Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32

Search results for: Saroj S. Baral

32 Adsorption: A Decision Maker in the Photocatalytic Degradation of Phenol on Co-Catalysts Doped TiO₂

Authors: Dileep Maarisetty, Janaki Komandur, Saroj S. Baral

Abstract:

In the current work, photocatalytic degradation of phenol was carried both in UV and visible light to find the slowest step that is limiting the rate of photo-degradation process. Characterization such as XRD, SEM, FT-IR, TEM, XPS, UV-DRS, PL, BET, UPS, ESR and zeta potential experiments were conducted to assess the credibility of catalysts in boosting the photocatalytic activity. To explore the synergy, TiO₂ was doped with graphene and alumina. The orbital hybridization with alumina doping (mediated by graphene) resulted in higher electron transfer from the conduction band of TiO₂ to alumina surface where oxygen reduction reactions (ORR) occur. Besides, the doping of alumina and graphene introduced defects into Ti lattice and helped in improving the adsorptive properties of modified photo-catalyst. Results showed that these defects promoted the oxygen reduction reactions (ORR) on the catalyst’s surface. ORR activity aims at producing reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS species oxidizes the phenol molecules which is adsorbed on the surface of photo-catalysts, thereby driving the photocatalytic reactions. Since mass transfer is considered as rate limiting step, various mathematical models were applied to the experimental data to probe the best fit. By varying the parameters, it was found that intra-particle diffusion was the slowest step in the degradation process. Lagergren model gave the best R² values indicating the nature of rate kinetics. Similarly, different adsorption isotherms were employed and realized that Langmuir isotherm suits the best with tremendous increase in uptake capacity (mg/g) of TiO₂-rGO-Al₂O₃ as compared undoped TiO₂. This further assisted in higher adsorption of phenol molecules. The results obtained from experimental, kinetic modelling and adsorption isotherms; it is concluded that apart from changes in surface, optoelectronic and morphological properties that enhanced the photocatalytic activity, the intra-particle diffusion within the catalyst’s pores serve as rate-limiting step in deciding the fate of photo-catalytic degradation of phenol.

Keywords: ORR, phenol degradation, photo-catalyst, rate kinetics

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31 Prevalence and Effect of Substance Use and Psychological Co-Morbidities in Medical and Dental Students of a Medical University of Nepal

Authors: Nidesh Sapkota, Garima Pudasaini, Dikshya Agrawal, Binav Baral, Umesh Bhagat, Dharanidhar Baral

Abstract:

Background: Medical and Dental students are vulnerable to higher levels of Psychological distress than other age matched peers. Many studies reveals that there is high prevalence of psychoactive substance use and Psychiatric co-morbidities among them. Objectives: -To study the prevalence of substance use among medical and dental students of a Medical University. -To study the prevalence of depression and anxiety in medical and dental students of a Medical University. Materials and Method: A cross-sectional descriptive study in which simple random sampling was done. Semi-structured questionnaire, AUDIT for alcohol use, Fagerstrom test for Nicotine dependence, Cannabis screening test (CAST), Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck’s Anxiety Inventory (BAI) were used for the assessment. Results: Total sample size was 588 in which the mean age of participants was 22±2years. Among them the prevalence of alcohol users was 47.75%(281) in which 32%(90) were harmful users. Among 19.55%(115) nicotine users 56.5%(65), 37.4%(43), 6.1%(7) had low, low to moderate and moderate dependence respectively. The prevalence of cannabis users was 9%(53) with 45.3%(24), 18.9%(10) having low and high addiction respectively. Depressive symptoms were recorded in 25.3%(149) out of which 12.6%(74), 6.5%(38), 5.3%(31), 0.5%(3), 0.5%(3) had mild, borderline, moderate, severe and extreme depressive symptoms respectively. Similarly anxiety was recorded among 7.8%(46) students with 42 having moderate and 4 having severe anxiety symptoms. Among them 6.3%(37) had suicidal thoughts and 4(0.7%) of them had suicide attempt in last one year. Statistically significant association was noted with harmful alcohol users, Depression and suicidal attempts. Similar association was noted between Depression and suicide with moderate use of nicotine. Conclusion: There is high prevalence of Psychoactive substance use and psychiatric co-morbidities noted in the studies sample. Statistically significant association was noted with Psychiatric co-morbidities and substance use.

Keywords: alcohol, cannabis, dependence, depression, medical students

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30 Pyramid Binary Pattern for Age Invariant Face Verification

Authors: Saroj Bijarnia, Preety Singh

Abstract:

We propose a simple and effective biometrics system based on face verification across aging using a new variant of texture feature, Pyramid Binary Pattern. This employs Local Binary Pattern along with its hierarchical information. Dimension reduction of generated texture feature vector is done using Principal Component Analysis. Support Vector Machine is used for classification. Our proposed method achieves an accuracy of 92:24% and can be used in an automated age-invariant face verification system.

Keywords: biometrics, age invariant, verification, support vector machine

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29 Landfill Leachate Wastewater Treatment by Fenton Process

Authors: Rewadee Anuwattana, Pattamaphorn Phuangngamphan, Narumon Soparatana, Supinya Sutthima, Worapong Pattayawan, Saroj Klangkongsub, Songkiat Roddang, Pluek Wongpanich

Abstract:

The leachate wastewater is high contaminant water; hence it needs to be treated. The objective of this research was to determine the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) concentration, Phosphate (PO₄³⁻), Ammonia (NH₃) and color in leachate wastewater in the landfill area. The experiments were carried out in the optimum condition by pH, the Fenton reagent dosage (concentration of dosing Fe²⁺ and H₂O₂). The optimum pH is 3, the optimum [Fe²⁺]/[COD] and [H₂O₂]/[COD₀] = 0.03 and 0.03, respectively. The Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD₅)/Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) ratio can be adjusted to 1 for landfill leachate wastewater (BOD₅/COD = 0.11). From the results, the Fenton process shall be investigated further to achieve the removal of phosphates in addition to COD and color.

