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Open access

Peter M. Eze, Dominic O. Abonyi, Chika C. Abba, Peter Proksch, Festus B. C. Okoye and Charles O. Esimone

Abstract

Fungi remain a promising source of novel biologically active compounds with potentials in drug discovery and development. This study was aimed at investigating the secondary metabolites from endophytic Fusarium equiseti and Epicoccum sorghinum associated with leaves of Carica papaya collected from Agulu, Anambra State, Nigeria. Isolation of the endophytic fungi, taxonomic identification, fermentation, extraction and isolation of fungal secondary metabolites were carried out using standard procedures. Chromatographic separation and spectroscopic analyses of the fungal secondary metabolites yielded three toxigenic compounds - equisetin and its epimer 5’- epiequisetin from F. equiseti, and tenuazonic acid from E. sorghinum. These compounds are known to possess several beneficial biological properties that can be explored for pharmaceutical, agricultural or industrial purposes.

Open access

Mara Georgescu, Ștefania Mariana Raita and Dana Tăpăloagă

Abstract

Various antimicrobial solutions have been tested as additives for raw milk traditional cheeses, among which Nigella sativa cold pressed seed oil (NSSO) is recognized for its positive effect on the microbial quality of such products. The overall effect on the quality of enriched cheeses during ripening is still under extensive investigation. Three batches of traditional raw milk brined cheese were included in the current experiment: control cheese without Nigella sativa seed oil (NSSO) and cheese samples enriched with 0.2 and 1% w/w NSSO. Experimental cheese samples were analyzed in duplicates for total nitrogen content (TN), at 0, 14, 28 and 42 days of ripening, while single determinations of total nitrogen (WSN) and free amino acids (FAA) were performed at 14, 28 and 42 ripening days. The TN content revealed similar values for control cheeses and NSSO cheeses, and no significant differences were noticed within the three treatment groups (p >.05) throughout ripening. WSN values followed a significant rising shift in all cheeses during ripening, yet computing data obtained for the three considered treatments, despite an obvious higher WSN content of NSSO enriched cheeses, no statistical significance could be associated to this difference. The FAA composition of the experimental cheeses, varied quantitatively, by increasing with ripening time, but no qualitative variation was noticed during the follow-up period. The FAA composition of the did not vary significantly within treatments.

Open access

Rosa Dorta-Vásquez, Oscar Valbuena and Domenico Pavone-Maniscalco

Abstract

Paper production generates large quantities of a solid waste known as papermaking sludge (PS), which needs to be handled properly for final disposal. The high amount of this byproduct creates expensive economical costs and induces environmental and ecological risks. Therefore, it is necessary to search uses for PS, in order to reduce the negative environmental impact and to generate a more valuable byproduct. Due to the cellulolytic composition of PS, this work evaluated a solid state fermentation process using it as substrate to obtain spores of the fungus Trichoderma asperellum. Optimal conditions to obtain T. asperellum spores were: 60% water content, 3% (w/w) salts (Nutrisol P® and Nutrisol K®), inoculum concentration at 1x105 spores/g, and pasteurized or sterilized PS. Under these conditions it was possible to obtain 2.37x109 spores/g. T. asperellum spores applied directly to pepper (Capsicum anuum) seeds without PS increased significantly seedling dry mass in greenhouse assays. This work suggests an alternative, economic and abundant substrate for production of T. asperellum spores.

Open access

Benoit Fatou, Michel Salzet and Isabelle Fournier

Abstract

We previously demonstrated that remote infrared Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization technology (Spidermass) using endogenous water as matrix (or so called water assisted laser desorption/ionization) was enabling real-time in vitro and in vivo analysis of clinical pathological tissues. In the present work, Spidermass was used to biotype human pathogens either from liquid bacteria growth in time course, from petri dish or on smears. Reproducibility experiments as well as bacteria dispersion and lipids identifications with SpiderMass in MS/MS mode were undertaken. The whole of the data establish that SpiderMass instrument allows real time bacteria biotyping and can be useful in clinic for pathogen identification.

