Title: Cocoa pod waste as a raw material for fabrication of antibacterial silver nanoparticles and adsorptive activated carbon

Abstract:Cocoa pod husk (CCP) was utilized as a multitasking material: its extract acting as a reducing agent to synthesize silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and its residue serving the fabrication of activated carbon. The formation of AgNPs was monitored by UV-Vis Spectroscopy at the wavelength range of 400500 nm, with the optimized conditions involving the synthesis time of 180 minutes, the volume ratio of AgNO3 solution/CCP extract of 3/2, the AgNO3 concentration of 1.25 mM and the stirring rate of 300 rpm at room temperature in the presence of the light illumination. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) and the high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) results revealed the face-centered cubic structure of AgNPs with a highly crystalline and the particle size of 2030 nm. The highly negative potential of the AgNPs solution (−34.6 mV) evidenced a good colloidal nature, long-term stability, and high dispersion of AgNPs due to negative-negative repulsion. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) demonstrated the presence of flavonoids, polyphenolics, and alkaloids components in CCP extract which can act as the reducing agents for AgNPs formation. The antibacterial effect of AgNPs was evaluated on five types of bacteria by implementing the minimum inhibitory concentration test (MIC, 10.1 μg/mL) and the zone of inhibition test (d > 13.0 mm). Besides, the cocoa residue obtained after the CCP extraction was used to fabricate activated carbon with the point of zero charge (pHpzc) of 7.7, a BET value of 603.3 m2/g, an average pore diameter of 14.2 Å, and a pore volume of 0.303 cm3/g. Its adsorption efficiency on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was observed in the following order: Methyl blue > Methyl orange > Rhodamine B > Cinnamic acid.

Title: The Influence of Mobile Ad Wearout on Consumer engagement and Loyalty among University Students: Does Intrusiveness and Irritation matter?

Abstract:The implication of mobile ad wearout on consumer engagement and loyalty with the mediating effect of irritation and intrusiveness was examined in this study. Though, mobile ads effectiveness has attracted much attention, but the studies examine the mediating effects of irritation and intrusiveness in the relationship between mobile ad wearout and consumer reactions towards a brand are scant. In all, 394 valid responses from university students in North Cyprus Universities were analyzed to test the formulated hypotheses, using partial least square- structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). The findings showed that perceived mobile ad wearout has a significant relationship with consumer engagement and loyalty, as well as triggering irritation and intrusiveness. In addition, perceived irritation was found to lower consumer engagement and loyalty, while intrusiveness was found to lower consumer engagement. The perceived irritation and intrusiveness were found to significantly mediate the relationship between perceived mobile ad wearout and consumer reactions towards a brand. Finally, managerial implications were provided.

Title: Environmental Concern, Environmental Knowledge, and Intention to visit Green Hotels: Do Perceived Consumption Values Matter?

Abstract:Though, the call for environmental protection is on the increase, the ability of the hotel consumers� to pay for green product is still a challenge for tourism industry. This study sought to expand existing understanding of consumer�s environmental concern and knowledge in relation to intention to visit green hotels by developing and testing an extended social exchange theory. Specifically, environmental knowledge and concern were incorporated into the social exchange theory to understand comprehensively consumer�s perceived consumption values with respect to their intention to visit green hotels. Results from the partial-least square structural equation modeling from a sample of 401 hotel guests in Nigeria showed that the proposed theoretical framework has a strong ability to determine intention and identified significant impact of environmental knowledge, concern and consumption values in generating intention, as well as the significant mediating effect of perceived consumption value in the model. The finding from this study provides additional perspective into consumers� decision-making processes, which can help hotel managers in the development and execution of hotel operations that would account for eco-friendly purchase behavior.

