The Republic of South Africa has the highest documented fetal alcohol syndrome prevalence globally. In the Limpopo province, little is known about students’ or community members’ knowledge of fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder rates and risk behaviors. The aim of this study was to characterize and compare knowledge about fetal alcohol syndrome and other fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and the related behaviors such as drinking among University of Venda students and local community residents in villages to inform educational efforts to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome. Participants ([Formula: see text]) were from the University of Venda and two villages, Maungani and Ha-Mangilasi, and completed an epidemiological survey about their characteristics, behaviors, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder risks. We analyzed differences between the university students and community residents in fetal alcohol syndrome knowledge and the related risk behaviors. University students have heard of fetal alcohol syndrome (Fisher’s exact test p < .001), have seen warning labels about drinking during pregnancy (Fisher’s exact test p = .003), and were aware that a baby is born with birth defects if diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (Fisher’s exact test p = .03) with more knowledge of fetal alcohol syndrome compared to community residents. Most respondents thought it was unacceptable to drink during pregnancy. Despite this, a substantial number of participants thought it was acceptable to have one drink after pregnancy recognition. There was little knowledge of best practices about alcohol consumption to prepare for pregnancy, or once recognized. We recommend an education campaign to raise awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders across Limpopo, especially in smaller villages, and further research to determine demographic and experiential risk factors to aid in prevention efforts.
Abstract: The operational temperature of the biogas digester is the most critical parameter for optimum biogas production. Most household digesters are operated at ambient temperatures throughout the year. Biogas production rate increases with the increase of digester operational temperature. The present work focuses on developing a mathematical model to predict operating temperature from ambient temperature for underground built fixed dome Deenbandhu model digester. The operating or slurry temperature would then estimate the daily biogas production. Three fixed-dome underground brick-built biogas digesters of bulk size 6.0 m3 constructed following a fixed-dome Deenbandhu model in India were used to study the operational temperature. Thermocouples were fitted in each digester to measure operational temperature data. The statistical tool R-studio was then used to establish the relationship between the operational and air temperature based on this arrangement. The results of this work provide information on the prevailing operating temperature for underground biogas digester systems and hence biogas production rate. The results from the study have shown that there is a strong correlation between bio-slurry temperature and ambient air temperature. Second, the biogas production was computed based on the data of the predicted slurry temperature. It was found that as the temperature increases, the production rate also increases. Subjects: Environmental Sciences; Biotechnology; Applied Physics; Environmental Physics; Experimental Physics; Heat Transfer; Renewable Energy; Energy & Fuels Keywords: Biogas digester; Operational Temperature; Fixed dome; Household digester; Deenbandhu model
The focus of this study was to assess the solar radiation in locations with limited meteorological data. In 2019, monthly average temperature values that were collected from the South African University Radiometric Network (SAURAN), USAid Venda station in Vuwani, Limpopo, were inputted in the temperature-based empirical model, Hargreaves–Samani (H−S) model to calculate global solar radiation. The modelled monthly average solar radiation values were compared to the ground-based and two satellites data sources. The performance of the model showed strong correlation between all the measurements (observed) solar radiation with R² of 0.83, 0.94, and 0.92 for ground-based, NASA, and CAMS satellites derived data, respectively. It can be inferred that the modelled global radiation has a better error range as compared to both ground-based and satellite-derived observations. The strong correlation validated that the estimated radiation through the H−S model as a reliable input for photovoltaic(PV) power output models for a 255 W panel installed at the study site. Therefore, careful site assessment of weather conditions is necessary for a better assessment of potential P V power output and recommendation of the suitable solar panel. The study has proven that the PV power output can be estimated in areas with limited weather data with known solar panel. The outcomes of this study can be useful for proper design of power generation system of any size in any location.
