also provided their own opinions and suggestions to improve the future PPP projects in Sri Lanka. The questionnaire was distributed to fifteen persons. The results show that almost all respondents think that PPP projects are beneficial and important for future disaster risk management in Sri Lanka. The respondents, however, showed some reservation about effectiveness and transparency of the PPP process. This paper also discusses the results on the respondents’ perceptions about their capacity regarding human resources and management. This paper, overall, sheds light on technological, financial and human resource management practices in developed countries as well as policy and legislation provisions regarding PPP projects.

Keywords: disaster management, policy, private public partnership, projects

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3 Purification of Zr from Zr-Hf Resources Using Crystallization in HF-HCl Solvent Mixture

Authors: Kenichi Hirota, Jifeng Wang, Sadao Araki, Koji Endo, Hideki Yamamoto

Abstract:

Zirconium (Zr) has been used as a fuel cladding tube for nuclear reactors, because of the excellent corrosion resistance and the low adsorptive material for neutron. Generally speaking, the natural resource of Zr is often containing Hf that has similar properties. The content of Hf in the Zr resources is about 2~4 wt%. In the industrial use, the content of Hf in Zr resources should be lower than the 100 ppm. However, the separation of Zr and Hf is not so easy, because of similar chemical and physical properties such as melting point, boiling point and things. Solvent extraction method has been applied for the separation of Zr and Hf from Zr natural resources. This method can separate Hf with high efficiency (Hf < 100ppm), however, it needs much amount of organic solvents for solvent extraction and the cost of its disposal treatment is high. Therefore, we attached attention for the fractional crystallization. This separation method depends on the solubility difference of Zr and Hf in the solvent. In this work, hexafluorozirconate (hafnate) (K2Zr(Hf)F6) was used as model compound. Solubility of K2ZrF6 in water showed lower than that of K2HfF6. By repeating of this treatment, it is possible to purify Zr, practically. In this case, 16-18 times of recrystallization stages were needed for its high purification. The improvement of the crystallization process was carried out in this work. Water, hydrofluoric acid (HF) and hydrofluoric acid (HF) +hydrochloric acid (HCl) mixture were chosen as solvent for dissolution of Zr and Hf. In the experiment, 10g of K2ZrF6 was added to each solvent of 100mL. Each solution was heated for 1 hour at 353K. After 1h of this operation, they were cooled down till 293K, and were held for 5 hours at 273K. Concentration of Zr or Hf was measured using ICP analysis. It was found that Hf was separated from Zr-Hf mixed compound with high efficiency, when HF-HCl solution was used for solvent of crystallization. From the comparison of the particle size of each crystal by SEM, it was confirmed that the particle diameter of the crystal showed smaller size with decreasing of Hf content. This paper concerned with purification of Zr from Zr-Hf mixture using crystallization method.

Keywords: crystallization, zirconium, hafnium, separation

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2 Angiogenic, Cytoprotective, and Immunosuppressive Properties of Human Amnion and Chorion-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Authors: Kenichi Yamahara, Makiko Ohshima, Shunsuke Ohnishi, Hidetoshi Tsuda, Akihiko Taguchi, Toshihiro Soma, Hiroyasu Ogawa, Jun Yoshimatsu, Tomoaki Ikeda

Abstract:

We have previously reported the therapeutic potential of rat fetal membrane(FM)-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) using various rat models including hindlimb ischemia, autoimmune myocarditis, glomerulonephritis, renal ischemia-reperfusion injury, and myocardial infarction. In this study, 1) we isolated and characterized MSCs from human amnion and chorion; 2) we examined their differences in the expression profile of growth factors and cytokines; and 3) we investigated the therapeutic potential and difference of these MSCs using murine hindlimb ischemia and acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) models. Isolated MSCs from both amnion and chorion layers of FM showed similar morphological appearance, multipotency, and cell-surface antigen expression. Conditioned media obtained from amnion- and chorion-derived MSCs inhibited cell death caused by serum starvation or hypoxia in endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes. Amnion and chorion MSCs secreted significant amounts of angiogenic factors including HGF, IGF-1, VEGF, and bFGF, although differences in the cellular expression profile of these soluble factors were observed. Transplantation of human amnion or chorion MSCs significantly increased blood flow and capillary density in a murine hindlimb ischemia model. In addition, compared to human chorion MSCs, human amnion MSCs markedly reduced T-lymphocyte proliferation with the enhanced secretion of PGE2, and improved the pathological situation of a mouse model of GVHD disease. Our results highlight that human amnionand chorion-derived MSCs, which showed differences in their soluble factor secretion and angiogenic/immuno-suppressive function, could be ideal cell sources for regenerative medicine.

Keywords: amnion, chorion, fetal membrane, mesenchymal stem cells

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1 A Study on the Current Challenges Hindering Urban Park Development in Ulaanbaatar City, Mongolia

Authors: Bayarmaa Enkhbold, Kenichi Matsui

Abstract:

Urban parks are important assets to every community in terms of providing space for health, cultural and leisure activities. However, Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, faces a shortage of green spaces, particularly urban parks, due to overpopulation and haphazard growth. Therefore, in order to increase green space per person, the city government has planned to increase green space per person up to 20m² by 2020 and 30m² by 2030 by establishing more urban parks throughout the city. But this plan was estimated that it is highly unlikely to reach those goals according to the analysis of the present status of plan implementation because the current amount of green space per person is still 4m². In the past studies globally, city planners and scientists agree that it is highly improbable to develop urban parks and keep maintenance sustainably without reflecting community perceptions and their involvement in the park establishment. Therefore, this research aims to find the challenges which stymie urban park development in Ulaanbaatar city and recommend dealing with the problems. In order to reach the goal, communities’ perceptions about the current challenges and their necessity for urban parks were identified and determined whether they differentiated depending on two different types of residential areas (urban and suburban areas). It also attempted to investigate international good practices on how they deal with similar problems. The research methodology was based on a questionnaire survey among city residents, a document review regarding the involvement of stakeholders, and a literature review of relevant past studies. According to the residents’ perceptions, the biggest challenge was a lack of land availability and followed by a lack of proper policy, planning, management, and maintenance out of seven key challenges identified. The biggest community demand from the urban park was a playground for children and followed by recreation and relaxation out of six types of needs. Based on research findings, the study proposed several recommendations for enhancements as institutional and legal framework, park plan and management, supportive environment and monitoring, evaluation, and reporting.

Keywords: challenges of urban park planning and maintenance, community-based urban park establishment, community perceptions and participation, urban parks in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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