Vol. 39 Issue 3

Eman Farid, Mohammed Al-Biltagi, Heba Abdulla and Kannan Sridharan

Background: Recent studies indicate causal relationship between infection by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and bronchial asthma. We evaluated the incidence of bronchial asthma in children with RSV positive infection early in their childhood in a nation-wide cohort study.

Methods: Children (aged between one month and 15 years) were evaluated for the presence of RSV infection when they presented with one or more acute respiratory tract infection symptoms (fever, cough, cold and wheezing) in a major tertiary care hospital in the Kingdom of Bahrain during a period of seven years. RSV detection was done using nasopharyngeal secretion (NPS) samples by direct antigen detection immunofluorescence technique. Number of children who were later diagnosed with asthma was recorded. Serum IgE levels were estimated. Risk of developing bronchial asthma is represented using relative risk (RR) [95% CI]. Children with asthma without prior RSV infection from the same population formed the historical control.

Results: A total of 3782 children diagnosed with respiratory tract infection were recruited. We observed that RSV infection at younger age (during infancy) and severe infection were significantly associated with asthmatic episodes RR [95% CI]: 7 [5.5, 8.2]. Additionally, asthmatics with prior RSV infection had significantly higher total IgE levels (167 ± 37 IU/ml) compared to those without RSV infection (92 ±17 IU/ml). Mean (SD) age of children developing asthma with prior RSV infection was 0.7 (0.42) years compared to the historical control [6.8 (3.8) years] and was statistically significant.

Conclusion: Infants with RSV infection have an increased risk of developing bronchial asthma later in the childhood. The more severe the RSV infection, the greater is the severity of bronchial asthma as indicted by serum IgE levels. Asthma in children with RSV infection occurs at much younger age compared to those without RSV infection.

Asma Abdulsalam Alfaifi and Shakir Gayour Khan

Purpose: When a website or application is designed and deployed rapidly as a response to an urgent need, it may not satisfy users. Therefore, we decided to investigate users’ attitudes and (dis)satisfaction towards the UX of the Madrasati platform, an e-learning system that was developed by the Saudi Ministry of Education as an alternative to traditional learning during the COVID-19 crisis.

Method: The study utilizes Twitter to collect a large volume of data (177,358 tweets) related to Madrasati. Two relevant hashtags #Madrasati ( مدرستي #) and

#Minaset Madrasati ( منصة مدرستي #) were used to collect data within the first two

months after the launch of the platform. The two-month period was split into four phases: Pre-Semester Phase, Familiarization Phase, Interaction Phase, and Use Phase. The Microsoft Product Reaction Cards (MPRC) tool was implemented to judge user satisfaction/dissatisfaction.

Results: The findings show a sudden dissatisfaction about the platform upon launch, but a gradual increase in positive UX over time. Various categories of negative UX (e.g., errors, user denial, and speed issues) gradually became less and less over the observed two months. More importantly, the results show how big data from Twitter can be used for analyzing the UX of a new product.

Conclusion: UX is not static; it can change positively over time as users gain more experience with the system.

Nurashikin Suhaili, Farah Wahida Mamat, Ngieng Ngui Sing, Awang Ahmad Sallehin Awang Husaini, Micky Vincent and Dayang Salwani Awang Adeni

Purpose: Laccases are polyphenol oxidases that have diverse industrial applications. High industrial demand of laccases has necessitated the development of cost-effective production of recombinant laccases. One of the ways is by utilizing waste stream that has valuable composition for supporting microbial growth and metabolite expression. This work aims to intensify the production of recombinant laccases in Pichia pastoris GS115 using sago bioethanol liquid waste (SBLW) as a feedstock.

Method: Production of laccases from SBLW was intensified by the addition of glycerol ranging from 0.5% - 2.5% (w/v). The fermentation performance was assessed based on the biomass concentration and laccase activity. The resulting laccases produced were further evaluated in terms of the capability of the enzyme to decolourise Remazol Brilliant Blue R dye.

Results: The results showed that supplementation of SBLW with 2% (w/v) glycerol yielded improvements of 1.9-fold and 2.1-fold of biomass concentration and laccase activity, respectively in comparison to that achieved by fermentations using the standard Buffered Methanol-Complex Medium. Furthermore, the laccases produced using the optimal SBLW medium yielded a decolourisation percentage of 68.6% under non-optimised conditions and in the absence of mediators. The value represents 91% of the decolourising capability of laccases produced using the standard BMMH.

Conclusion: In general, this works represents a further step towards low-cost production of recombinant laccases using renewable feedstocks.