Background: Campylobacter spp. are one of the most frequent causes of diarrhoeal disease in humans throughout the world. This study aimed at determining the prevalence and the genotypic distribution of Campylobacter spp. and their association with diarrhoea and child growth in children of less than the age of two in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Methods: A total of 4280 diarrheal and non-diarrheal stool samples were collected on a monthly basis from children recruited at birth and followed up to 24 months. All stool samples were screened for the presence Campylobacter antigen using ELISA technique after which CAH 16S primer was used on the positive samples to confirm the presence of Campylobacter. Subsequently, the PCR positive samples were further characterised using species specific primers for Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli. Results: Campylobacter antigen was detected in 564/4280 (13.2%). Campylobacter was more commonly found in diarrheal stools (20.4%) compared to non-diarrheal stools (12.4%) with a statistically significant difference (χ2 = 7.345; p = 0.006). Throughout the year there were two main peaks of Campylobacter infection one in December- January and the second peak in June. The prevalence of Campylobacter increased with the age of the children up to 11 months after which the prevalence decreased. Out of 564 positive ELISA samples, 257 (45.6%) were confirmed to have 16S rRNA gene for Campylobacter spp. Furthermore, C. jejuni was found to be more prevalent (232/257) than C. coli (25/257) with a prevalence of 90.3% and 9.7%, respectively. Both C. jejuni and C. coli were significantly associated with diarrhea with statistical values of (χ2 = 22.224; p < 0.001) and (χ2 = 81.682; p < 0.001) respectively. Sequences generated from the analysis of hip gene confirmed the PCR positives samples were C. jejuni positive. Conclusions: This study has delineated a high prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in the study cohort. Moreover, C. jejuni was found to be more prevalent than C. coli both of which were associated with diarrhea. These findings are of clinical and epidemiological significance.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women globally. Even though a plethora of treatments are available, most patients experience adverse effects which affect their quality of life. The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of nine Fynbos plants (Erica magnisylvae E.G.H Oliv., Erica canescens J.C. Wendl., Erica coccinea L., Erica glabella Thunb., Erica corifolia L., Eriocephalus racemosa L., Hippia frutescens L., Salvia africana-lutea L. and an unknown Fynbos plant) in treating breast cancer. Solvent extraction of fynbos plants was performed, and crude extracts were evaluated against MDA-MB 231 cancer cell line to determine the cytotoxic activity with the mode of cell death confirmed using flow cytometry. Antioxidant activity and mass spectrometry-based metabolite profiling were performed to characterize and identify the phytochemical constituents of the extracts. The methanol extracts from E. glabella., H. frutescens and S. africana-lutea and the hexane extract from E. racemosa showed promising cytotoxic activities in the screening phase and thus were further evaluated to determine their 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) which were found to be < 30 µg/mL. Flow cytometry analysis of treated MDA-MB 231 cells revealed promising results for the hexane crude extract (leaves) of E. racemosa and stem methanol crude extract of H. frutescens which induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cancer cell line, similar to the reference drug cisplatin. Metabolite profiling of S. africana-lutea extract, the most potent apoptosis inducer in this study, revealed the presence of phosphatidylcholines, triterpenoids, oxepane and 7-O-methylated flavonoids derivatives. It was concluded that E. racemosa and S. africana-lutea are excellent candidates for further development of therapeutic agents in the fight against cancer, given the pressing need for novel efficacious agents.
Woody structure, particularly that created by large trees, is crucial to savanna biodiversity pattern and process. We assessed changes in vertical and horizontal canopy over 15 years of saplings of Vachellia (Acacia) erioloba (camelthorn), a keystone species and one of the only trees to grow large in arid savanna on low rainfall areas of Kalahari sands, southern Africa. We also assessed whether the fastest growing saplings over the 2003-2004 growing season were also the fastest growing over the following 15 years. We measured height, canopy extent, and diameter of largest stem at ground level of 120 saplings of V. erioloba in November 2003, remeasuring these in March 2004. In November 2019, we were able to find 67 of these saplings, and we measured them again to assess growth between 2004 and 2019. We modeled inter-individual explanatory variables for growth (i.e., measures taken in 2004 of height, diameter, number of stems, evidence of fire, and largest stem diameter). We also compared residuals of growth between 2003 and 2004 with those between 2004 and 2019, to assess whether individuals showed similar progress relative to their peers over the two periods considered. Height increase was extremely variable, but mean increase over 15 years was only 45.4 mm, similar to that measured for the 2003-2004 growing season (43.1 mm). Mean horizontal canopy showed far greater growth (mean 120.2 mm over 15 years, compared with 7.12 mm over 2003-2004) than vertical growth. Individuals that had shown the fastest increase in horizontal canopy in 2003-2004 tended to be the same individuals that grew fastest over the following 15 years, but even the highest "achievers" showed increases of only 47.2 mm and 37.5 mm year À1 in average horizontal canopy extent and height, respectively. This study demonstrates how crucial long-term studies are, particularly in arid systems.
