Research Articles

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 71
  • Item
    Noteworthy bird records from south-west South Sudan game reserves
    (British Ornithologists' Club, 2023-09-07) Brooks, Daniel M.; Sutton, Jack; Kurchez, Laura A.; Garside, Adrian; Ejotre, Imran; Rice, Matt; Moeller, Michelle L.; Harris, Robert J.; Klee, Ivan De; Reeder, DeeAnn M.
    Avian camera trap image data from two game reserves in southwestern South Sudan produced three new country records, four other range extensions, and one filled a distributional gap between north-west Ethiopia and eastern Central African Republic. The study took place at Bangangai (31 traps, January 2015–February 2016) and Bire Kpatuos Game Reserves (52 traps, September 2015–August 2017). A total of 40 species (18 families) was recorded, including two Near Threatened species of global conservation concern: Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus and White-naped Pigeon Columba albinucha. The occurrence of Black Goshawk Accipiter melanoleucus, Grey-throated Rail Canirallus oculeus and Nkulengu Rail Himantornis haematopus represent first records for South Sudan.
  • Item
    Epauletted fruit bats display exceptionally high infections with a Hepatocystis species complex in South Sudan
    (Springer Nature, 2017-01-31) Schaer, Juliane; Perkins, Susan L.; Ejotre, Imran; Vodzak, Megan E.; Matuschewski, Kai; DeeAnn, M.
    Hepatocystis parasites are closely related to mammalian Plasmodium species, the causative agents of malaria. Despite the close phylogenetic relationship, Hepatocystis parasites lack the intermittent erythrocytic replication cycles, the signature and exclusive cause of malaria-related morbidity and mortality. Hepatocystis population expansion in the mammalian host is thought to be restricted to the pre-erythrocytic liver phase. Complete differentiation of first generation blood stages into sexual stages for subsequent vector transmission indicates alternative parasite/host co-evolution. In this study, we identified a region of exceptionally high prevalence of Hepatocystis infections in Old World fruit bats in South Sudan. Investigations over the course of five consecutive surveys revealed an average of 93 percent prevalence in four genera of African epauletted fruit bats. We observed a clear seasonal pattern and tolerance of high parasite loads in these bats. Phylogenetic analyses revealed several cryptic Hepatocystis parasite species and, in contrast to mammalian Plasmodium parasites, neither host specificity nor strong geographical patterns were evident. Together, our study provides evidence for Pan-African distribution and local high endemicity of a Hepatocystis species complex in Pteropodidae.
  • Item
    (Trends in Parasitology, 2020-08-21) Ejotre, Imran; Reeder, DeeAnn M.; Matuschewski, Kai; Schaer, Juliane
    Hepatocystis parasites are the closest relatives of Plasmodium species of mammals. They infect monkeys, bats, squirrels, and ungulates in Africa, Asia, and Australia. A prevalence of up to 100% has been documented in fruit bats and monkeys. Twenty-five morphospecies have been described, and cross-species transmission, divergent Hepatocystis lineages, and species complexes are reported in primate and bat hosts. Biting midges (Culicoides) are the only known vectors. In the vertebrate, merogony occurs exclusively in the liver, resulting in formation of macroscopic merocysts. Merozoites invade erythrocytes and transform directly into sexual gametocytes, thereby omitting asexual replication and associated health conditions. Gametocytes can persist for several weeks and fertilize after a bloodmeal in the Culicoides midgut. The Hepatocystis genome features unique gene families, a low number of Plasmodium interspersed repeat (pir) genes, and an absence of the reticulocyte-binding protein family.
  • Item
    Negative perception of bats, exacerbated by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, may Hhinder bat conservation in Northern Uganda
    (MDPI, 2022-12-16) Ejotre, Imran; Reeder, DeeAnn M; Matuschewski, Kai; Kityo, Robert; Schaer, Juliane
    Bats face diverse challenges that cause global bat population declines, including habitat loss and roost disturbance. Additionally, negative perceptions of bats and their potential role in several zoonotic diseases have led to actions against bats. We documented existing knowledge and perception of bats through interviews with 151 participants of fifteen tribes in Northern Uganda in 2020 and conducted a sensitization campaign that prevented planned actions against bats. The interviews revealed distinct firm beliefs, negative perceptions, limited knowledge on bats, and the influence of media in shaping actions against bats. In addition, modified landscapes and habitat loss increased encounters and subsequent deterioration of relations between humans and bats. Targeted threats towards bats were exacerbated by public misinformation during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. No deliberate conservation efforts exist, and negative perception largely hampers the implementation of bat conservation in Northern Uganda. Importantly, the study also demonstrates that sensitization campaigns can be effective tools to protect bats in the short term. Regular sensitizations and education are recommended for sustainable changes in attitudes to and coexistence with bats.