Shobha Mehra, Charu Tyagi, Namrata Dudha, Yugandhar P. Reddy, Jayanand Manjhi, Varun Kumar Sharma and Lomas Kumar Tomar

Purpose: Wounds infection is frequent hospital acquired infections which is caused by a wide variety of microorganism. Inappropriate treatment could be more hazardous to suffering patients and could lead to death. This manuscript is aimed to identify the existence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from the clinical samples and determine the molecular evolution and population structure of Pseudomonas species using bioinformatics tools

Method: The specimens were swiped from the bandage of infected patients, who were admitted for the therapeutic intervention in the hospitals, localized in Delhi-NCR region. Primarly, specimens were cultured in cetrimide broth for specific growth of Pseudomonas sp. Single colony isolation on cetrimide agar plate and characterization of bacterial colony by producing fluorescence under UV light was done to confirm Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis was performed on the basis of PCR and sequencing of 16s rRNA sequence of P. aeruginosa.

Results: Assay based on bacterial culture, biochemical and 16S rRNA gene analysis methods confirm the presence of P. aeruginosa in collected wound specimen. Basic local alignment search tool analysis indicates that newly sequenced 16S rRNA gene sequence was shown 99% similarity to P. aeruginosa species, analyzed using NCBI-BLAST tool. The phylogenetic analysis and nucleotide base composition studies performed using 45 sequences of 16S rRNA gene from 18 different species of Pseudomonas, including P. aeruginosa. The phylogenetic analysis was performed using Maximum Likelihood method for evolutionary relationships.

Conclusion: The biochemical and molecular characterization revealed that the clinical samples were infected with P. aeruginosa. Further, phylogenetic analysis of 16S RNA sequences revealed evolutionary conservation among different Pseudomonas species.

Wafaa Arabi, Khaled Kahloula, Djallal Eddine Houari Adli, Houari Hemida, Mostapha Brahmi, Narimene Taibi, Amel Sidi Ikhlef and Miloud Slimani

Purpose: Mercury is one of the metallic trace elements. This metal is harmful to health. However, Green anis is a plant widely used in the medical field for its various therapeutic virtues. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of subchonic exposure to mercury chloride (HgCl2) on the neurobehavioral status of young wistar rats as well as the neurocorrective effect of essential oil of green anis.

Methods: Extraction of essential oil by hydrodisillation. Exposure of developing rats to a dose of (100mg/L). Then, a group of the intoxicated animals underwent therapy with one dose (0.25 ml/kg) for 21 days intraperitoneally. In addition, the realization of a behavior test battery namely; the forced swimming test to assess the state of despair of the pups, the open field to assess the locomotor activity as well as the exploratory capacities followed by a histopathological study of the brain. Data were analyzed by two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Results: The results of this study demonstrate that exposure to mercury induced significant decreases in body weight (p < 0.001) and brain weight (p < 0.05), respectively, increases the level of depression (p < 0.001), locomotor hypoactivity (p < 0.01) compared to control rats. Histological study revealed Purkinje cell degeneration, vascular congestion and lesions. Administration of Pimpinella anisum oil reduced levels of depression (p < 0.01), corrected locomotor hypoactivity (p < 0.05), and reduced mercury damage.

Conclusion: According to this study, exposure to mercury disrupted the neurobehavioral state of young rats by affecting certain brain structures. These disturbances can be regulated by the essential oil of anis.

Imen Mougou and Ali Rhouma

Purpose: Olive knot disease caused by Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi is among the most serious bacterial disease affecting olives in many olive growing countries. This study aimed to evaluate the susceptibility of olive trees cultivars towards Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi, and to verify the involvement of polyphenols in disease resistance or tolerance.

Method: The susceptibility of five olive cultivars against four strains of Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. savastanoi were evaluated by stem inoculation. The content of phenolic compounds was determined in different studied cultivars from shoots and Knots.

Results: Evaluated Tunisian strains AW9 and AW8 showed a similar and intermediate virulence in each cultivar, TEK appeared the less virulent. While the Spanish strain IVIA 1628 was the most virulent. Our results revealed that cv. Zarrazi was very susceptible to the disease. Cultivars Arbequina and Chetoui appeared susceptible, cv. Chemlali exhibited an intermediate infection level. While cv. Oueslati appeared tolerant to the disease. Polyphenolic content from shoots increased significantly according to the strain’s virulence. For cvs. Zarrazi and Oueslati the polyphenol content of shoots inoculated with the most virulent strain IVIA1628 were (33.77 and 28, 69 mg GAE g−1 Ms), respectively. However, knot-polyphenol content increased significantly according to the virulence of the strains and cultivars susceptibility. The highest knot- polyphenol content value was recorded in the tolerant cultivar Oueslati inoculated with the most virulent strain IVIA 1628 (80.63 mg GAE g−1 Ms) while, cv. Zarrazi showed the lowest value with (30.16 GAE g−1 Ms). A negative correlation was observed between the polyphenol content in knot and the average of knot weight.

Conclusion: The hight value of polyphenols found in small knots formed on cv. Oueslati suggest the implication of these compounds in the defence mechanism against the bacterial disease.