Introduction: Assessing mental health literacy has implications for the identification and treatment of mental health problems. Adolescents have been identified as a particularly important target group for initiating and improving mental health literacy. However, much of what we know about adolescent mental health literacy comes from high-income countries. This proposed review seeks to synthesise the available published primary evidence from sub-Saharan Africa on the status and measurement of mental health literacy among school-going adolescents. Methods and analysis: We will perform a systematic review reported in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement (PRISMA-2020). We will systematically search selected global databases (EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMed and MEDLINE) and regional electronic databases (African Index Medicus and African Journals OnLine) up to December 2021 for observational and qualitative studies published in English and French. The standard quality assessment criteria for evaluating primary research papers from a variety of fields (QualSyst criteria) will be used to appraise the methodological quality of the included studies. The Petticrew-Roberts 3-step approach to narrative synthesis will be applied to the included studies. Ethics and dissemination: We will not seek ethical approval from an institutional review board, as this is a systematic review of available and accessible literature. When completed, the full report of this review will be submitted to a journal for peer-reviewed publication; the key findings will be presented at local and international conferences with-partial or full-focus on (adolescent) mental health (literacy). Prospero registration number: CRD42021229011.
This study is conducted in Luvuvhu River Catchment (LRC) of South Africa, which has numerous major agricultural farms that are located in the upper catchment, especially in Levubu Valley. The significant irrigation developments in upper catchment have resulted in a decrease in the yield of surface water resources to such an extent that these resources struggle to meet domestic and industrial demand. The aim of this study is to delineate groundwater potential zones (GWPZ) as a way of establishing alternative water resources to relieve the overly stressed surface water resources. Various datasets are processed to extract groundwater controlling factors. Map layers of controlling factors are assigned weights according to their relative importance to groundwater occurrence using analytic hierarchy process and then integrated based on weighted sum analysis to generate GWPZ map. Rainfall infiltration breakthrough (RIB) and area under curve (AUC) are used to validate the GWPZ map. GWPZ map shows that lower catchment has very high groundwater potential covering about 409 km2 . Nonetheless, about 50% of LRC spatially falls within high groundwater potential zone. Groundwater recharge, based on RIB for three boreholes i.e. A9N0007, A9N0008 and A9N0018 around Levubu Valley is estimated at 8.3%, 15.4% and 16.2%, respectively. Boreholes A9N0018 and A9N0018 correspond to moderate to high groundwater potential zone, whereas A9N007 coincides with low to moderate zone. Considering the groundwater recharge estimates and associated potential zones, RIB results correspond well with GWPZ map. Also, an AUC, based on twenty-six boreholes, of 70.9% is achieved; thus, indicating a reliable model. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Contaminants can be found in the groundwater through natural processes, such as seawater intrusion, or due to human activities that can adversely affect the quantity, quality, and distribution of the groundwater. In order to assess the influence of human activities and seawater intrusion on the groundwater chemistry in the Central Nile Delta region, groundwater was collected from 167 production wells, with depths of 15-120 m. In addition, eight soil-water samples were collected from depths of about 1 m. The groundwater samples were divided based on well depths into three zones: shallow zone (<40 m depth), intermediate zone (41-60 m depth), and deep zone (>60 m depth). The TDS, EC, pH, K + , Na + , Mg 2+ , Ca 2+ , Cl − , HCO 3 − , and SO 4 2-were determined for all water samples. The groundwater samples with Cl of 100-200 mg/L and EC of 600-2,000 μs/cm represent mixing between freshwater and saltwater. The increase in TDS and concentrations of all major ions toward the northern parts reflected the impact of the seawater intrusion. The groundwater had an Na/Cl ratio of 0.46-2.75, indicating the influence of both seawater intrusion and anthropogenic activities on groundwater chemistry. In addition, the high Ca/ Mg, Ca/SO 4 , and Ca/HCO 3 ratios (>1) indicated that the groundwater was intruded by seawater. The obtained water types, the ionic ratios, and the saturation index results suggested that anthropogenic activities, water-rock interaction, infiltration, mineral weathering, and seawater intrusion are the main processes controlling the variation and evolution of groundwater chemistry.