Title: Screening of Biotic Compounds and Thin Layer Chromatography of Selected Peach Germplasm of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Swat, Pakistan

Abstract:Herbal remedies are significant besides the primary therapy in traditional organization of medicine has been cast-off in medical practices since prehistoric periods. Plants which contain phytochemical constituents are accountable for homoeopathic actions. In present study ethanolic extracts of Peach were assessed for phytochemical components. Tannins, Alkaloids, Carbohydrates, Steroids, Saponins, Quinones, Phenols and Oils were found positive among all the tested germplasm of Peach, whereas there is diversity of phytochemicals were found with reference to Flavonoids, Coumarins, Glycosides, Cardiac glycosides, Phlobtannins and Anthraquinones. As compared to others genotypes of Selected peach A2, Flame crust, 4.5, 669 No.2, Florida king, Early grand and Spring crust have all the bioactive compounds except anthraquinones, while coumarins was found negative in Peach early grand. Results for alkaloids and terpenoids were further confirmed through TLC which showed that alkaloids were positive in all the tested germplasm and showed highest Rf value in Peach early green (7.0875), while terpenoids presented highest Rf value in Peach No.2 (0.8625, 0.825 and 0.75) as compare to other germplasm although it was conclude that Peach early green have large amount of alkaloids and No.2 have rich number of terpenoids.

Title: Performance analysis of Support Vector Machine and Bag of Visual Words Classifiers in Melanoma Diagnosis

Abstract:Malignant Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer that influences all over the world 2-3 million people every year. For the early diagnosis of melanoma dermoscopic skin image is taken and it is exposed to several process. In this work top hat transform, dilation, median filter and Unsharp masking are done for pre and post processing. The image segmentation is done by Otsu’s method and morphological operations. The features are extracted by ABCD and FOS feature extraction techniques. The extracted features are separately given to the classifiers and then combined together to test the classifiers performance. Classification is done by Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Bag of Visual Words (BOW) classifiers. The performance measures are analyzed based on classifier output for individual and combined feature inputs. Accuracies of SVM classifier are 70%, 86.7% and 96.7% for ABCD, FOS and ABCD + FOS features respectively. Accuracies of BOW classifier are 96.2%, 96.5% and 97% for ABCD, FOS and ABCD + FOS features respectively. Better accuracy occurs in BOW classifier for combinational feature inputs.


Abstract:The accumulation of pesticides in cultivation soil exerts a selection pressure on its microbiota. Over time it generates insensitivity in harmful fungi for crops of economic and nutritional importance such as avocado and guava. The sensitivity of the pathogenic fungi of these fruit trees to the fungicides used for their control was evaluated in vitro and in a relevant environment. Most of the fungal isolates showed insensitivity to fungicides in the in vitro condition. However, the response changes depending on the environment where the fungicide and fungus interact. In Hass avocado fruit, the fungicide azoxystrobin was effective in reducing pedicle rot disease in avocado fruit. The insensitivity to conventional fungicides in laboratory tests and in a relevant environment (fruit) exhibited by the deleterious fungi of Hass avocado fruit and guava is an alert for the verification of pesticide management strategies in these crops.

Title: Toxicity potential of indigenous flora of Soon valley (Khushab, Pakistan) against Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptera litura (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

Abstract:Helicoverpa armigera Hübner and Spodoptera litura Fabricius (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) are the most devastating pests of agricultural and horticultural crops. These polyphagous pest species have a cosmopolitan distribution worldwide. Primarily, synthetic insecticides are used to control to these lepidopterous pests all over the world. Excessive use of synthetic chemicals has created harmful impacts on non-target organisms and environment. Plant-based insecticides have been evidenced as important alternatives to conventional synthetic insecticides. This study was aimed to assess the insecticidal potential of acetone extracts of 40 indigenous flora of Soon valley (Khushab, Punjab, Pakistan) on the 3rd instar larvae of H. armigera and S. litura using leaf-dip bioassay method. Results revealed that some botanical extracts exhibited significant toxicity against both lepidopterous larvae and their response was time and concentration dependent. Initial screening bioassay revealed that highest mortality of 3rd instar H. armigera larvae was exhibited by the 10% extracts of Dodonaea viscosa L. (88%), followed by Olea ferruginea Wall. ex Aitch. (69%), Mentha longifolia (L.) Huds. (57%) and Salvia officinalis L. (52.22%). Further toxicity bioassay conducted against 3rd instar larvae of S. litura with different concentrations of 10 most effective plant extracts demonstrated that the extracts of S. officinalis, D. viscosa, O. ferruginea, Sonchus asper (L.) Hill and Nerium indicum Mill. caused significant mortality (i.e. 70 to 95%) of S. litura larvae and exhibited minimum LC50 and LT50 values. Overall study results demonstrate the insecticidal potential of indigenous plant species of Soon valley against H. armigera and S. litura, and suggest their further biochemical characterization and practical implication in the future management programs against these and other lepidopterous pests.