Keywords: landfill leachate treatment, open dumpsite, Fenton process, wastewater treatment

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28 Anomalous Origin of Bilateral Testicular Arteries: A Case Report

Authors: Arthi Ganapathy, Arithra Banerjee, Saroj Kaler

Abstract:

Abdominal aorta is the sole purveyor of all organs in the abdomen. Anomalies of its main trunk or its branches are to be meticulously observed as it effects the perfusion of an organ. Varying patterns of the testicular artery is one of them. The origin and course of testicular arteries have to be identified carefully during various surgical procedures like renal transplant, intra abdominal surgeries and even in orthopedic surgery like spine surgery. With the advent of new intra-abdominal therapeutic and diagnostic techniques, the anatomy of testicular arteries has assumed much more significance. Though the variations of the testicular vein are well documented, the variations of the testicular artery are not so frequent in incidence. We report a case of the bilateral aberrant origin of the testicular artery from polar renal arteries. We also discuss its developmental basis. Such anomalies if left unnoticed will lead to serious intraoperative complications during procedures on retroperitoneal organs. Any damage to testicular arteries will compromise the function of the gonads.

Keywords: cadaver, gonadal, renal, surgery

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27 Process Modified Geopolymer Concrete: A Sustainable Material for Green Construction Technology

Authors: Dibyendu Adak, Saroj Mandal

Abstract:

The fly ash based geopolymer concrete generally requires heat activation after casting, which has been considered as an important limitation for its practical application. Such limitation can be overcome by a modification in the process at the time of mixing of ingredients (fly and activator fluid) for geopolymer concrete so that curing can be made at ambient temperature. This process modified geopolymer concrete shows an appreciable improvement in structural performance compared to conventional heat cured geopolymer concrete and control cement concrete. The improved durability performance based on water absorption, sulphate test, and RCPT is also noted. The microstructural properties analyzed through Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) techniques show the better interaction of fly ash and activator solution at early ages for the process modified geopolymer concrete. This accelerates the transformation of the amorphous phase of fly ash to the crystalline phase.

Keywords: fly ash, geopolymer concrete, process modification, structural properties, durability, micro-structures

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26 Unsteady Numerical Analysis of Sediment Erosion Affected High Head Francis Turbine

Authors: Saroj Gautam, Ram Lama, Hari Prasad Neopane, Sailesh Chitrakar, Biraj Singh Thapa, Baoshan Zhu

Abstract:

Sediment flowing along with the water in rivers flowing in South Asia erodes the turbine components. The erosion of turbine components is influenced by the nature of fluid flow along with components of typical turbine types. This paper examines two cases of high head Francis turbines with the same speed number numerically. The numerical investigation involves both steady-state and transient analysis of the numerical model developed for both cases. Furthermore, the influence of leakage flow from the clearance gap of guide vanes is also examined and compared with no leakage flow. It presents the added pressure pulsation to rotor-stator-interaction in the turbine runner for both cases due to leakage flow. It was also found that leakage flow was a major contributor to the sediment erosion in those turbines.

Keywords: sediment erosion, Francis turbine, leakage flow, rotor stator interaction

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25 Synthesis, Characterization and Application of Undoped and Fe Doped TiO₂ (Ti₁₋ₓFeₓO₂; X=0.01, 0.02, 0.03) Nanoparticles

Authors: Sudhakar Saroj, Satya Vir Singh

Abstract:

Undoped and Fe doped TiO₂, Ti₁₋ₓFeₓO₂ (x=0.00, 0.01, 0.03, 0.05, 0.07 and 0.09) have been synthesized by solution combustion method using Titanium (IV) oxide as a precursor, and also were characterized by XRD, DRS, FTIR, XPS, SEM, and EDX. The formation of anatase phase of undoped and Fe TiO₂ nanoparticles were confirmed by XRD, and the average crystallite size was determined by Debye-Scherer's equation. The DRS analysis indicates the shifting of light absorbance in visible region from UV region with increasing the doping concentration in TiO₂. The vibrational band of the Ti-O lattice was confirmed by the FT-IR spectrum. The XPS results confirm the presence of elements of titanium, oxygen and iron in the synthesized samples and determine the binding energy of elements. SEM image of the above-synthesized nanoparticles showed the spherical shape of nanoparticles. The purities of the synthesized nanoparticles were confirmed by EDX analysis. The photocatalytic activities of the synthesized nanoparticles were tested by studying the degradation of dye (Direct Blue 199) in the photocatalytic reactor. The Ti₀.₉₇Fe₀.₀₃O₂ photocatalyst shows highest photodegradation activity among all the synthesized undoped and Fe doped TiO₂ photocatalyst.