  • Item
    The diagnostic and prognostic value of exosomal microRNAs in lung cancer: a systematic review
    (Springer Nature, 2024-03-15) Yang, Bingbing; Xin, Xiaoqi; Cao, Xiaoqing; Nasifu, Lubanga; Nie, Zhenlin; He, Bangshun
    Studies have shown that many exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) can be used as non-invasive biomarkers of lung cancer, but their diagnostic and prognostic values need to be further clarified. We conducted a systematic literature search in Web of Science, PubMed, and ScienceDirect databases, obtained relevant articles and extracted data, and used statistical methods and statistical software to comprehensively evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic value of exosomal miRNAs in lung cancer. Registration number: PROSPERO CRD42023447398. In terms of diagnosis, two exosomal miRNAs (miR-486-5p and miR-451a) were reported with the highest frequency in lung cancer patients, both of which had good diagnostic value. Compared with the control group, the pooled sensitivities of miR-486-5p and miR-451a were 0.80 (95% CI: 0.73–0.86) and 0.76 (95% CI: 0.60–0.87), specificities: 0.93 (95% CI: 0.63–0.99) and 0.85 (95% CI: 0.72–0.92), and AUCs: 0.85 (95% CI: 0.81–0.88) and 0.88 (95% CI: 0.84–0.90), for the respective miRNAs. For prognosis, in lung cancer patients with abnormally expressed exosomal miRNAs, miR-1290 was associated with PFS outcome; miR-382, miR-1246, miR-23b-3p, miR-21-5p, and miR-10b-5p were associated with OS outcome; miR-21 and miR-4257 were associated with DFS outcome; miR-125a-3p and miR-625-5p were associated with PFS and OS outcomes; miR-216b and miR-451a were associated with OS and DFS outcomes. Exosomal miRNAs are valuable biomarkers in lung cancer patients. Exosomal miR-486-5p and miR-451a can be used as new diagnostic biomarkers for lung cancer. Dysregulated exosomal miRNAs could serve as indicators of survival outcomes in lung cancer patients.
  • Item
    The correlation between equatorial electrojet and equatorial ionisation anomaly over the East African region during the solar minimum period 2008-2009
    (East African Journal Of Science, Technology and Innovation, 2023-09-29) Xiong, Mengqiu; Milimu, Hannington; Omondi, George; Mungufeni, Patrick
    This study analyzed the correlation between the equatorial electrojet (EEJ) and the occurrence of equatorial ionisation anomaly (EIA) over the East African region. The study was carried out during both geomagnetically quiet and disturbed conditions when Kp index values were < 2+ and > 5+, respectively. The EEJ data were obtained using a pair of magnetometers located at Adis Ababa (geographic 9.04°N, 38.77°E, geomagnetic 0.17°N, 110.47°E) and Adigrat (geographic 14.281°N, 39.46°E, geomagnetic 6.0°N, 111.06°E), both in Ethiopia while the EIA data were derived from the total electron content (TEC) data that were obtained using a set of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers within the East African region. The data used were for the years 2008 and 2009. The TEC data over the crest of EIA were divided by those over the trough to quantify EIA strength over the region. The EEJ intensity was estimated from the difference in the horizontal component of the geomagnetic field observed by the pair of magnetometers. The results during quiet geomagnetic conditions showed that peak values of EEJ which range from 48nT - 110nT occurred between 10:00 and 14:00 LT. The EIA’s peak which varies from 1.20 to 1.45 occurs between 20:00 to 22:00 LT. The correlation coefficients were found to vary from moderate (0.58) to strongest (0.74). During geomagnetically disturbed conditions, the correlation coefficient ranges from 0.28 to 0.45. The increased eastward electric field and photo-ionization on TEC are responsible for the strong link between EEJ and EIA. This study reveals the trend in the variation of the strength of EEJ and EIA over the East African region which can be used as a basis for developing regional models to forecast or nowcast scintillations and the ionospheric space weather prediction over this region.
