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  • Author: Ahmed Ezzat x
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Achieving competitive advantage through the integration of disabled architects in architectural design firms in Egypt

Abstract

The 2030 strategy of sustainable development in Egypt is based on integrated goals, including Human Resource Development. Egypt has ~9,540 disabled architects, who can play an important role in achieving competitive advantage through their integration in Architectural Design Firms (ADFs). By neglecting the benefits of integrating disabled architects, ADFs encounter the risk of losing unique skills and competent personnel. This article investigates the integration of disabled architects in ADFs as an approach for achieving competitive advantage. To achieve this aim, a research methodology consisting of literature review, case studies, and survey questionnaire has been adopted, and it is designed to achieve five objectives. First, literature review is used to investigate the concepts of disabilities and competitive advantage, as well as the relation between integrating disabled architects and the achievement of competitiveness in ADFs. Second, six case studies are presented and analyzed to investigate the role and process of achieving competitive advantage in ADFs through employing disabled architects. Third, the results of a survey questionnaire are analyzed to examine the perception regarding and application of employing disabled architects as an approach for achieving competitive advantage in ADFs in Egypt. Fourth, a framework is developed to facilitate the integration of disabled architects in ADFs with the goal of achieving competitive advantage. Finally, the research findings are summarized and recommendations are put forth. The value of this research stems from the need to address the issue of lack of employment of disabled architects in ADFs and the benefits of making better use of their unique capabilities and skills toward achieving competitiveness. In addition, this research covers a controversial topic that receives scant attention in construction literature, especially in Egypt.

Open access
Enhancing the performance of architectural design firms through addressing the gap of workforce skills in developing countries: a good-to-great approach

Abstract

The aim of this research is to investigate the role of the good-to-great concept as an approach for enhanc­ing the performance of architectural design firms (ADFs) through addressing the gap of workforce skills in develop­ing countries. To achieve this aim, a research methodology was designed to accomplish four objectives: (1) building a comprehensive background about the topic through cov­ering the nature of the construction industry, gap of work­force skills, previous approaches used to address this issue and the good-to-great concept; (2) presenting and analyz­ing two case studies to investigate the role of the good-to-great concept as an approach to fill the gap of workforce skills in organizations; (3) investigating the perception and application of the good-to-great concept for addressing the gap of workforce skills to enhance the performance of ADFs and (4) developing a framework to enhance the per­formance of ADFs through bridging the gap of workforce skills in ADFs using the good-to-great concept. Findings of this research showed that the issue of gap of workforce skills threatens all types of industries including construc­tion industry. The demand of ADFs became greater than the supply of skilled employees which indicates a critical issue encountered by these firms. Thus, the good-to-great concept that has never been adopted in ADFs before is pro­posed as a novel approach to tackle this issue.

Open access
Potential Effects of Bee Honey and Propolis Against the Toxicity of Ochratoxin A in Rats

Potential Effects of Bee Honey and Propolis Against the Toxicity of Ochratoxin A in Rats

Background. In the recent years, extensive research work has been focused on the use of natural materials as antioxidants against the toxic oxidative materials to ameliorate their toxic and cell damaging effects.

Aim. To evaluate the antioxidant effects of bee honey and propolis against OA-induced oxidative stress in liver and kidney in rats.

Materials and Methods. 64 albino rats divided into 8 groups, group 1 as control, groups 2 - 4 received an oral dose of OA, honey and propolis respectively for four weeks, groups 5 and 6 were treated with a weekly dose of OA concomitant with a daily dose of bee honey in group 5 and propolis in group 6, groups 7and 8 were treated with a daily dose of bee honey in group 7 and propolis in group 8 and single weekly dose of OA then adminstrered starting the second week of treatment. After 4 weeks, blood samples, liver and kidney tissues were collected for the subsequent determinations.