Keywords: direct blue 199, nanoparticles, TiO₂, photodegradation

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24 Preparation of Water Hyacinth and Oil Palm Fiber for Plastic Waste Composite

Authors: Pattamaphorn Phuangngamphan, Rewadee Anuwattana, Narumon Soparatana, Nestchanok Yongpraderm, Atiporn Jinpayoon, Supinya Sutthima, Saroj Klangkongsub, Worapong Pattayawan

Abstract:

This research aims to utilize the agricultural waste and plastic waste in Thailand in a study of the optimum conditions for preparing composite materials from water hyacinth and oil palm fiber and plastic waste in landfills. The water hyacinth and oil palm fiber were prepared by alkaline treatment with NaOH (5, 15 wt%) at 25-60 °C for 1 h. The treated fiber (5 and 10 phr) was applied to plastic waste composite. The composite was prepared by using a screw extrusion process from 185 °C to 200 °C with a screw speed of 60 rpm. The result confirmed that alkaline treatment can remove lignin, hemicellulose and other impurities on the fiber surface and also increase the cellulose content. The optimum condition of composite material is 10 phr of fiber coupling with 3 wt% PE-g-MA as compatibilizer. The composite of plastic waste and oil palm fiber has good adhesion between fiber and plastic matrix. The PE-g-MA has improved fiber-plastic interaction. The results suggested that the composite material from plastic waste and agricultural waste has the potential to be used as value-added products.

Keywords: agricultural waste, waste utilization, biomaterials, cellulose fiber, composite material

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23 Glaucoma Detection in Retinal Tomography Using the Vision Transformer

Authors: Sushish Baral, Pratibha Joshi, Yaman Maharjan

Abstract:

Glaucoma is a chronic eye condition that causes vision loss that is irreversible. Early detection and treatment are critical to prevent vision loss because it can be asymptomatic. For the identification of glaucoma, multiple deep learning algorithms are used. Transformer-based architectures, which use the self-attention mechanism to encode long-range dependencies and acquire extremely expressive representations, have recently become popular. Convolutional architectures, on the other hand, lack knowledge of long-range dependencies in the image due to their intrinsic inductive biases. The aforementioned statements inspire this thesis to look at transformer-based solutions and investigate the viability of adopting transformer-based network designs for glaucoma detection. Using retinal fundus images of the optic nerve head to develop a viable algorithm to assess the severity of glaucoma necessitates a large number of well-curated images. Initially, data is generated by augmenting ocular pictures. After that, the ocular images are pre-processed to make them ready for further processing. The system is trained using pre-processed images, and it classifies the input images as normal or glaucoma based on the features retrieved during training. The Vision Transformer (ViT) architecture is well suited to this situation, as it allows the self-attention mechanism to utilise structural modeling. Extensive experiments are run on the common dataset, and the results are thoroughly validated and visualized.

Keywords: glaucoma, vision transformer, convolutional architectures, retinal fundus images, self-attention, deep learning

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22 South Asia’s Political Landscape: Precipitating Terrorism

Authors: Saroj Kumar Rath

Abstract:

India's Muslims represent 15 percent of the nation's population, the world's third largest group in any nation after Indonesia and Pakistan. Extremist groups like the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqani network increasingly view India as a target. Several trends explain the rise: Terrorism threats in South Asia are linked and mobile - if one source is batted down, jihadists relocate to find another Islamic cause. As NATO withdraws from Afghanistan, some jihadists will eye India. Pakistan regards India as a top enemy and some officials even encourage terrorists to target areas like Kashmir or Mumbai. Meanwhile, a stream of Wahhabi preachers have visited India, offering hard-line messages; extremist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State compete for influence, and militants even pay jihadists. Muslims as a minority population in India could offer fertile ground for the extremist recruiters. This paper argues that there is an urgent need for the Indian government to profile militants and examine social media sites to attack Wahhabi indoctrination while supporting education and entrepreneurship for all of India's citizens.

Keywords: Al Qaeda, terrorism, Islamic state, India, haqqani network, Pakistan, Taliban

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21 Extraction and Uses of Essential Oil

Authors: Ram Prasad Baral

Abstract:

A large number of herb materials contain Essential Oils with extensive bioactivities. Acknowledging the importance of plants and its medicinal value, extraction of Essential Oil had been done using Steam Distillation method. In this project, Steam Distillation was used to extract oil from different plant materials like Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert, Artemisia Vulgaris L, Rhododendron anthopogon D. Don, Cymbopogon nardus L, Andropogon nardus, Cinnamomum tamala, Juniperus spp, Cymbopohonflexuosus flexuous, Mantha Arvensia, Nardostachys Jatamansi, Wintergreen Essential Oil, and Valeriana Officinalis. Research has confirmed centuries of practical use of essential oils, and we now know that the 'fragrant pharmacy' contains compounds with an extremely broad range of biochemical effects. Essential oils are so termed as they are believed to represent the very essence of odor and flavor. The recovery of Essential Oil from the raw botanical starting material is very important since the quality of the oil is greatly influenced during this step. There is a variety of methods for obtaining volatile oils from plants. Steam distillation method was found to be one of the promising techniques for the extraction of essential oil from plants as reputable distiller will preserve the original qualities of the plant. The distillation was conducted in Clevenger apparatus in which boiling, condensing, and decantation was done. Analysis of essential oil was done using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer apparatus, which gives evaluates essential oil qualitatively and quantitatively. The volume of essential oil obtained was changing with respect to temperature and time of heating.

Keywords: Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert, Artemisia Vulgaris L, Rhododendron anthopogon D. Don, Cymbopogon nardus L, Andropogon nardus, Cinnamomum tamala, Juniperus spp, Cymbopohonflexuosus flexuous, Mantha

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20 Homology Modelling of Beta Defensin 3 of Bos taurus and Its Docking Studies with Molecules Responsible for Formation of Biofilm

Authors: Ravinder Singh, Ankita Gurao, Saroj Bandhan, Sudhir Kumar Kashyap

Abstract:

The Bos taurus Beta defensin 3 is a defensin peptide secreted by neutrophils and epithelial that exhibits anti-microbial activity. It is one of the crucial components forming an innate defense against intra mammary infections in livestock. The beta defensin 3 by virtue of its anti-microbial activity inhibits major mastitis pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa etc, which are also responsible for biofilm formation leading to antibiotic resistance phenomenon. Therefore, the defensin may prove as a non-conventional option to treat mastitis. In this study, computational analysis has been performed including sequence comparison among species and homology modeling of Bos taurus beta defensin 3 protein. The assessments of protein structure were done using the protein structure and model assessment tools integrated in Swiss Model server, which employs various local and global quality evaluation parameters. Further, molecular docking was also carried out between the defensin peptide and the components of biofilm to gain insight into various interactions and structural differences crucial for functionality of this protein.