Open access

Munis Dundar, Satya Prakash, Ratnesh Lal and Donald K. Martin

Abstract

The field of biotechnology is large and could be considered tritely as simply the development of technology that is based on biology. It is clear that the concepts of biotechnology can spread to cover many different fields of application and so the future developments in biotechnology will be similarly wide-ranging across many fields of applications. Here we focus onto medical biotechnology and further refine our discussion onto considering aspects of genetics and nanotechnologies that could impact on the development of future biotechnologies in the medical field. These areas that we consider in this brief article provide the basis for a panel discussion on Future Biotechnology at the European Biotechnology Congress held in Valencia, Spain in April 2019.

Open access

Martin Koller, Paula Hesse and Gerhart Braunegg

Abstract

Polyhydroxyalkanoates, microbial polyesters produced in vivo starting from renewable resources, are considered the future materials of choice to compete recalcitrant petro-chemical plastic on the polymer market. In order to make polyhydroxyalkanoates market-fit, (techno)economics of their production need to be improved. Among the multifarious factors affecting costs of polyhydroxyalkanoate production, increased volumetric productivity is of utmost importance. Improving microbial growth kinetics and increasing cell density are strategies leading to a high concentration of catalytically active biomass within a short time; after changing cultivation conditions, these cells can accumulate polyhydroxyalkanoates as intracellular products. The resulting increase of volumetric productivity for polyhydroxyalkanoates can be realized by supplying complex nitrogen sources to growing microbial cultures. In the present study, the impact of different expensive and inexpensive complex nitrogen sources, in particular whey retentate, on the growth and specific growth rates of Hydrogenophaga pseudoflava was tested.

Based on a detailed kinetic process analysis, the study demonstrates that especially whole (not hydrolyzed) whey retentate, an amply available surplus material from dairy industry, displays positive effects on cultivations of H. pseudoflava in defined media (increase of concentration of catalytically active biomass after 26.25 h of cultivation by about 50%, increase of specific growth rate μ from 0.28 to 0.41 1/h during exponential growth), while inhibiting effects (inhibition constant K i = 6.1 g/L) of acidically hydrolyzed whey retentate need to be overcome. Considering the huge amounts of surplus whey accruing especially in Europe, the combined utilization of whey permeate (carbon source) and whey retentate (complex nitrogen source) for biopolyester production can be considered a viable bioeconomic strategy for the next future.

Open access

Samuel O. Onoja, Glory C. Onyebuchi, Ifeoma I. Ijeh and Maxwell I. Ezeja

Abstract

This study evaluate the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of Helianthus annuus Linn. in rats. Methanol extract of Helianthus annuus (HAE) leaf was used in this study. Formalin- and egg-albumin induced-paw edema were used to investigate the anti-inflammatory activities while acetic acid-induced writhing reflex and tail flick models were used to evaluate the analgesic properties. The doses of HAE used were 150, 300 and 600 mg/kg. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) was used as reference drug in the anti-inflammatory and writhing reflex models while pentazocine (reference drug) was used in tail flick model. The negative control was dosed 5% tween-20 (10 ml/kg). The HAE exhibited significant (P < 0.05) dose-dependent anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. At 3 hour (h) post treatment, the HAE (300 mg/kg) produced 33.33% and 32.94% while ASA produced 36.36% and 35.29% reduction in paw volume in the formalin and egg-albumin induced paw edema models respectively when compared with negative control. In the acetic acid-induced writhing reflex, ASA and HAE (600 mg/kg) produced 67.89% and 35.78% reduction in the number of writhing, respectively when compared with the negative control. Pentazocine and HAE (300 mg/kg) caused 67.62% and 35.24% increase in pain reaction time when compared with the negative control. The study affirms the folkloric uses of Helianthus annuusin the management of pain and inflammation.

Open access

Martin Koller

Abstract

The benefit of biodegradable “green plastics” over established synthetic plastics from petro-chemistry, namely their complete degradation and safe disposal, makes them attractive for use in various fields, including agriculture, food packaging, and the biomedical and pharmaceutical sector. In this context, microbial polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are auspicious biodegradable plastic-like polyesters that are considered to exert less environmental burden if compared to polymers derived from fossil resources.