Results. The study showed that OA exerted toxic effects on both liver and kidney tissues manifested as elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gamma glutamyl transferase (γGT), creatinine and cholestrol. OA also caused perturbation in liver and kidney antioxidant system reflected as diminished reduced glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG) content and also decrease in glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. The level of malondialdehyde (MDA) which is a lipid peroxidation product was elevated. Bee honey (BH) and propolis (PR) ameliorated the toxic effects of OA on liver and kidney tissues with significant reduction of mean serum levels of ALT, γGT, cholesterol and creatinine. Also BH and PR improved the reduction in the antioxidant parameters of the liver and kidney (GSH, GSSG content and GPX, SOD activity) caused by OA administration. The level of MDA was also significantly decreased.

Conclusion. Bee honey and propolis ameliorated OA-induced oxidative stress in the liver and kidney through their role in scavenging free radicals and preventing lipid peroxidation.

Open access
Postharvest Treatments with Methyl Jasmonate and Salicylic Acid for Maintaining Physico-Chemical Characteristics and Sensory Quality Properties of Apricot Fruit during Cold Storage and Shelf-Life

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of methyl jasmonate and salicylic acid on 12 quality parameters of apricot fruit in treatments of cold storage (1°C for 7, 14 and 21 days) and shelf-life (4 and 8 days at 25°C after a 21-day cold storage treatment). Fruit quality parameters included 6 physico-chemical characteristics (weight loss, fruit firmness, total soluble solids, acidity, total soluble solids/acidity ratio and juice pH) and 6 sensory properties (skin and flesh colour, texture, taste, visual appearance and overall acceptability). Among physico-chemical characteristics, applications of 0.2 mmol/L methyl jasmonate and 2 mmol/L salicylic acid significantly reduced fruit weight loss, fruit softening and juice pH and maintained soluble solid content and acidity over the whole storage period. Among sensory properties, all parameters were generally increased by methyl jasmonate and salicylic acid treatments compared to water-treated control and the water-treated fruits showed the lowest scores below the acceptability limit except for skin colour. In conclusion, our results suggest using methyl jasmonate and/or salicylic acid to enhance and prolong the storability of apricot fruits during both cold storage and shelf-life period.

Open access
Adaptive reuse: an innovative approach for generating sustainable values for historic buildings in developing countries

Abstract

Sustainable development has become a goal for all countries seeking a balance between social, environmen­tal and economic needs. The principal vision of a sustain­able built future is about developing creative designs that utilize energy and materials effectively. However, this vision should consider historic buildings that were built centuries ago. Although many of these buildings are standing in a stable state, they are obsolete and their values are not fully utilized. Towards revitalizing and generating sustainable values of these buildings, adaptive reuse is adopted as a process of modifying, adapting and reusing obsolete build­ings with their existing structures to extend their life cycle whilst performing a new function. This is currently practiced worldwide, specifically when a building has a unique archi­tectural character and is in a stable condition. The adaptive reuse of a historic building should have minimal impact on the heritage significance of the building and its setting. This paper aims to investigate the effectiveness of adaptive reuse as an innovative approach for generating sustainable values of historic buildings in developing countries. To achieve this aim, a research strategy is designed to accomplish four objectives: first, literature related to sustainable develop­ment, sustainable values, adaptive reuse and developing countries is reviewed; second, two case studies are pre­sented and analysed to investigate the role of adaptive reuse towards increasing the sustainable value of heritage build­ings; third, a strategy with its action plan is developed for facilitating adaptive reuse of historic buildings in develop­ing countries and finally, research conclusions are outlined and recommendations useful to professionals concerned with adaptive reuse of historic buildings are proposed.

Open access
Bivagina pagrosomi Murray (1931) (Monogenea: Polyopisthocotylea), a microcotylid infecting the gills of the gilt-head sea bream Sparus aurata (Sparidae) from the Red Sea: morphology and phylogeny

Abstract

Introduction

Monogenea is a class of ectoparasitic flatworms on the skin, gills, or fins of fish. Microcotylidae is a family of polyopisthocotylean monogeneans parasitising only marine fishes. This work describes and taxonomically determines a microcotylid polyopisthocotylean monogenean in an important fish in Saudi aquaculture.

Material and Methods

Thirty gilt-head sea bream captured alive from the Red Sea of Saudi Arabia were examined for monogenean infection. Worms were described morphologically and morphometrically by light microscopy and multiple sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees were also constructed after maximum likelihood analysis of the 28S rRNA sequences.