Keywords: beta defensin 3, bos taurus, docking, homology modeling

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19 The Clarification of Palm Oil Wastewater Treatment by Coagulant Composite from Palm Oil Ash

Authors: Rewadee Anuwattana, Narumol Soparatana, Pattamaphorn Phuangngamphan, Worapong Pattayawan, Atiporn Jinprayoon, Saroj Klangkongsap, Supinya Sutthima

Abstract:

In this work focus on clarification in palm oil wastewater treatment by using coagulant composite from palm oil ash. The design of this study was carried out by two steps; first, synthesis of new coagulant composite from palm oil ash which was fused by using Al source combined with Fe source and form to the crystal by the hydrothermal crystallization process. The characterization of coagulant composite from palm oil ash was analyzed by advanced instruments, and The pattern was analyzed by X-ray Diffraction (XRD), chemical composition by X-Ray Fluorescence (XRFS) and morphology characterized by SEM. The second step, the clarification wastewater treatment efficiency of synthetic coagulant composite, was evaluated by coagulation/flocculation process based on the COD, turbidity, phosphate and color removal of wastewater from palm oil factory by varying the coagulant dosage (1-8 %w/v) with no adjusted pH and commercial coagulants (Alum, Ferric Chloride and poly aluminum chloride) which adjusted the pH (6). The results found that the maximum removal of 6% w/v of synthetic coagulant from palm oil ash can remove COD, turbidity, phosphate and color was 88.44%, 93.32%, 93.32% and 93.32%, respectively. The experiments were compared using 6% w/v of commercial coagulants (Alum, Ferric Chloride and Polyaluminum Chloride) can remove COD of 74.29%, 71.43% and 57.14%, respectively.

Keywords: coagulation, coagulant, wastewater treatment, waste utilization, palm oil ash

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18 Insights of Interaction Studies between HSP-60, HSP-70 Proteins and HSF-1 in Bubalus bubalis

Authors: Ravinder Singh, C Rajesh, Saroj Badhan, Shailendra Mishra, Ranjit Singh Kataria

Abstract:

Heat shock protein 60 and 70 are crucial chaperones that guide appropriate folding of denatured proteins under heat stress conditions. HSP60 and HSP70 provide assistance in correct folding of a multitude of denatured proteins. The heat shock factors are the family of some transcription factors which controls the regulation of gene expression of proteins involved in folding of damaged or improper folded proteins during stress conditions. Under normal condition heat shock proteins bind with HSF-1 and act as its repressor as well as aids in maintaining the HSF-1’s nonactive and monomeric confirmation. The experimental protein structure for all these proteins in Bubalus bubalis is not known till date. Therefore computational approach was explored to identify three-dimensional structure analysis of all these proteins. In this study, an extensive in silico analysis has been performed including sequence comparison among species to comparative modeling of Bubalus bubalis HSP60, HSP70 and HSF-1 protein. The stereochemical properties of proteins were assessed by utilizing several scrutiny bioinformatics tools to ensure model accuracy. Further docking approach was used to study interactions between Heat shock proteins and HSF-1.

Keywords: Bubalus bubalis, comparative modelling, docking, heat shock protein

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17 A Combined Activated Sludge-Sonication Process for Abattoir Wastewater Treatment

Authors: Pello Alfonso-Muniozguren, Madeleine Bussemaker, Devendra Saroj, Judy Lee

Abstract:

Wastewater treatment is becoming a worldwide concern due to new and tighter environmental regulations, and the increasing need for fresh water for the exponentially growing population. The meat industry has one of the highest consumption of water producing up to 10 times more polluted (BOD) wastewaters in comparison to domestic sewage. Therefore, suitable wastewater treatment methods are required to ensure the wastewater quality meet regulations before discharge. In the present study, a combined lab scale activated sludge-sonication system was used to treat pre-treated abattoir wastewater. A hydraulic retention time of 24 hours and a solid retention time of 13 days were used for the activated sludge process and using ultrasound as tertiary treatment. Different ultrasonic frequencies, powers and sonication times were applied to the samples and results were analysed for chemical oxygen demand (COD), biological oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids, pH, total coliforms and total viable counts. Additionally, both mechanical and chemical effects of ultrasound were quantified for organic matter removal (COD and BOD) and disinfection (microorganism inactivation) using different techniques such as aluminum foil pitting, flow cytometry, and KI dosimetry.

Keywords: abattoir wastewater, ultrasound, wastewater treatment, water disinfection

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16 Feeding Ecology and Habitat Preference of Red Panda in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Nepal

Authors: Saroj Panthi

Abstract:

The red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) is distributed throughout the Himalayas and is found in both protected and unprotected areas of Nepal. Loss and fragmentation of habitat threaten red panda population throughout its range, and as a consequence, it is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Despite this pressing situation, data on the ecology of the red panda in western Nepal are lacking. Our aim in the current study was to determine the distribution, associated habitats, and summer diet of the red panda in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve (DHR), Nepal. Evidence of red pandas was found in all 7 blocks of the reserve, spanning an area of 345.8 km2, between elevations of 2800 m and 4000 m and predominantly (> 75%) in forests comprising plant communities dominated by Abies spectabilis, Acer caesium, Tsuga domusa, and Betula utilis, with ground cover of Arundinaria spp. The dominant plant found in scat of the red panda was Arundinaria spp. (81.7%), with Acer spp., B. utilis, and lichen also frequently present. Livestock grazing and human activities were significantly higher in habitats where signs of pandas were recorded than in areas where they were absent. This habitat overlap between the red panda and livestock potentially poses a major threat to the panda’s survival in the DHR, a fact that should be taken into account in devising management strategies for this threatened species.