  • Item
    Robust evidence for bats as reservoir hosts is lacking in most African virus studies: a review and call to optimize sampling and conserve bats
    (Royal Society, 2023-11-15) Weber, Natalie; Nagy, Martina; Markotter, Wanda; Schaer, Juliane; Puechmaille, Sébastien J.; Sutton, Jack; Dávalos, Liliana M.; Dusabe, Marie-Claire; Ejotre, Imran; Fenton, M. Brock; Knörnschild, Mirjam; López-Baucells, Adrià; Medellin, Rodrigo A.; Metz, Markus; Mubareka, Samira; Nsengimana, Olivier; O'Mara, M. Teague; Racey, Paul A.; Tuttle, Merlin; Twizeyimana, Innocent; Vicente-Santos, Amanda; Tschapka, Marco; Voigt, Christian C.; Wikelski, Martin; Dechmann, Dina K.N.; Reeder, DeeAnn M.
    Africa experiences frequent emerging disease outbreaks among humans, with bats often proposed as zoonotic pathogen hosts. We comprehensively reviewed virus–bat findings from papers published between 1978 and 2020 to evaluate the evidence that African bats are reservoir and/or bridging hosts for viruses that cause human disease. We present data from 162 papers (of 1322) with original findings on (1) numbers and species of bats sampled across bat families and the continent, (2) how bats were selected for study inclusion, (3) if bats were terminally sampled, (4) what types of ecological data, if any, were recorded and (5) which viruses were detected and with what methodology. We propose a scheme for evaluating presumed virus–host relationships by evidence type and quality, using the contrasting available evidence for Orthoebolavirus versus Orthomarburgvirus as an example. We review the wording in abstracts and discussions of all 162 papers, identifying key framing terms, how these refer to findings, and how they might contribute to people's beliefs about bats. We discuss the impact of scientific research communication on public perception and emphasize the need for strategies that minimize human–bat conflict and support bat conservation. Finally, we make recommendations for best practices that will improve virological study metadata.
  • Item
    Assessing the quality of drinking water from selected water sources in Mbarara city, Southwestern Uganda
    (Plos one, 2024-03-28) Abaasa, Catherine N.; Ayesiga, Savino; Lejju, Julius B.; Andama, Morgan; Tamwesigire, Imelda K.; Bazira, Joel; Byarugaba, Frederick
    This study assessed the physical, chemical, and microbiological quality with emphasis on risk score, source apportionment, geochemistry, feacal coliforms and water quality index of drinking water from selected water sources. A cross-sectional study was conducted in six villages in Mbarara city, south-western Uganda. Each selected source was inspected using a WHO-adopted sanitary inspection questionnaire. Each source’s risk score was calculated. Thirty-seven samples were taken from one borehole, nine open dug wells, four rain harvest tanks, and twenty-three taps. The values for apparent color and phosphate were higher than the permissible level as set by the World Health Organization and Ugandan standards (US EAS 12). The isolated organisms were Klebsiella spp. (8.11%), Citrobacter divergens (62.16%), Citrobacter fluendii (2.7%), E. coli (35.14%), Enterobacter aerogenes (8.11%), Enterobacter agglomerus (5.4%), Proteus spp. (2.7%), Enterobacter cloacae (13.5%), and Proteus mirabilis (2.7%). Twelve water sources (32.4%) had water that was unfit for human consumption that was unfit for human consumption (Grade E), Five sources (13.5%) had water that had a very poor index (Grade D), nine (24.3%) had water of poor index (Grade C), eight (21.6%) had water of good water index (Grade B), and only three (8.1%) had water of excellent water quality index (Grade A). The piper trilinear revealed that the dominant water type of the area were Mgso4 and Caso4 type. Gibbs plot represents precipitation dominance. PCA for source apportionment showed that well, tap and borehole water account for the highest variations in the quality of drinking water. These results suggest that drinking water from sources in Mbarara city is not suitable for direct human consumption without treatment. We recommend necessary improvements in water treatment, distribution, and maintenance of all the available water sources in Mbarara City, South Western Uganda.
