Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Search results for: Melusi Khumalo

5 The Finite Element Method for Nonlinear Fredholm Integral Equation of the Second Kind

Authors: Melusi Khumalo, Anastacia Dlamini


In this paper, we consider a numerical solution for nonlinear Fredholm integral equations of the second kind. We work with uniform mesh and use the Lagrange polynomials together with the Galerkin finite element method, where the weight function is chosen in such a way that it takes the form of the approximate solution but with arbitrary coefficients. We implement the finite element method to the nonlinear Fredholm integral equations of the second kind. We consider the error analysis of the method. Furthermore, we look at a specific example to illustrate the implementation of the finite element method.

Keywords: finite element method, Galerkin approach, Fredholm integral equations, nonlinear integral equations

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4 Stabilization of Soil Organic Carbon within Silt+Clay Fraction in Shrub-Encroached Rangeland Shallow Soil at the University of Limpopo Syferkuil Experimental Farm

Authors: Millicent N. Khumalo, Phesheya E. Dlamini


Shrub-encroachment leads to a gain or loss of soil organic carbon (SOC) in previously open rangelands. The stabilization mechanisms controlling the storage of soil organic carbon (SOC) within aggregates of shrub-encroached grassland soils are poorly understood, especially in shallow plinthic soils. In this study, physical fractionation of surface soils (0- 10 cm) collected from open and shrub-encroached grasslands was conducted to determine the distribution of SOC within macro-and- microaggregates. Soil aggregates were classified into four fractions by a wet-sieving procedure, namely >2000 (large macro-aggregates), 212-2000 (small macro-aggregates), 50-212 (microaggregates) and < 50µm (silt+clay). In both shrub-encroached and open grassland soils, SOC was greater in the silt+clay fraction. In this fraction, SOC was on average 133% greater in shrub-encroached compared to open grassland. The greater SOC within the silt+clay fraction is due to the greater surface area and thus more exchange sites for carbon absorption. This implies that the SOC physically protected within the silt+clay is stored long-term.

Keywords: aggregate fractions, shrub-encroachment, soil organic carbon, stabilization

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3 The Role of Climate-Smart Agriculture in the Contribution of Small-Scale Farming towards Ensuring Food Security in South Africa

Authors: Victor O. Abegunde, Melusi Sibanda


There is need for a great deal of attention on small-scale agriculture for livelihood and food security because of the expanding global population. Small-scale agriculture has been identified as a major driving force of agricultural and rural development. However, the high dependence of the sector on natural and climatic resources has made small-scale farmers highly vulnerable to the adverse impact of climatic change thereby necessitating the need for embracing practices or concepts that will help absorb shocks from changes in climatic condition. This study examines the strategic position of small-scale farming in South African agriculture and in ensuring food security in the country, the vulnerability of small-scale agriculture to climate change and the potential of the concept of climate-smart agriculture to tackle the challenge of climate change. The study carried out a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature touching small-scale agriculture, climate change, food security and climate-smart agriculture, employing the realist review method. Findings revealed that increased productivity in the small-scale agricultural sector has a great potential of improving the food security of households in South Africa and reducing dependence on food purchase in a context of high food price inflation. Findings, however, also revealed that climate change affects small-scale subsistence farmers in terms of productivity, food security and family income, categorizing the impact on smallholder livelihoods into three major groups; biological processes, environmental and physical processes and impact on health. Analysis of the literature consistently showed that climate-smart agriculture integrates the benefits of adaptation and resilience to climate change, mitigation, and food security. As a result, farming households adopting climate-smart agriculture will be better off than their counterparts who do not. This study concludes that climate-smart agriculture could be a very good bridge linking small-scale agricultural sector and agricultural productivity and development which could bring about the much needed food security.