Keywords: red panda, Dhorpatan hunting reserve, diet, habitat preference

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15 Survey of Some Important Nepalese and Russian Anti-Diabetic Herbs

Authors: Ram Prasad Baral, Vinogradov Dmitriy Valerievich, Rameshwar Adhikari

Abstract:

Diabetes has posed a great threat to the human health worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. The disease has basically rooted from the dramatically changed way of living of the present day human civilization as our living has deviated from what the nature has adapted us for. In this context, due to availability of wide range of climatic condition and hence the wide spectrum of biodiversity, Nepal is blessed with a valuable reservoir of medicinal herbs. These assets have been utilized and developed practices in traditional medicines and Ayurvedic way of treatment over several thousand years in the region. It has been established since ancient times that each and every plant has a specific medicinal value. There are many plants’ products which have been utilized in Ayurvedic medicine for the effective treatment of diabetes. The medicaments are less expensive and pose practically no side effects. In this work, we report a general survey of anti-diabetic properties of some medicinal herbs with pronounced effects and their applications. The plants covered in this study originate from far western region of Nepal and include Ficus racemosa, Momordica charantia, Azadirachta indica, Helieteres isora, Saraca asoca, Ichnocarpus frutescens, Tinospora sinensis, Commiphora mukul, Coccinia grandis, and Hippophae salicifolia.

Keywords: Ficus racemosa, Momordica charantia, Azadirachta indica, Helieteres isora, Saraca asoca, Ichnocarpus frutescens, Tinospora sinensis, Commiphora mukul, Coccinia grandis, Hippophae salicifolia

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14 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

Abstract:

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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13 India, Pakistan and the US in the Afghan Imbroglio: The Way Forward

Authors: Saroj Kumar Rath

Abstract:

When insurgency erupted in Kashmir in 1989, it was quickly backed by Pakistan. Kashmir witnessed terrorism for more than a decade till 2004 when Indian forces decimated militancy. After the US pressure in 1992, terrorist training camps of Pakistan shifted to Afghanistan and al Qaeda and the Taliban had taken over training of Kashmiri militants in Afghanistan after 1997 as part of their global jihad. The Indo-Pak rivalry over Kashmir dispute had taken a new turn in the aftermath of 9/11 developments. Islamabad viewed its Afghan policy through the prism of denying India any advantage in Kabul. Pakistan was successful in refuting Indian presence in Kabul for a decade through the Taliban. After the 9/11 attacks the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) saw Northern Alliance, supported by the Americans and all of Pakistan’s regional rivals – India, Iran, and Russia – as claiming victory in Kabul. For Pakistan’s military regime, this was a strategic disaster and prompted the ISI to give refuge to the escaping Taliban, while denying full support to Hamid Karzai. The new development in Afghanistan prompted India to establish a foothold it had lost nearly a decade earlier. India established diplomatic contacts with Afghanistan; supported the Karzai government and funded aid programs. Pakistan alleged that Indian agents are training Baloch and Sindhi dissidents in Pakistan through Afghanistan. Kabul had suddenly become the new Kashmir – the new battleground for India-Pakistan rivalry.

Keywords: Afghan imbroglio, Kashmir conflict, Indo-Pak rivalry, US policy in South Asia

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12 A Combined Activated Sludge-Filtration-Ozonation Process for Abattoir Wastewater Treatment

Authors: Pello Alfonso-Muniozguren, Madeleine Bussemaker, Ralph Chadeesingh, Caryn Jones, David Oakley, Judy Lee, Devendra Saroj

Abstract:

Current industrialized livestock agriculture is growing every year leading to an increase in the generation of wastewater that varies considerably in terms of organic content and microbial population. Therefore, suitable wastewater treatment methods are required to ensure the wastewater quality meet regulations before discharge. In the present study, a combined lab scale activated sludge-filtration-ozonation system was used to treat a pre-treated abattoir wastewater. A hydraulic retention time of 24 hours and a solid retention time of 13 days were used for the activated sludge process, followed by a filtration step (4-7 µm) and using ozone as tertiary treatment. An average reduction of 93% and 98% was achieved for Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), respectively, obtaining final values of 128 mg/L COD and 12 mg/L BOD. For the Total Suspended Solids (TSS), the average reduction increased to 99% in the same system, reducing the final value down to 3 mg/L. Additionally, 98% reduction in Phosphorus (P) and a complete inactivation of Total Coliforms (TC) was obtained after 17 min ozonation time. For Total Viable Counts (TVC), a drastic reduction was observed with 30 min ozonation time (6 log inactivation) at an ozone dose of 71 mg O3/L. Overall, the combined process was sufficient to meet discharge requirements without further treatment for the measured parameters (COD, BOD, TSS, P, TC, and TVC).