  • Item
    Agronomic suitability for oil palm growing in Uganda
    (Journal of Agricultural Science, 2024-03-15) Ddamulira, Gabriel; Asiimwe, Alex; Masika, Fred; Amugoli, Moses; Ddumba, Gerald; Maphosa, Mcebisi
    The ever-increasing demand for vegetable oils with its products in Uganda, calls for new areas to be put under oil palm cultivation. A study was conducted to investigate the agronomic suitability of oil palm cultivation in six areas located within a 30 km radius off-shore, on the island and more than 30 km radius off-shore on the mainland. The experiment was superimposed on 45 × 45 m plots in oil palm adaptive trial plantations established in 2008 in Bugiri, Mayuge, Buvuma, Mukono, Kibaale and Masaka districts. The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Data on number of oil palm bunches, bunch weight and yield was collected while climatic data (rainfall, temperature, relative humidity and radiation) was acquired from meteorological stations near the experimental locations. Rainfall data analyzed and dry season duration suggested that Mayuge, Masaka, Mukono, Buvuma and Kibaale were moderately favorable for oil palm growing, while temperature and radiation data indicated that all study locations were suitable for oil palm growing. Furthermore, based on relative humidity, Buvuma, Mayuge and Bugiri were suitable for oil palm cultivation but Kibaale, Masaka and Mukono were moderately suitable. Oil palm yield varied significantly (P < 0.05) across locations. The yield was much greater in Mukono (17.7 t/ha/yr) followed by Buvuma (13.8 t/ha/yr) and Kibaale (12.9 t/ha/yr) then Mayuge (10.7 t/ha/yr), Bugiri (10.2 t/ha/yr), and Masaka (10.3 t/ha/yr). The significantly high yield of oil palm observed in Mukono was attributed to the high rainfall received in this location. Based on research findings, Mukono, Masaka, Bugiri, Buvuma, Kibaale and areas within the 30 km radius of Lake Victoria are agronomically suitable for oil palm cultivation.
  • Item
    Ecological countermeasures to prevent pathogen spillover and subsequent pandemics
    (Springer Nature, 2024-03-26) Plowright, Raina K.; Ahmed, Aliyu N.; Coulson, Tim; Crowther, Thomas W.; Ejotre, Imran; Faust, Christina L.; Frick, Winifred F.; Hudson, Peter J.; Kingston, Tigga; Nameer, P. O.; O’Mara, M. Teague; Peel, AlisonJ.; Possingham, Hugh; Razgour, Orly; Reeder, DeeAnn M.; Ruiz-Aravena, Manuel; Simmons, Nancy B.; Srinivas, Prashanth N.; Tabor, Gary M.; Tanshi, Iroro; Thompson, Ian G.; Vanak, Abi T.; Vora, Neil M.; Willison, Charley E.; Keeley, Annika T. H.
    Substantial global attention is focused on how to reduce the risk of future pandemics. Reducing this risk requires investment in prevention, preparedness, and response. Although preparedness and response have received significant focus, prevention, especially the prevention of zoonotic spillover, remains largely absent from global conversations. This oversight is due in part to the lack of a clear definition of prevention and lack of guidance on how to achieve it. To address this gap, we elucidate the mechanisms linking environmental change and zoonotic spillover using spillover of viruses from bats as a case study. We identify ecological interventions that can disrupt these spillover mechanisms and propose policy frameworks for their implementation. Recognizing that pandemics originate in ecological systems, we advocate for integrating ecological approaches alongside biomedical approaches in a comprehensive and balanced pandemic prevention strategy.
  • Item
    Two‑phase simulation of entropy optimized mixed convection flow of two different shear‑thinning nanomaterials in thermal and mass diffusion systems with Lorentz forces
    (Springer Nature, 2024-01-04) Suresha, S.; Khan, Umair; Soumya, D. O.; Venkatesh, P.; Gasmi, Hatem; Sunitha, M.; Zaib, Aurang; Al‑Naghi, Ahmed; Karoui, Hatem; Ishak, Anuar; Ojok, Walter
    This research compares the momentum, thermal energy, mass diffusion and entropy generation of two shear thinning nanofluids in an angled micro-channel with mixed convection, nonlinear thermal radiation, temperature jump boundary condition and variable thermal conductivity effects. The approach was used to solve the Buongiorno nonlinear governing model. The effect of different parameters on the flow, energy, concentration, and entropy generating fields have been graphically illustrated and explained. The hyperbolic tangent nanoliquid has a better velocity than the Williamson nanofluid. The Williamson nanofluid has higher thermal energy and concentration than the hyperbolic tangent nanoliquid in the microchannel. The Grashof number, both thermal and solutal, increases the fluid flow rate throughout the flow system. The energy of the nanoliquid is reduced by the temperature jump condition, while the energy field of the nanoliquid is enhanced by the improving thermal conductivity value. The nanoliquids concentration rises as the Schmitt number rises. The irreversibility rate of the channel system is maximized by the variable thermal conductivity parameter.