The paleo-environmental setting of an organic-rich shale remains an essential controlling factor for shale reservoir distribution. The scarcity of generalised data on paleo-environment settings has been spurred using a simple investigative approach to decipher the provenance of organic-rich shale in various regions. This study investigates the organic-rich Madzaringwe shale of the Tuli Basin to reconstruct the provenance of the organic material for shale gas generation potential. Representative shale core samples were analysed for the stable isotopic fractions, functional groups, and major and trace compositions. The carbon isotopic composition, δ13C value, ranging from −21.01 to −24.0‰, averaging at −22.4‰. Inference from the stable isotopic compositions and functional group analysis indicate Type-III kerogen prone to gas generation in the studied Madzaringwe shale. The micro-Fourier transformed infrared (micro-FTIR) analysis reveals infrared absorption peaks between 2800 and 3300 cm−1 wavelengths corresponding to gaseous hydrocarbon. The x-ray fluorescence (XRF) result reveals major elements comprising Al2O3 (29.25–29.11%), CaO (0.29–0.28%), Fe2O3 (1.16–1.09%), K2O (0.97–0.98%), MgO (0.13–0.12%), Na2O (0.12–0.09%), P2O5 (0.22–0.21%), SiO2 (52.50–52.30%), and TiO2 (1.20–1.18%). The major element ratio of Al2O3/TiO2 values ≥ 25 indicates felsic and intermediate provenance from a terrigenous paleo-environment. In addition, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LAICP-MS) reveals the trace elements in which elemental proxy of V/(V + Ni) with a value greater than 0.5 represent reducing environments. Furthermore, the geochemical proxies and isotopic compositions have revealed an anoxic paleo-environment for the non-marine-derived organic matter in the studied carbonaceous shale.
Plasmodium falciparum Hsp70-1 (PfHsp70-1; PF3D7_0818900) and PfHsp90 (PF3D7_0708400) are essential cytosol localized chaperones of the malaria parasite. The two chaperones form a functional complex via the adaptor protein, Hsp90-Hsp70 organizing protein (PfHop [PF3D7_1434300]), which modulates the interaction of PfHsp70-1 and PfHsp90 through its tetracopeptide repeat (TPR) domains in a nucleotide-dependent fashion. On the other hand, PfHsp70-1 and PfHsp90 possess C-terminal EEVD and MEEVD motifs, respectively, which are crucial for their interaction with PfHop. By coordinating the cooperation of these two chaperones, PfHop plays an important role in the survival of the malaria parasite. 2-Phenylthynesulfonamide (PES) is a known anti-cancer agent whose mode of action is to inhibit Hsp70 function. In the current study, we explored the antiplasmodial activity of PES and investigated its capability to target the functions of PfHsp70-1 and its co-chaperone, PfHop. PES exhibited modest antiplasmodial activity (IC50 of 38.7 ± 0.7 µM). Furthermore, using surface plasmon resonance (SPR) analysis, we demonstrated that PES was capable of binding recombinant forms of both PfHsp70-1 and PfHop. Using limited proteolysis and intrinsic fluorescence-based analysis, we showed that PES induces conformational changes in PfHsp70-1 and PfHop. In addition, we demonstrated that PES inhibits the chaperone function of PfHsp70-1. Consequently, PES abrogated the association of the two proteins in vitro. Our study findings contribute to the growing efforts to expand the arsenal of potential antimalarial compounds in the wake of growing parasite resistance against currently used drugs.