The question of environmental and economic superiority of bio-plastics has inspired innumerable scientists during the last decades. As a matter of fact, bio-plastics like PHA have inherent economic drawbacks compared to plastics from fossil resources; they typically have higher raw material costs, and the processes are of lower productivity and are often still in the infancy of their technical development. This explains that it is no trivial task to get down the advantage of fossil-based competitors on the plastic market. Therefore, the market success of biopolymers like PHA requires R&D progress at all stages of the production chain in order to compensate for this disadvantage, especially as long as fossil resources are still available at an ecologically unjustifiable price as it does today.

Ecological performance is, although a logical argument for biopolymers in general, not sufficient to make industry and the society switch from established plastics to bio-alternatives. On the one hand, the review highlights that there’s indeed an urgent necessity to switch to such alternatives; on the other hand, it demonstrates the individual stages of the production chain, which need to be addressed to make PHA competitive in economic, environmental, ethical, and performance-related terms. In addition, it is demonstrated how new, smart PHA-based materials can be designed, which meet the customer’s expectations when applied, e.g., in the biomedical or food packaging sector.

Open access

Peter M. Eze, Joy C. Nnanna, Ugochukwu Okezie, Happiness S. Buzugbe, Chika C. Abba, Chidimma R. Chukwunwejim, Festus B. C. Okoye and Charles O. Esimone

Abstract

Endophytic fungi associated with Nigerian plants have recently generated significant interest in drug discovery programmes due to their immense potential to contribute to the discovery of new bioactive compounds. This study was carried out to investigate the secondary metabolites of endophytic fungi isolated from leaves of Newbouldia laevis, Ocimum gratissimum, and Carica papaya. The plants were collected from Agulu, Anambra State, South-East Nigeria. Endophytic fungal isolation, fungal fermentation; and extraction of secondary metabolites were carried out using standard methods. The crude extracts were screened for antimicrobial activities using the agar well diffusion method, and were also subjected to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis to identify their constituents. A total of five endophytic fungi was isolated, two from N. laevis (NL-L1 and NL-L2), one from O. gratissimum (SL-L1), and two from C. papaya (PPL-LAC and PPL-LE2). In the antimicrobial assay, the extracts of NL-L2, SL-L1, and PPL-LE2 displayed mild antibacterial activity against both Gram negative and Gram positive test bacteria. PPL-LAC extract showed mild activity only against S. aureus, while no antimicrobial activity was recorded for NL-L1 extract. All the endophytic fungal extracts showed no activity against the test fungi C. albicans and A. fumigatus. HPLC analysis of the fungal extracts revealed the presence of ethyl 4-hydroxyphenyl acetate and ferulic acid in NL-L1; ruspolinone in NL-L2; protocatechuic acid, scytalone, and cladosporin in SL-L1; indole-3-acetic acid and indole-3-carbaldehyde in PPL-LE2; and indole-3-acetic acid in PPL-LAC. The findings of this study revealed the potentials possessed by these plants as source of endophytes that express biological active compounds. These endophytes hold key of possibilities to the discovery of novel molecules for pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications.

Open access

Manuela-Maria Manziuc, Cristina Gasparik, Marius Negucioiu, Mariana Constantiniuc, Alexandru Burde, Ioana Vlas and Diana Dudea

Abstract

Translucent monolithic zirconia is the newest option of zirconia-based ceramics, which aimed to substitute the opaque classic yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystal (Y-TZPs) in more demanding esthetic cases.

The aim of this review was to assess the available literature regarding the optical, chemical and mechanical properties of translucent zirconia ceramics.

This systematic review was developed according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis) guidelines. An electronic literature search was undertaken through Medline (National Library of Medicine) via PubMed to identify relevant articles, published in the interval 2010-2018. The search was limited to the English language publications, in vitro studies of color and microstructure of translucent zirconia material.

Yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystals (Y-TZPs) has excellent mechanical properties, but its intense white color and high opacity represent an esthetic limit. Cubic zirconia represents a new generation of dental ceramics with molecular structure and physical properties different from the conventional zirconia. Dental manufacturers created new formulations of this restorative material, introducing new cubic varieties of zirconia with improved optical properties. Translucent monolithic zirconia provides a new restorative option that combines strength with improved esthetics, due to its increased translucency. Translucent zirconia is indicated for anterior and posterior restorations but should be used carefully for discolored teeth, because the background color can affect the final esthetic appearance of the restoration.