Title: Forest Trade Potential Nexus between China and FOCAC Members: A Gravity Model Approach

Abstract:China and FOCAC member states have demonstrated consistent trade bonds over the years with promising growth potentials based on FOCAC agreement which was inoculated two decades ago. Understanding China�s forest products trade potential with this unique group of partners in the global forest market is of economic significance for the forest sector looking at the rising demand in use, the rate of depletion, and the position of china as a global user of primary forest products. With the gravity model of trade and 13 explanatory economic variables an analysis of Determinants and potentials of China�s forest trade with countries within FOCAC was conducted using data set on aggregate primary forest from 2000 to 2018.Our model which predicted 81% of the variation in the volume of trade accounted for by the explanatory variables revealed that, the GDP�s of the two partners and China�s Language investment in partner countries have significant influence on the volume of trade, However forest Resource endowment in FOCAC countries as well as WTO memberships of exporters did not matter (insignificant) as China�s trade deals in this context is always hinged on FOCAC objectives and fair deals. All FOCAC trade partners appeared to be trading under their potential volume despites the favorable trade agreements imbed with in bilateral trade deals. This findings are paramount in formulating future forest trade agreements and enriching existing literature.

Title: Review on adaptation strategies of plant fine roots to environments

Abstract:Fine roots have been proved to play a crucial role in plant growth, ecosystem nutrient cycling and energy flow. Moreover, they can make sensitive perceptions and responses to environmental changes, showing the important adaption strategies of plant to environment. Studies on the strategies of fine root to environment and their influencing factors are urgent and essential. In the present study, the two study works were conducted systematically based on previous studies: 1) Review on the latest research results of the environmental adaptation strategies; 2) Summarization of the influencing factors of fine root adaptation strategies. We suggest research directions to address some of these issues for the purpose of refining adaptation strategies of plant fine roots to environments: 1) single research of fine root traits can not fully reflect the response of plant fine root to the environment; 2) relationships between rhizosphere environment and fine root traits needs to be further studied; 3) there are still uncertainties of adaptation strategies and mechanisms of fine roots under different durations and scales; 4) researches on fine root adaption strategies in Karst areas are obviously lack.

Title: Conservation agriculture improves soil and productivity of wheat-rice cropping systems in semi-arid region

Abstract:A study was conducted using various sowing methods and engineering approaches on rice-wheat crop rotation for two consecutive years (2016-18) in Punjab Province of Pakistan. The sowing of crop was done by using three different techniques including Zone Disk Tiller Drill (ZDTD) with 39% crop residue retention (T1), Happy Seeder with 31% crop residue retention (T2) and conventional technique in which land was prepared with Rotavator and sowing was made with Rabi Seed Drill with zero crop residue retention (T3). The data were recorded for residue decomposition rate, soil bulk density, penetration resistance and crop yield, analyzed using Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) (α = 5%). The results revealed that zero tillage and crop residue had significant effect on crop yield and soil physical properties. Maximum value of rice straw residue decomposition (0.5 ton/acre) was found for T2 during 1st month of 1st year wheat crop and minimum decomposition value (0.13 ton/acre) was also found for T2 before harvesting of wheat crop in the same year. Maximum value of wheat straw residue decomposition was found during 1st month of 2nd year of wheat straw residue application for T1 and minimum value (0.12 ton/acre) for T1 during 2nd year of wheat straw residue application. Maximum soil bulk density was measured for T3 during 2nd year after 3 months of wheat sowing and minimum bulk density was calculated for T1 during 2nd year of experiment after 3 month of rice sowing. Maximum value of penetration resistance (62 kPa) was found during 1st year for T2 and minimum penetration resistance (37 kPa) was found for T3 during 1st year of experimentation. Maximum wheat yield of 1.94 ton/acre was noted for T1 during 2nd year of experimentation and minimum wheat yield of 1.67 ton/acre was noted for T3 during 2nd year. For rice crop maximum crop yield of 2.77 ton/acre was observed for T1 during 2nd year and minimum crop yield of 2.60 ton/acre was noted for T3 during 1st year of experimentation.