  • Item
    Predicting the thermal distribution in a convective wavy fin using a novel training physics-informed neural network method
    (Springer Nature, 2024-03-25) Chandan, K.; Saadeh, Rania; Qazza, Ahmad; Karthik, K.; Kumar, R. S. Varun; Kumar, R. Naveen; Khan, Umair; Masmoudi, Atef; Abdou, M. Modather M.; Ojok, Walter; Kumar, Raman
    Fins are widely used in many industrial applications, including heat exchangers. They benefit from a relatively economical design cost, are lightweight, and are quite miniature. Thus, this study investigates the influence of a wavy fin structure subjected to convective effects with internal heat generation. The thermal distribution, considered a steady condition in one dimension, is described by a unique implementation of a physics-informed neural network (PINN) as part of machine-learning intelligent strategies for analyzing heat transfer in a convective wavy fin. This novel research explores the use of PINNs to examine the effect of the nonlinearity of temperature equation and boundary conditions by altering the hyperparameters of the architecture. The non-linear ordinary differential equation (ODE) involved with heat transfer is reduced into a dimensionless form utilizing the non-dimensional variables to simplify the problem. Furthermore, Runge–Kutta Fehlberg’s fourth–fifth order (RKF-45) approach is implemented to evaluate the simplified equations numerically. To predict the wavy fin's heat transfer properties, an advanced neural network model is created without using a traditional data-driven approach, the ability to solve ODEs explicitly by incorporating a mean squared error-based loss function. The obtained results divulge that an increase in the thermal conductivity variable upsurges the thermal distribution. In contrast, a decrease in temperature profile is caused due to the augmentation in the convective-conductive variable values.
  • Item
    Genomic characterization of SARS-CoV-2 from Uganda using MinION nanopore sequencing
    (Springer Nature, 2023-11-22) Kia, Praiscillia; Katagirya, Eric; Kakembo, Fredrick Elishama; Adera, Doreen Ato; Nsubuga, Moses Luutu; Yiga, Fahim; Aloyo, Sharley Melissa; Aujat, Brendah Ronah; Anguyo, Denis Foe; Katabazi, Fred Ashaba; Kigozi, Edgar; Joloba, Moses L.; Kateete, David Patrick
    SARS-CoV-2 undergoes frequent mutations, affecting COVID-19 diagnostics, transmission and vaccine efficacy. Here, we describe the genetic diversity of 49 SARS-CoV-2 samples from Uganda, collected during the COVID-19 waves of 2020/2021. Overall, the samples were similar to previously reported SARS-CoV-2 from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The main lineages were AY.46 and A.23, which are considered to be Delta SARS-CoV-2 variants. Further, a total of 268 unique single nucleotide variants and 1456 mutations were found, with more than seventy percent mutations in the ORF1ab and S genes. The most common mutations were 2042C>G (83.4%), 14143C>T (79.5%), 245T>C (65%), and 1129G>T (51%), which occurred in the S, ORF1ab, ORF7a and N genes, respectively. As well, 28 structural variants—21 insertions and 7 deletions, occurred in 16 samples. Our findings point to the possibility that most SARS-CoV-2 infections in Uganda at the time arose from local spread and were not newly imported. Moreover, the relatedness of variants from Uganda and the DRC reflects high human mobility and interaction between the two countries, which is peculiar to this region of the world.