Background: The public health response to the global COVID-19 pandemic has varied widely by region. In Africa, uptake of effective COVID-19 vaccines has been limited by accessibility and vaccine hesitancy. The aim of this study was to compare perceptions of COVID-19 infection and vaccination between pregnant women and non-pregnant adults in four regions of Cameroon, located in Central Africa. Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was conducted at urban and suburban hospital facilities in Cameroon. Participants were randomly selected from a convenience sample of adult pregnant and non-pregnant adults in outpatient clinical settings between June 1st and July 14th, 2021. A confidential survey was administered in person by trained research nurses after obtaining written informed consent. Participants were asked about self-reported sociodemographics, medical comorbidities, perceptions of COVID-19 infection, and vaccination. Descriptive statistics were used for survey responses and univariate and multivariable logistic regression models were created to explore factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine acceptability. Results: Fewer than one-third of participants were interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (31%, 257/835) and rates did not differ by pregnancy status. Overall, 43% of participants doubted vaccine efficacy, and 85% stated that the vaccine available in Africa was less effective than vaccine available in Europe. Factors independently associated with vaccine acceptability included having children (aOR = 1.5; p = 0.04) and higher education (aOR = 1.6 for secondary school vs primary/none; p = 0.03). Perceived risks of vaccination ranged from death (33%) to fetal harm (31%) to genetic changes (1%). Health care professionals were cited as the most trusted source for health information (82%, n = 681). Conclusion: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and misinformation in Cameroon was highly prevalent among pregnant and non-pregnant adults in 2021 while vaccine was available but not recommended for use in pregnancy. Based on study findings, consistent public health messaging from medical professionals about vaccine safety and efficacy and local production of vaccine are likely to improve acceptability.
Daily heterothermy is a strategy employed by endothermic birds and mammals to reduce their energetic costs by lowering their metabolic rate. We recorded nocturnal and diurnal rectal temperatures in three Moroccan Gerbillus rodent species to determine the level of heterothermy. A decrease in body temperature from night to day was observed by an average (±SD) of 8.7 (±4.2) in G. gerbillus , 11.1 (±3.0) in G. amoenus , and 7.7 (±3.3)°C in G. sp.1, the first records of heterothermy in the three species. The findings support a prediction that daily heterothermy is found in mammals from arid and semi-arid regions, contributing to further knowledge of thermoregulation in desert rodents.
Long-term cropping system experiments are one of the most reliable sources of information for informing sustainable agriculture and predicting future trends. When combined with crop modelling, expansion of findings on optimised management approaches is possible. In this study, results from a South African semi-arid region long-term (66 years) maize (Zea mays L.) trial are presented and combined with crop modelling to identify the impacts of fertilisation and residue management on yield and soil organic matter (SOM) levels. Simulated and observed results generally agreed well in calibration and testing exercises with APSIM. For the fertilised treatment, residue retention led to a 41% increase in average yield over the long term, and for unfertilised treatment the average yield increase was even higher at 59%. The greatest SOM decline of 46% was observed for the unfertilised plus residue removal treatment (over 66 years and considering a 60 cm soil depth). Fertilising and retaining residue reduced the SOM decline to 18%. Using only fertiliser without residue retention did not lead to a declining yield trend over the long-term for this soil. The study indicated that the APSIM model can be used to explore the ecological intensification of maize production in sub-Saharan Africa. Further attention is recommended, however, on testing the simulation of subsoil SOM dynamics. The results of this study give insight into soil fertility in low-input maize production systems and quantify the benefits of N fertiliser and residue retention guided by long-term measured data.