Keywords: abattoir waste water, activated sludge, ozone, waste water treatment

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11 Fault Tolerant (n,k)-star Power Network Topology for Multi-Agent Communication in Automated Power Distribution Systems

Authors: Ning Gong, Michael Korostelev, Qiangguo Ren, Li Bai, Saroj K. Biswas, Frank Ferrese

Abstract:

This paper investigates the joint effect of the interconnected (n,k)-star network topology and Multi-Agent automated control on restoration and reconfiguration of power systems. With the increasing trend in development in Multi-Agent control technologies applied to power system reconfiguration in presence of faulty components or nodes. Fault tolerance is becoming an important challenge in the design processes of the distributed power system topology. Since the reconfiguration of a power system is performed by agent communication, the (n,k)-star interconnected network topology is studied and modeled in this paper to optimize the process of power reconfiguration. In this paper, we discuss the recently proposed (n,k)-star topology and examine its properties and advantages as compared to the traditional multi-bus power topologies. We design and simulate the topology model for distributed power system test cases. A related lemma based on the fault tolerance and conditional diagnosability properties is presented and proved both theoretically and practically. The conclusion is reached that (n,k)-star topology model has measurable advantages compared to standard bus power systems while exhibiting fault tolerance properties in power restoration, as well as showing efficiency when applied to power system route discovery.

Keywords: (n, k)-star topology, fault tolerance, conditional diagnosability, multi-agent system, automated power system

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10 Fault Tolerant (n, k)-Star Power Network Topology for Multi-Agent Communication in Automated Power Distribution Systems

Authors: Ning Gong, Michael Korostelev, Qiangguo Ren, Li Bai, Saroj Biswas, Frank Ferrese

Abstract:

This paper investigates the joint effect of the interconnected (n,k)-star network topology and Multi-Agent automated control on restoration and reconfiguration of power systems. With the increasing trend in development in Multi-Agent control technologies applied to power system reconfiguration in presence of faulty components or nodes. Fault tolerance is becoming an important challenge in the design processes of the distributed power system topology. Since the reconfiguration of a power system is performed by agent communication, the (n,k)-star interconnected network topology is studied and modeled in this paper to optimize the process of power reconfiguration. In this paper, we discuss the recently proposed (n,k)-star topology and examine its properties and advantages as compared to the traditional multi-bus power topologies. We design and simulate the topology model for distributed power system test cases. A related lemma based on the fault tolerance and conditional diagnosability properties is presented and proved both theoretically and practically. The conclusion is reached that (n,k)-star topology model has measurable advantages compared to standard bus power systems while exhibiting fault tolerance properties in power restoration, as well as showing efficiency when applied to power system route discovery.

Keywords: (n, k)-star topology, fault tolerance, conditional diagnosability, multi-agent system, automated power system

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9 Factors Associated with Contraceptive Use and Nonuse, among Currently Married Young (15-24 Years) Women in Nepal

Authors: Bishnu Prasad Dulal, Sushil Chandra Baral, Radheshyam Bhattarai, Meera Tandan

Abstract:

Background: Non-use of contraceptives is a leading cause of unintended pregnancy. This study was done to explore the potential predictors of contraceptive used by young women, and the findings can inform policy makers to design the program to reduce unintended pregnancy for younger women who have a longer time of fecundity. Methodology: A nationally representative cross-sectional household survey was conducted by Health Research and Social Development Forum in 2012. Total 2259 currently married young women (15-24 years) were selected for the analysis out of 8578 women of reproductive age interviewed from the total 10260 households using systematic sampling. Binary logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with the use of modern contraceptive methods. Findings: The prevalence of modern contraceptive methods among young women was 25.2 %. Use of contraceptives was significantly associated with age at first marriage <15 year of age (OR:1.95) and ever delivered (OR: 1.8). Muslim women were significantly less likely to use contraceptives. Development region, wealth quintile, and awareness of abortion site were also statistically associated factors to use of contraceptives. Conclusion: The prevalence of contraceptives uses among young married women (25.2%) was lower than national prevalence (43%) of contraceptives use among married women of reproductive age. Our analysis focused on examining the association between women’s characteristics-related factors and use and nonuse of modern contraceptives. Awareness of safe abortion site is significantly associated while level of education was not. It is an interesting finding but difficult to interpret which needs further analysis on the basis of education. Maybe due to the underlying socio-religious practice of Muslim people, they had lower use of contraceptives. Programmers and policy makers could better help young women by increasing intervention activities to have a regular use of contraceptive-covering poor, Dalit and Muslim, and low aged women in order to reduce unintended pregnancy.

Keywords: unintended pregnancy, contraceptive, young women, Nepal

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8 Reproductive Health Knowledge, Attitude and Health Services Utilization among Adolescents in Kaski District of Nepal

Authors: Dipendra Kumar Yadav, Rajani Ghimire, Saroj Yadav

Abstract:

Background: The concern about adolescent on reproductive health has grown due to unprecedented increasing rates of early pregnancies and sexually transmitted Infections and they do not have adequate awareness and knowledge about it. Access to these services as well as information about them is, therefore, crucial for adolescents to utilize and benefit from sexual and reproductive health services. The objective of the study was to assess the reproductive health knowledge, attitude and health services utilization among adolescents in rural and urban areas of Kaski district. Materials and Methods: A community-based descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among adolescents (10-19 years of age) in rural and urban areas of Kaski district, Nepal. The period of data collection was October to November, 2014. Altogether 419 participants were taken for the study. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 15.86 and standard deviation was ±2.305. More than half (58.7 %) of the respondents were females and 41.3 % were males. Out of 419, majority (78.8%) of the respondents were known about family planning, among them only 70 % of respondents were aware about family planning methods. Fifty-one percentages of the respondents were aware about the sexually transmitted diseases. Before giving a birth there is need to consult with partner with this fact 68.7 % of the respondents were agree, 23.6 % of them were neutral and very few (7.6%) of them were disagree. Nearly twenty six percentage of the respondents were faced the reproductive health problems within one month. Out of 107 respondents, 57.9 % did not utilize reproductive health services because of different reasons. Conclusions: The overall level of knowledge towards reproductive health among adolescents was found low. However, levels of attitude towards different reproductive health components were found favorable. Only 42.1% of the respondents were utilized reproductive health services among those who was faced the reproductive health problems within one month which was low coverage of reproductive health services utilization.