  • Item
    Which stars can form planets: Planetesimal formation at low metallicities
    (EDP Sciences, 2024-01-26) Andama, Geoffrey; Mah, Jingyi; Bitsch, Bertram
    The diversity of exoplanets has been linked to the disc environment in which they form, where the host star metallicity and the formation pathways play a crucial role. In the context of the core accretion paradigm, the initial stages of planet formation require the growth of dust material from micrometre-sized to planetesimal-sized bodies before core accretion can kick in. Although numerous studies have been conducted on planetesimal formation, it is still poorly understood how this process takes place in low-metallicity stellar environments. In this work, we explore how planetesimals are formed in stellar environments with primarily low metallicities. We performed global 1D viscous disc evolution simulations, including the growth of dust particles and the evaporation and condensation of chemical species at ice lines. We followed the formation of planetesimals during disc evolution and tested different metallicities, disc sizes, and turbulent viscosity strengths. We find that at solar and sub-solar metallicities, there is a significant increase in the midplane dust-to-gas mass ratios at the ice lines, but this leads to planetesimal formation only at the water–ice line. In our simulations, [Fe/H] = −0.6 is the lower limit of metallicity for planetesimal formation where a few Earth masses of planetesimals can form. Our results further show that for such extreme disc environments, large discs are more conducive than small discs for forming large amounts of planetesimals at a fixed metallicity because the pebble flux can be maintained for a longer time, resulting in a longer and more efficient planetesimal formation phase. At lower metallicities, planetesimal formation is less supported in quiescent discs compared to turbulent discs, which produce larger amounts of planetesimals, because the pebble flux can be maintained for a longer time. The amount of planetesimals formed at sub-solar metallicities in our simulations places a limit on core sizes that could potentially result only in the formation of super-Earths.
  • Item
    Optimal actuator placement for control of vibrations induced by pedestrian-bridge interactions
    (Mathematics in Applied Sciences and Engineering, 2023-09-03) Arop, Martin; Kasumba, Henry; Kasozi, Juma; Berntsson, Fredrik
    In this paper, an optimal actuator placement problem, with a linear wave equation as the constraint, is considered. In particular, this work presents the framework for finding the best location of actuators depending upon the given initial conditions, and where the dependence on the initial conditions is averaged out. The problem is motivated by the need to control vibrations induced by pedestrian-bridge interactions. An approach based on the shape optimization techniques is used to solve the problem. Specifically, the shape sensitivities involving a cost functional are determined using the averaged adjoint approach. A numerical algorithm based on these sensitivities is used as a solution strategy. Numerical tests illustrate the theoretical results.
  • Item
    Morphological traits of jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.): Indicators of diversity, selection and germplasm dispersion in Uganda
    (Elsevier, 2023-09-15) Nakintu, Justine; Andama, Morgan; Albrecht, Christian; Wangalwa, Raphael; Lejju, Julius B.; Olet, Eunice A.
    Uganda is one of the African countries with increasing production demands of jackfruit since it has gained popularity as a food and nutrition security crop with therapeutic benefits. However, the jackfruit germplasm in Uganda had not been adequately characterized to guide its production and there were reports of farmer-selection against inferior varieties. Therefore, this study comprehensively catalogued the morphological diversity of jackfruit to foster purpose-driven cultivation of jackfruit in Uganda; identified varieties and traits prone to negative selection to guide germplasm conservation efforts and established germplasm dispersion patterns to inform exchange programs of germplasm found suitable for commercial production. This was achieved using 47 qualitative and 30 quantitative traits of 249 jackfruit trees from four ethno-varieties, three administrative regions and three agro-ecological zones analyzed for the Shannon index (H'), coefficient of variation (CV), heritability (H2), and genetic advance as percentage of the mean (GAM). Seed surface color was the most variable qualitative trait (H' = 3.16) and number of fruits per tree (H2 = 99.83) and fruit weight (GCV = 69.45, PCV = 69.76) were the most diverse quantitative traits. Ethno-varieties of low economic value registered low diversity (Serebere: H' = 0.92, Namata: H' = 1.04), depicting negative selection against undesired varieties. The qualitative morphological diversity of jackfruit was highest in the Central region (H' = 1.07) and lowest in Eastern Uganda (H' = 1.02). Given the positive correlation between tree age and trunk circumference (r = 0.99, p = 0.001), the Central region with the oldest trees, largest trunks and samples with associations in Eastern and Western regions, is presumed the center of jackfruit diversity and pioneer of jackfruit cultivation in Uganda. In conclusion, jackfruit diversity in Uganda is still robust despite selection constraints. However, for future jackfruit improvements, it is vital to conserve the less preferred ethno-varieties.