Synthetic antioxidants have shown adverse effects on consumers. The review, thus, aims to assess the effect of marinating broiler meat with plant leaves-derived antioxidants potential on improving shelf-life and human health. Broiler meat loss and waste due to spoilage is more than three million kg annually, thus, extending shelf-life by reducing initial microbial load and autoxidation is essential. Adding various antioxidants would reduce oxidation of protein and fatty acids improving nutritional shelf-life through synergic interactions. Antioxidant synergetic effects also improves reduction in microbiota proliferation leading to the delayed development of off flavours and deterioration of meat colour. To reduce initial microbial load and autoxidation effects, the inclusion of polyphenols and antioxidants from varying sources by mixing various antioxidants would lead to improved synergic effects.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has recently impacted and destabilised the global community. The healthcare systems of many countries have been reported to be partially or entirely interrupted. More than half of the countries surveyed (53%) have partially or completely disrupted hypertension treatment services. A population-based retrospective cohort study approach was used to determine the prevalence of hypertension and related risk factors for mortality in COVID-19 hospitalised patients in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Hierarchical logistic regression was applied to determine the determinants of hypertension. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of mortality among individuals with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 were elderly persons aged 60 years and above admitted to a person under investigation (PUI) ward (52%), and 66% had hypertension. Among the hospitalised COVID-19 patients who died, prominent risk factors for hypertension were advanced age, the presence of co-morbidities, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS. There was no evidence to establish a link between hypertension and COVID-19 case severity. More cohort and systematic studies are needed to determine whether there is a link between hypertension and COVID-19 case severity.
Large wood deposited in rivers provides ecological benefits for multiple trophic groups, but public perceptions of these deposits can be varied. In particular, flooding experiences linked to large wood debris could influence how the public and stake-holders view large wood deposited into the river ecosystem. Here, we assessed the perceptions towards large wood using groups of undergraduates, postgraduates and staff from a local university in Limpopo Province of South Africa. A survey was conducted using questionnaires, which were distributed online to a sample of 104 participants across these groups, using both visual (i.e. paired photographs of different river scenarios) and categorical questions. Large shares of respondents regularly used river systems recreationally (62.9%), with woodless systems perceived as being significantly more aesthetic, less dangerous and least in need of improvement. These perceptions, however, differed among university groups, with staff having stronger perceptions of aesthetics (median = 5.5, mean 5.4 ± 2.8), less dangerousness (median = 3.0, mean 4.2 ± 3.0) and naturalness (median = 6.0, mean 5.8 ± 2.6) towards systems with large wood. Correlation analyses indicated significant interre-latedness among perceptions of aesthetics, naturalness, danger and improvement needs. However, negative perceptions towards large wood in the river were generally not determined by any recent experience of flooding in the area, with large wood-related dangers rather associated with leisure activities in rivers by students. These results highlight a need for passing on the knowledge of natural river systems with wood to people in Vhembe Biosphere Reserve and communities' scientists and assessing wider perceptions outside of the university context.
Bidens pilosa is an edible plant with highly sought-after nutraceutical properties. The purported bioactivities of this plant can be correlated to the high number of metabolites. Amongst these metabolites, different derivatives of hydroxy‑cinnamoyl esters have been shown to exist in high proportions. However, the enzymatic machinery, thus the biosynthetic pathways responsible for the accumulation of these compounds in the plant have not yet been identified. For the first time, we report the putative identification of two genes with sequence homology to hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA: tartaric acid hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HTT) in B. pilosa. The full-length sequence of the two isoforms of the HTT gene was achieved using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing approach. Analyses of methanolic extracts of B. pilosa through Liquid-chromatography hyphenated with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) technique revealed the existence of heterogeneous hydroxycinnamoyl-tartaric acid esters consisting of different hydroxycinnamoyl derivatives. To the best of our knowledge, this is a first report on these molecules from B. pilosa. Taken altogether, this plant utilises hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA tartaric hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HTT) genes to diversify its metabolite composition through esterification of tartaric acid acceptor molecule by acylating it with either homogeneous or heterogenous hydroxycinnamic acids (HCA) derivatives. Therefore, B. pilosa is a source of structurally diverse isomeric compounds with purported nutraceutical values. The enzyme products of the two identified HTT genes are therefore pointed out as possible catalysts which can be further exploited by incorporating them in other economically viable plants to enhance the nutraceutical values thereof.
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