Keywords: reproductive health knowledge, reproductive health attitudes, adolescent, service utilization

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7 Distribution and Habitat Preference of Red Panda (Ailurus Fulgens Fulgens) in Jumla District, Nepal

Authors: Saroj Panthi, Sher Singh Thagunna

Abstract:

Reliable and sufficient information regarding status, distribution and habitat preference of red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) is lacking in Nepal. The research activities on red panda in the mid-western Nepal are very limited, so the status of red panda in the region is quite unknown. The study conducted during May, 2013 in three Village Development Committees (VDCs) namely Godhemahadev, Malikathata and Tamti of Jumla district was an important step for providing vital information including distribution and habitat preference of this species. The study included the reconnaissance, key informants survey, interviews, and consultation for the most potential area identification, opportunistic survey comprising the direct observation and indirect sign count method for the presence and distribution, habitat assessment consisting vegetation sampling and ocular estimation. The study revealed the presence of red panda in three forests namely Bahirepatan, Imilchadamar and Tyakot of Godhemahadev, Tamti and Malikathata VDCs respectively. The species was found distributed between 2880 and 3244 m with an average dropping encounter rate of 1.04 per hour of searching effort and 12 pellets per dropping. Red panda mostly preferred the habitat in the elevation range of 2900 - 3000 m with southwest facing steep slopes (36˚ - 45˚), associated with water sources at the distance of ≤100 m. Trees such as Acer spp., Betula utilis and Quercus semecarpifolia, shrub species of Elaeagnus parvifolia, Drepanostachyum spp. and Jasminum humile, and the herbs like Polygonatum cirrhifolium, Fragaria nubicola and Galium asperifolium were found to be the most preferred species by red panda. The red panda preferred the habitat with dense crown coverage ( >20% - 100%) and 31% - 50% ground cover. Fallen logs (39%) were the most preferred substrate used for defecation.

Keywords: distribution, habitat preference, jumla, red panda

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6 Cadaveric Study of Lung Anatomy: A Surgical Overview

Authors: Arthi Ganapathy, Rati Tandon, Saroj Kaler

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Introduction: A thorough knowledge of variations in lung anatomy is of prime significance during surgical procedures like lobectomy, pneumonectomy, and segmentectomy of lungs. The arrangement of structures in the lung hilum act as a guide in performing such procedures. The normal pattern of arrangement of hilar structures in the right lung is eparterial bronchus, pulmonary artery, hyparterial bronchus and pulmonary veins from above downwards. In the left lung, it is pulmonary artery, principal bronchus and pulmonary vein from above downwards. The arrangement of hilar structures from anterior to posterior in both the lungs is pulmonary vein, pulmonary artery, and principal bronchus. The bronchial arteries are very small and usually the posterior most structures in the hilum of lungs. Aim: The present study aims at reporting the variations in hilar anatomy (arrangement and number) of lungs. Methodology: 75 adult formalin fixed cadaveric lungs from the department of Anatomy AIIMS New Delhi were observed for variations in the lobar anatomy. Arrangement of pulmonary hilar structures was meticulously observed, and any deviation in the pattern of presentation was recorded. Results: Among the 75 adult lung specimens observed 36 specimens were of right lung and the rest of left lung. Seven right lung specimens showed only 2 lobes with an oblique fissure dividing them and one left lung showed 3 lobes. The normal pattern of arrangement of hilar structures was seen in 22 right lungs and 23 left lungs. Rest of the lung specimens (14 right and 16 left) showed a varied pattern of arrangement of hilar structures. Some of them showed alterations in the sequence of arrangement of pulmonary artery, pulmonary veins, bronchus, and others in the number of these structures. Conclusion: Alterations in the pattern of arrangement of structures in the lung hilum are quite frequent. A compromise in knowledge of such variations will result in inadvertent complications like intraoperative bleeding during surgical procedures.

Keywords: fissures, hilum, lobes, pulmonary

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5 Seminal Attributes, Cooling Procedure and Post Thaw Quality of Semen of Indigenous Khari Bucks (Capra hircus) of Nepal

Authors: Pankaj Kumar Jha, Saroj Sapkota, Dil Bahadur Gurung, Raju Kadel, Neena Amatya Gorkhali, Bhola Shankar Shrestha

Abstract:

The study was conducted to evaluate the seminal attributes, effectiveness of cooling process and post-thawed semen quality of a Nepalese indigenous Khari buck. Thirty-two ejaculates, 16 from each buck were studied for seminal attributes of fresh semen: volume, color, mass activity, motility, viability, sperm concentration, and morphology. The pooled mean values for each seminal attributes were: volume 0.7±0.3 ml; colour 3.1±0.3 (milky white); mass activity 3.8±0.4 (rapid wave motion with formation of eddies at the end of waves to very rapid wave motion with distinct eddies formation); sperm motility 80.9±5.6%; sperm viability 94.6±2.0%; sperm concentration 2597.0±406.8x106/ml; abnormal acrosome, mid-piece and tail 10.7±1.8% and abnormal head 5±1.7%. For freezing semen, further 6 ejaculates from each buck were studied with Tris based egg yolk citrate extender. The pooled mean values of motility and viability of post diluted semen for 90 and 120 minutes each for cooling and glycerol equilibration were 73.8±4.8%, 88.1±2.6% and 69.2±6.0%, 85.0±1.7%, respectively. The pooled mean values of post thaw motility and viability with advancement of preservation time were: 0hour 49.0±4.6%, 81.2±1.9%; 2nd day 41±2.2%, 79±1%; 5th day 41±2.2%, 78.6±0.9% and 10th day 41±2.2%, 78.6±0.9%. We concluded from the above study that the seminal attributes and results of post-thaw semen quality were satisfactory and in accordance with other work in foreign countries, which indicated the feasibility of cryopreserving buck semen. For more validation, research with large number of bucks, different types of diluents and freezing trials by removing seminal plasma followed by pregnancy rate is recommended.