  • Item
    Role of starch in one pot fabrication of mesoporous gamma-alumina with excellent fluoride sorption capacity
    (Elsevier Ltd., 2023-08-28) Ojok, Walter; Moodley, Brenda; Wasswa, John; Ntambi, Emmanuel; Wanasolo, William; Bolender, James
    Green synthesis of mesoporous γ-AƖ2O3, a cutting-edge material for sustainable application in medicine, engineering, energy, and water treatment, is still challenging. Our study used a one-pot strategy for facile synthesis of γ-AƖ2O3 by sol-gel method using starch from cassava waste. AƖ(OH)3 were bound to the O-H groups of the starch molecule to form the AƖ(OH)3-starch complex in a nano-network confined in starch polymer cages. Its calcination at 500 ℃ produced a mesoporous, highly crystalline water stable γ-AƖ2O3 with a pore size of 2.07 nm and an extensive BET surface area (215 cm2/g). Using the response surface methodology (RSM), the as-synthesized γ-AƖ2O3 was optimized for efficient fluoride removal from water. A central composite design (CCD) was used to study the effect of initial fluoride concentration, pH, contact time, and sorbent dose on fluoride removal efficiency and optimization of the process. The relative importance of the sorption process variables to the fluoride removal process was assessed using ANOVA. The quadratic model showed that the predicted response was significantly correlated with the experimental response (R2 = 0.9667), with sorbent dose and pH being the process's most influential factors. Optimum conditions for 93.6% fluoride removal efficiency were sorbent dose of 0.5 g, initial fluoride concentration of 10 mg/L, pH 7, and contact time of 137.5 min. A weakly acidic medium favored fluoride removal from water, while the presence of PO43- and HCO3- retarded the process. The sorption data fitted well in the Langmuir isotherm (0.9783) and pseudo-second-order kinetic model (0.9999), indicative of a chemisorption process. The maximum sorption capacity towards fluoride was 207.5 mg/g. A thermodynamic study indicated that the sorption process was spontaneous and endothermic, with increased randomness at the solid-solution interface. Sorption, desorption, sustainability, and leaching tests showed that the sorbent could be used for sustainable fluoride removal at 8.3 USD/1000 liters of safe drinking water.
  • Item
    Facile synthesis and characterization of multi-walled carbon nanotubes decorated with hydroxyapatite from cattle horns for adsorptive removal of fluoride.
    (Elsevier Ltd., 2023-03-09) Ojok, Walter; Bolender, James P.; Wasswa, John; Ntambi, Emmanuel; Wanasolo, William; Moodley, Brenda
    Developing a new adsorbent for fluoride removal from cattle horn waste materials by a facile chemical method has shown great potential for fluoride removal. This paper reports the synthesis of multi-walled carbon nanotubes decorated with hydroxyapatite from cattle horns (MWCNT-CH) using a facile chemical method. Characterization studies using standard techniques showed that the composite is mesoporous with a rough morphology and contained MWCNTs uniformly encapsulated by the hydroxyapatite forming a crystalline MWCNT-CH composite. Optimization of fluoride adsorption by the as-synthesized composite using Response Surface Methodology (RSM) showed that a maximum fluoride removal efficiency of 80.21% can be attained at initial fluoride concentration = 10 mg/L, pH = 5.25, adsorbent dose = 0.5 g and a contact time of 78 min. ANOVA indicates contribution of the process variables in descending order as pH > contact time > adsorbent dose > initial fluoride concentration. Langmuir isotherm (R2 = 0.9991) best described the process, and the maximum adsorption capacity of fluoride onto the as-synthesized MWCNT-CH composite was 41.7 mg/g. Adsorption kinetics data were best fitted in the pseudo-second-order kinetic model (R2 = 0.9969), indicating chemisorption. The thermodynamic parameter ( H = 13.95 J/mol and S = 65.76 J/mol/K) showed that fluoride adsorption onto the MWCNT-CH composite was a spontaneous, endothermic, and entropy-driving process. Moreover, the adsorption mechanism involves ion exchange, electrostatic interaction, and hydrogen bonding. Fluoride was successfully desorbed (using 0.1 M NaOH) from the composite in four cycles, retaining fluoride removal efficiency in the fourth cycle of 57.3%.