Results

Seventeen fish were infected by a monogenean parasite in the gill lamellae. It showed a bilobed anterior extremity, two rows of numerous unequal clamps of microcotylid type, and paired muscular vaginae crowned by differently sized spines. The vaginal number and its relative armature suggested the species’ affiliation to group D; the parasite possessed large, muscular vaginae with a full corona of spines over almost the entire width resembling Bivagina pagrosomi Murray (1931). The molecular analysis of the parasite 28s rRNA revealed 97% homology with B. pagrosomi (AJ577461.1).

Conclusion

The results confirmed the taxonomic status of the parasite recorded. On the basis of morphology and molecular data, we consider that several conclusions on the systematic status of microcotylids from Red Sea fishes in Saudi Arabia should be discussed.

Open access
Herbal medicine additives as powerful agents to control and prevent avian influenza virus in poultry – a review

Abstract

The complicated epidemiological situation of Avian Influenza Viruses (AIV) caused by continuous emergence of new subtypes with failure of eradication, monitoring and vaccination strategies opens the door to alternative solutions to save the status quo and prevent new disasters for the poultry industry. Using of synthetic antiviral drugs such as neuraminidase and haemagglutinin inhibitors has been limited due to development of drug resistance and expensive commercial application. One of the most promising alternatives is herbal products and botanicals. This review presents a comprehensive and specialized view of in vivo studies of herbal plants in poultry species. Many herbal extracts as Nigella Sativa oil, Astragulus, Cochinchina Momordica and Sargassum pallidum polysaccharides proved very effective as adjuvants for AIV vaccines. Another beneficial role of herbs is enhancement of host response to vaccination with further better prevention of infection and easier control. For enumeration not inventory, this is best achieved with the use of virgin coconut oil, Echinacea purpura, Ginseng stem-and-leaf saponins (GSLS), Astragulus polysaccharides (APS), Myrtus Communis oil, Garlic powder, Turmeric, Thyme and Curcumin. This review aimed to evaluate the most of the in vivo studies performed on poultry species as a step and a guide for scientists and field practitioners in establishemet of new effective herbal-based drugs for prevention and control of AIV in poultry.

Open access
Impacts of distiller’s dried grains with solubles as replacement of soybean meal plus vitamin E supplementation on production, egg quality and blood chemistry of laying hens

Abstract

The present investigation aimed to study the effect of the partial replacement of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) instead of soybean meal (SBM) with or without vitamin E supplementation in laying hen diet on egg quality criteria, egg analysis, blood chemistry and productive performance traits. A 4×2 factorial design experiment was carried out involving four substitution levels of DDGS (0, 25, 50 and 75%) and two levels of vitamin E (0 and 250 mg /kg diet) through 22-42 weeks of age. No significant differences were noticed between the control and 25 or 50% DDGS substitution in the percentage of eggs produced and egg output. The fewest number of produced eggs and the lightest egg output were observed in 75% DDGS group. Yolk index, shell percentage, and Haugh unit scores were affected (P>0.01) by DDGS levels. Albumin percentage showed increase (P>0.01) in vitamin E treated groups. The impact of the combination of DDGS and vitamin E was significant (P>0.01) on all egg quality traits excepting shell percentage. The 75% DDGS diet gave the highest values of egg nutrients. Vitamin E had a positive effect on egg crude protein, ether extract, and nitrogen free extract which increased by 10.39, 10.28 and 7.85%, respectively. The combination of vitamin E addition and DDGS levels was highly significant (P>0.01) on all egg nutrients. Hens fed the 50% DDGS diet had more concentrations of lipids profile in their blood than those fed control and other DDGS diets. All serum lipid profile inclined to increase due to vitamin E supplementation. The interaction between DDGS and vitamin E had significant (P>0.05 or 0.01) influence on all serum metabolites excepting calcium. It could be concluded that vitamin E could enhance nutrient content of eggs and preserve blood lipids from lipid peroxidation. The interaction between 75% DDGS replaced SBM with 200 mg vitamin E/kg diet accomplished the best results regarding nutrient content of eggs.

Open access