Keywords: cryopreservation, Nepalese indigenous Khari (Hill goat) buck, post-thaw semen quality, seminal attributes

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4 Expression of Somatostatin and Neuropeptide Y in Dorsal Root Ganglia Following Hind Paw Incision in Rats

Authors: Anshu Bahl, Saroj Kaler, Shivani Gupta, S B Ray

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Background: Somatostatin is an endogenous regulatory neuropeptide. Somatostatin and its analogues play an important role in neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Neuropeptide Y is extensively distributed in the mammalian nervous system. NPY has an important role in blood pressure, circadian rhythm, obesity, appetite and memory. The purpose was to investigate somatostatin and NPY expression in dorsal root ganglia during pain. The plantar incision model in rats is similar to postoperative pain in humans. Methods: 24 adult male Sprague dawley rats were distributed randomly into two groups – Control (n=6) and incision (n=18) groups. Using Hargreaves apparatus, thermal hyperalgesia behavioural test for nociception was done under basal condition and after surgical incision in right hind paw at different time periods (day 1, 3 and 5). The plantar incision was performed as per standard protocol. Perfusion was done using 4% paraformaldehyde followed by extraction of dorsal root ganglia at L4 level. The tissue was processed for immunohistochemical localisation for somatostatin and neuropeptide Y. Results: Post incisional groups (day 1, 3 and 5) exhibited significant decrease of paw withdrawal latency as compared to control groups. Somatostatin expression was noted under basal conditions. It decreased on day 1, but again gradually increased on day 3 and further on day five post incision. The expression of Neuropeptide Y was noted in the cytoplasm of dorsal root ganglia under basal conditions. Compared to control group, expression of neuropeptide Y decreased on day one after incision, but again gradually increased on day 3. Maximum expression was noted on day five post incision. Conclusion: Decrease in paw withdrawal latency indicated nociception, particularly on day 1. In comparison to control, somatostatin and NPY expression was decreased on day one post incision. This could be correlated with increased axoplasmic flow towards the spinal cord. Somatostatin and NPY expression was maximum on day five post incision. This could be due to decreased migration from the site of synthesis towards the spinal cord.

Keywords: dorsal root ganglia, neuropeptide y, postoperative pain, somatostatin

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3 Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus Co-Infection with Hepatitis B Virus and Baseline Cd4+ T Cell Count among Patients Attending a Tertiary Care Hospital, Nepal

Authors: Soma Kanta Baral

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Background: Since 1981, when the first AIDS case was reported, worldwide, more than 34 million people have been infected with HIV. Almost 95 percent of the people infected with HIV live in developing countries. As HBV & HIV share similar routes of transmission by sexual intercourse or drug use by parenteral injection, co-infection is common. Because of the limited access to healthcare & HIV treatment in developing countries, HIV-infected individuals are present late for care. Enumeration of CD4+ T cell count at the time of diagnosis has been useful to initiate the therapy in HIV infected individuals. The baseline CD4+ T cell count shows high immunological variability among patients. Methods: This prospective study was done in the serology section of the Department of Microbiology over a period of one year from august 2012 to July 2013. A total of 13037 individuals subjected for HIV test were included in the study comprising of 4982 males & 8055 females. Blood sample was collected by vein puncture aseptically with standard operational procedure in clean & dry test-tube. All blood samples were screened for HIV as described by WHO algorithm by Immuno-chromatography rapid kits. Further confirmation was done by biokit ELISA method as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. After informed consent, HIV positive individuals were screened for HBsAg by Immuno-chromatography rapid kits (Hepacard). Further confirmation was done by biokit ELISA method as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. EDTA blood samples were collected from the HIV sero-positive individuals for baseline CD4+ T count. Then, CD4+ T cells count was determined by using FACS Calibur Flow Cytometer (BD). Results: Among 13037 individuals screened for HIV, 104 (0.8%) were found to be infected comprising of 69(66.34%) males & 35 (33.65%) females. The study showed that the high infection was noted in housewives (28.7%), active age group (30.76%), rural area (56.7%) & in heterosexual route (80.9%) of transmission. Out of total HIV infected individuals, distribution of HBV co-infection was found to be 6(5.7%). All co- infected individuals were married, male, above the age of 25 years & heterosexual route of transmission. Baseline CD4+ T cell count of HIV infected patient was found higher (mean CD4+ T cell count; 283cells/cu.mm) than HBV co-infected patients (mean CD4+ T cell count; 91 cells/cu.mm). Majority (77.2%) of HIV infected & all co-infected individuals were presented in our center late (CD4+ T cell count;< 350/cu. mm) for diagnosis and care. Majority of co- infected 4 (80%) were late presented with advanced AIDS stage (CD4+ count; <200/cu.mm). Conclusions: The study showed a high percentage of HIV sero-positive & co- infected individuals. Baseline CD4+ T cell count of majority of HIV infected individuals was found to be low. Hence, more sustained and vigorous awareness campaigns & counseling still need to be done in order to promote early diagnosis and management.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, HBsAg, co-infection, CD4+

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