  • Item
    Association between atherogenic index of plasma and prehypertension or hypertension among normoglycemia subjects in a Japan population: a cross-sectional study
    (Springer Nature, 2023-06-29) Tan, Mingjuan; Zhang, Yongliang; Jin, Ling; Wang, Youli; Cui, Weiwei; Lubanga, Nasifu; He, Bangshun
    The atherogenic index of plasma (AIP), consisting of triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is applied to estimate the cardiovascular disease risk. The evidence regarding the association between AIP and prehypertension or hypertension remains inconclusive. This study was conducted to investigate the association of AIP and prehypertension or hypertension in normoglycemic subjects in Japan. In the present cross-sectional study, 15,453 normoglycemic participants aged 18 years or older in Gifu, Japan, were evaluated. The selected participants were separated into four groups in the light of AIP quartiles, ranging from the lowest quartile (Q1) to the highest quartile (Q4). And the association between AIP and prehypertension or hypertension was explored with multivariate logistic regression by gradually adjusting model. Among the 15,453 participants, aged of 43.7 ± 8.9 years, and of whom 45.5% were females, the prevalence rates of prehypertension or hypertension were 27.68% (4,278) and 6.23% (962) respectively. In multivariate logistic regression analyses, participants in the highest AIP quartile had an increase risk in prehypertension and hypertension, compared with participants the lowest one, the odds ratios (OR) were 1.15 (95%CI: 1.00–1.13, P = 0.045) for prehypertension and 1.54 (95%CI:1.16–2.04, P = 0.003) for hypertension after adjusting confounders. In subgroup analyses, the high risk of hypertension was also observed for female participants in the highest AIP quartile (Q4) (OR = 2.19, 95%CI: 1.37–3.49, P = 0.001), especially between the ages of 40 and 60 years (OR = 2.20, 95%CI: 1.24–3.88, P = 0.007). Conclusions Higher AIP is significantly and positively associated with the risk of prehypertension or hypertension in normoglycemic subjects in Gifu, Japan, which was more pronounced in the female population, especially between the years of 40 and 60.
  • Item
    Prognostic role of E2F1 gene expression in human cancer: a meta-analysis
    (BioMed Central, 2023-06-05) Li, Jingjing; Bi, Wen; Lu, Fang; Pan, Bei; Xiong, Mengqiu; Lubanga, Nasifu; Nie, Zhenlin; He, Bangshun
    E2F1 has been confirmed to be highly expressed in a variety of cancers. To better understand the prognostic value of E2F1 in cancer patients, this study was conducted to comprehensively evaluate the prognostic value of E2F1 in cancer according to published data. PubMed, Web of Science and CNKI database were searched until May 31st, 2022 using keywords to retrieve the published essays on the role of E2F1 expression in the prognostic value of cancer. The essays were identified according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The pooled result of the hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval was calculated with Stata17.0 software. A total of 17 articles were included in this study involved in 4481 cancer patients. The pooled results showed that higher E2F1 expression was significantly correlated with unfavorable overall survival (HR = 1.10, I2 = 95.3%, *PHeterogeneity = 0.000) and disease-free survival (HR = 1.41, I2 = 95.2%, *PHeterogeneity = 0.000) of cancer patients. Such a significant association of was maintained subgroup of sample size of patients (> 150: for OS, HR = 1.77, and for DFS, HR = 0.91; or < 150: for OS, HR = 1.93, and for DFS, HR = 4.39), ethnicity (Asian: for OS, HR = 1.65, and for DFS, HR = 1.08; or not Asian: HR = 3.55, and for DFS, HR = 2.87), the data from database (clinical: for OS, HR = 1.24, and for DFS, HR = 1.40; or database: for OS, HR = 2.29, and for DFS, HR = 3.09), paper published year (after 2014: for OS, HR = 1.90;and for DFS,HR = 1.87; or before 2014: for OS, HR = 1.40, and for DFS, HR = 1.22); cancer type (female specific cancer: for OS, HR = 1.41, and for DFS, HR = 0.64; or non-gender specific cancers: for OS, HR = 2.00, and for DFS, HR = 2.95). In addition, according to the database data, we also found that higher E2F1 expression level would lead to worse prognosis of patients, and the results were consistent with the statistical analysis results in the paper.