Keywords: climate change, climate-smart agriculture, food security, small-scale

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2 Laboratory Scale Production of Bio-Based Chemicals from Industrial Waste Feedstock in South Africa

Authors: P. Mandree, S. O. Ramchuran, F. O'Brien, L. Sethunya, S. Khumalo


South Africa is identified as one of the five emerging waste management markets, globally. The waste sector in South Africa influences the areas of energy, water and food at an economic and social level. Recently, South African industries have focused on waste valorization and diversification of the current product offerings in an attempt to reduce industrial waste, target a zero waste-to-landfill initiative and recover energy. South Africa has a number of waste streams including industrial and agricultural biomass, municipal waste and marine waste. Large volumes of agricultural and forestry residues, in particular, are generated which provides significant opportunity for production of bio-based fuels and chemicals. This could directly impact development of a rural economy. One of the largest agricultural industries is the sugar industry, which contributes significantly to the country’s economy and job creation. However, the sugar industry is facing challenges due to fluctuations in sugar prices, increasing competition with low-cost global sugar producers, increasing energy and agricultural input costs, lower consumption and aging facilities. This study is aimed at technology development for the production of various bio-based chemicals using feedstock from the sugar refining process. Various indigenous bacteria and yeast species were assessed for the potential to produce platform chemicals in flask studies and at 30 L fermentation scale. Quantitative analysis of targeted bio-based chemicals was performed using either gas chromatography or high pressure liquid chromatography to assess production yields and techno-economics in order to compare performance to current commercial benchmark processes. The study also creates a decision platform for the research direction that is required for strain development using Industrial Synthetic Biology.

Keywords: bio-based chemicals, biorefinery, industrial synthetic biology, waste valorization

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1 Profiling of Bacterial Communities Present in Feces, Milk, and Blood of Lactating Cows Using 16S rRNA Metagenomic Sequencing

Authors: Khethiwe Mtshali, Zamantungwa T. H. Khumalo, Stanford Kwenda, Ismail Arshad, Oriel M. M. Thekisoe


Ecologically, the gut, mammary glands and bloodstream consist of distinct microbial communities of commensals, mutualists and pathogens, forming a complex ecosystem of niches. The by-products derived from these body sites i.e. faeces, milk and blood, respectively, have many uses in rural communities where they aid in the facilitation of day-to-day household activities and occasional rituals. Thus, although livestock rearing plays a vital role in the sustenance of the livelihoods of rural communities, it may serve as a potent reservoir of different pathogenic organisms that could have devastating health and economic implications. This study aimed to simultaneously explore the microbial profiles of corresponding faecal, milk and blood samples from lactating cows using 16S rRNA metagenomic sequencing. Bacterial communities were inferred through the Divisive Amplicon Denoising Algorithm 2 (DADA2) pipeline coupled with SILVA database v138. All downstream analyses were performed in R v3.6.1. Alpha-diversity metrics showed significant differences between faeces and blood, faeces and milk, but did not vary significantly between blood and milk (Kruskal-Wallis, P < 0.05). Beta-diversity metrics on Principal Coordinate Analysis (PCoA) and Non-Metric Dimensional Scaling (NMDS) clustered samples by type, suggesting that microbial communities of the studied niches are significantly different (PERMANOVA, P < 0.05). A number of taxa were significantly differentially abundant (DA) between groups based on the Wald test implemented in the DESeq2 package (Padj < 0.01). The majority of the DA taxa were significantly enriched in faeces than in milk and blood, except for the genus Anaplasma, which was significantly enriched in blood and was, in turn, the most abundant taxon overall. A total of 30 phyla, 74 classes, 156 orders, 243 families and 408 genera were obtained from the overall analysis. The most abundant phyla obtained between the three body sites were Firmicutes, Bacteroidota, and Proteobacteria. A total of 58 genus-level taxa were simultaneously detected between the sample groups, while bacterial signatures of at least 8 of these occurred concurrently in corresponding faeces, milk and blood samples from the same group of animals constituting a pool. The important taxa identified in this study could be categorized into four potentially pathogenic clusters: i) arthropod-borne; ii) food-borne and zoonotic; iii) mastitogenic and; iv) metritic and abortigenic. This study provides insight into the microbial composition of bovine faeces, milk, and blood and its extent of overlapping. It further highlights the potential risk of disease occurrence and transmission between the animals and the inhabitants of the sampled rural community, pertaining to their unsanitary practices associated with the use of cattle by-products.

Keywords: microbial profiling, 16S rRNA, NGS, feces, milk, blood, lactating cows, small-scale farmers

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