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Open access

Adgaba Nuru, Awad M. Awad, Ahmad A. Al-Ghamdi, Abdulaziz S. Alqarni and Sarah E. Radloff

Abstract

The nectar secretion of Ziziphus flowers was studied by removing and measuring the nectar every four hours, for two consecutive days, from 88 flowers of four trees (‘repeated sampling’). In another 120 flowers from the same trees, the accumulated sugar was measured at the end of the flowering stage. The mass of the nectar sugar was determined following the washing technique. The total amount of sugar per tree was calculated by multiplying the number of flowers per tree by the average mass of nectar sugar secreted per flower. The average mass of sugar produced per flower in repeated sampling was 0.79±0.54 mg/flower (range 0.09 - 2.48 mg). The average mass of sugar per flower for each of the four investigated trees was 1.43±0.53 mg, 0.72±0.27 mg, 0.94±0.39 mg and 0.37±0.26 mg, respectively. The differences among trees was statistically significant. For accumulated nectar, the overall average mass of sugar per flower was 0.55±0.23 mg (range 0.06 - 1.29 mg) and the average values for flowers on the investigated trees of Z. spina-christi were 0.69±0.26 mg, 0.41±0.16 mg, 0.51±0.16 mg and 0.53±0.21 mg; these variations were statistically significant. The average mass of nectar sugar calculated for the flowers with accumulated nectar sampling was significantly lower than the average mass of sugar recorded for repeated nectar sugar samplings (0.79±0.54 mg). According to this study, one Ziziphus tree is estimated to produce 3.6 kg of honey (range 2.2 - 5.2 kg), equivalent to about 900 kg of honey/ha (range 550 - 1300 kg). These figures indicate the high potential value of the plant for honey production. Nectar secretion was positively correlated with temperature, indicating the adaptation of the tree to hot climates.

Open access

Randa H. Elslahi, Awad G. Osman, Ashraf M. Sherif and Adil A. Elhussein

Abstract

Six laboratory experiments were carried out to investigate the effect of the fungicide Benomyl on pure cultures of some plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPB) and some fungi. The highest LD50 was recorded for Bacillus circulans and proved to be the most resistant to the fungicide, followed by Azospirillum braziliense, while Penicillium sp. was the most affected microorganism. LD50 values for the affected microorganisms were in 21-240 orders of magnitude lower in comparison with the LD50 value for Azospirillum braziliense. The results indicate a strong selectivity for Benomyl against Rhizobium meliloti and Penicillium sp. when compared to other microorganisms tested. The highest safety coefficient was recorded for Bacillus circulans followed by Azospirillum braziliense, while Rhizobium meliloti, showed the lowest safety coefficient value compared to other bacteria. The lowest toxicity index was recorded for Bacillus circulans and Azospirillum braziliense. The slope of the curves for Bacillus sp. and Rhizobium meliloti was steeper than that of the other curves, suggesting that even a slight increase of the dose of the fungicide can cause a very strong negative effect. In conclusion, Benomyl could be applied without restriction when using inocula based on growth promoting bacteria such as symbiotic nitrogen fixers (Rhizobium meliloti), non-symbiotic nitrogen fixers (Azospirillum braziliense) or potassium solibilizers (Bacillus circulans), given that the fungicide is applied within the range of the recommended field dose.

Open access

Reham M. Abdel Fattah, Hala A. Kiwan, Awad I. Ahmed and Mohamed R. Mostafa

Abstract

ZrO2 and a series of NiO/ZrO2 hydrogels (5 to 25 wt.% NiO) were co-precipitated with the aid of NaOH–Na2C2O4 solution. Two fluorinated hydrogels were also prepared by wet impregnation method. The samples were calcined in the temperature range of 550 to 850 °C. The surface properties of the samples were determined using DTA, XRD and nitrogen adsorption at −196 °C. The conversion of isopropanol was tested using microcatalytic pulse technique. DTA measurements showed that the addition of nickel oxide to zirconia influences the phase transition of ZrO2. XRD revealed that the tetragonal phase was formed at T ⩽ 650 °C, while a biphasic mixture was obtained at T ⩾ 750 °C. No spinel structure was detected by both DTA and XRD techniques and only traces of cubic NiO were detected for the samples containing ⩾ 15 wt.% nickel oxide and calcined at T ⩾ 750 °C. Significant changes in texture, surface acidity and catalytic activity were found as a result of the effects of thermal treatment and chemical composition. Incorporation of fluoride ions greatly increased the surface acidity and consequently enhanced the dehydration activity. It has been found that dehydration activity is related to the amount of surface acidity while the dehydrogenation of this alcohol is sensitive to NiO content.

Open access

Nabil S. Awad, Mohamed M. Soliman, Alaa A. Mohamed, Ayman M. Sabry, Ahmad F. Shahaby and Adel E. El-Tarras

Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate the effect of altitude on some male fertility related traits in Saudi sheep and goats. Testicular tissues were collected from a slaughterhouse in Taif governorate (1800 m above sea level) and Makkah governorate (sea level). Sperm characteristics (1 - individual motility, 2 - percent live sperm 3 - percent abnormal sperm) were examined. Semi-quantitative RT -PCR assay was used to evaluate the expression of IGF-II, StAR, LDLr and CYP11A genes. No significant effect of altitude on tested sperm parameters was revealed. Expression of IGF-II gene in both sheep and goats was significantly (P<0.05) higher at sea level compared to high altitude. A similar effect of altitude on StAR gene expression was only observed in goats, while in sheep the level of effect did not reach the significance threshold. Moreover, LDLr gene expression was significantly (P<0.05) higher for both sheep and goats at high altitude than at sea level. The CYP11A gene expression was significantly (P<0.05) higher in high altitude sheep than in those raised at sea level, while the opposite trend was observed for goats. In conclusion, high altitude had an effect on the expression of some studied male fertility related genes, but sperm parameters were not significantly affected.