Friday, January 13, 2012

Biotechnology Mini Project : Potential Oil Cleaning By Using Natural Waste Fiber

The purpose of this study was to understand the absorption capacity of hair comparing with other materials like coconut fiber, banana fiber taken from the  leaves as well as mix of hair with either both and determine which are usable and effective for cleaning-oil operations. Hair, coconut fiber and banana fiber, which are relatively abundant and renewable material has been currently be investigated and be used as adsorbents to remove the contamination of oil from water. 
The hair was collected from salons and has been cleaned and chosen properly as it might be contaminated with hair products for example hair dye. Coconut fibers was extracted from the its shell and be shredded to small parts, same goes with banana fiber which was taken from the middle of the leaves part, blended and dried for a while.  A comparison was made between sorbents: hair, hair mix with coconut fiber, hair mix with banana fiber, banana fiber and coconut fiber and their sorption ability was studied. The absorbents were tested with vegetable oil (palm oil) and petroleum oil (motor oil / 4T oil). 
Banana Fiber Structure
The tests proved that there are differences between sorption ability of sorbents and their effectiveness towards different types of oil. In this study, hair posses the best absorbent for palm oil test and when combined with coconut fiber, works best for motor oil as well. The least was banana fiber.

Towards the End of Semester 5

It's been awhile i haven't updating the blog. Only few days left, before i ended my fifth semester here in UPSI. So, in the mean time, i will update with all the things that i had worked out, throughout the semester.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Reflection on Problem-Based Learning In Animal Physiology

          First and foremost, what I felt for this PBL we had done was interesting and stimulates my interest to seek knowledge and information to be shared with my fellow mates. Furthermore, I also able to understand more our study case that involved our main topic to be discussed which is the sensory system a part from extra ideas of other topics for instance, immunity and nervous system. Next, our group organization consisted of a leader, a secretary which is me and also a treasurer. We made our several ground rules and everybody seems had given fully cooperative along our meetings. Everyone had given their very best and I praised for my mates for their efforts to make us understand the situations and find solutions a part from sharing views and knowledge as well. Next, floating facilitations was done by our lecturer as we all had formed many groups in a class which every group would present their findings to be shared. 
So far, I understand the need of this kind of facilitation as it is much easier for the lecturer to handle many groups in a time without neglecting every member of the class  as the lecturer will go to each groups to assess and assist everybody to understand the problem. Problems that I encountered for example, I don’t have a clear view on some of the learning issues or during synthesis session, I seek for it through the internet and books first. After that, I shared my inquiries and prior knowledge with my mates and we discussed together among us.  If we do not managed to get the solutions together, we will asked the other groups opinions and if still unclear, then we should consult with our lecturer, but so far, my group able to make our own solutions together. Last but not least, I enjoyed this PBL session and I appreciate everybody who contribute this and shared knowledge with me and others as well.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Osmotic and Ionic Tolerance in Artemia : Our Group's Lab Questions and Answer

Part 1

1)      While the brine-shrimp cannot survive in freshwater (do your data agree?), they can adapt to media which vary from about 1/10 sea water to saturated brine (published data).  Explain, explicitly, the osmoregulatory mechanism(s) they posses to deal with such extreme environments or propose what mechanism would work.

Our data agrees that the brine-shrimp unable to sustain in freshwater. But the can adapt to such extreme environment high to saturated brine. They can tolerate varying levels of salinity. Brine shrimp are able to regulate the amount of salt they allowed to enter their body tissues with the help from their skin lining of the stomach, and the gills. The outer layer of shrimp is impermeable to water; instead the salt water will enter during feeding via the mouth. As the shrimp ingest water, it is absorbed through the stomach lining. Salt will then be pumped out from the gills, other than going through the digestive tract. Other than that, the neck gland is also thought to be as a salt pump, specially vital in immature shrimp when other excretory organs are under-developed. Brine shrimp use these two pumps to maintain a relatively stable salt concentration within their bodies one during the surrounding water is highly salty, the pumps work harder and have a higher output. And when the surrounding water is less saline, the pumps slow in order to retain some salts within the shrimp.

2)      Many animals that conform to the osmolarity of its surroundings may still regulate its internal composition of ions.  Why do they have to do this?

Whenever animals sustain an osmolarity difference between the body and the external surroundings, osmoregulation has an energy cost. Other than that, most animals whether they are osmoconformers or osmoregulators, they cannot tolerate substantial changes in external osmolarity and is considered as stenohaline. A part from that, for instance most marine invertebrates are osmoconformers which their osmolarity is the same as seawater. However, they are difference in considerably from seawater in their concentrations of most specific solutes.

Part 2
1)      What are your conclusions regarding the tolerance of fish to variations in ionic composition as compared to osmotic pressure of its's environment?

The osmotic pressure and ionic composition can be differs from the environment it be put. Even in concentrated media, the haemolymph osmotic pressure can be less that of typical invertebrates in sea water. This will enable the animal to colonize in an extreme condition.

2)      What are important physiological characteristics of the ions that resulted in increased death of the animals that could account for this activity?

It is prove that, artemia only sustain in potassium salt for less than two days. Recent studies states that potassium ion has high toxicity to Artemia. Eventhough, the brine shrimp able to live over a wide concentration range, it does not mean it is not senstitive towards chemical and ionic composition of its environment. Prolonged survival is only possible in media where sodium ion predominate. A part from that, certain ion or substance are found to be highly toxic. Besides, high toxicity of potassium ions can be antagonized by sodium ions.

References  :
1.      The Survival of Artemia salina in Various Media by P.C Croghan , Deaprtment of Zoology, University of Cambridge (July10,1957)
2.      The Osmotic And Ionic Regulation of Artemia salina by P.C Croghan , Deaprtment of Zoology, University of Cambridge (July10,1957)
3.      The Mechanism of Osmotic Regulation in Artemia salina : The Physiology of The Branchiae by P.C Croghan , Deaprtment of Zoology, University of Cambridge (July10,1957)
Web sites
1.      Brine Shrimp: How Do They Survive In Such Extreme Environment? (March 12, 2011)
2.      Course Notes : Chapter 44 – Osmoregulation and Excretion ( March 12, 2011)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Learning Journey ( Regarding Science and Ecological Concept )

As far as I remember, my very own first ecological concept that I encountered was from a nursery rhyme that I always kept singing it. The song entitled ‘Bangau oh Bangau. Actually, the concept of this song mainly is about food chain where it all started when why does the egret (bangau) is so thin. This is because of it did not gets its’ fish. Then, the fish said that the grass is so long that it cannot be at the surface as the buffalo does not eat the grass. The buffalo then says that it has stomachache due to eating raw rice. The rice continues the rhyme saying that the fire does not lit due to the wood is wet. The flow goes on with wood blaming the rain. Eventually, the chain ends when the snake tells us that the frog who call upon the rain, is its food. Although, the rhyme does not so directly focusing on a food chain, but somehow, when I was little I could imagine that there are relationships among the characters involved. Other than that, I also enjoyed watching Captain Planet and the Planeteers which was on air on TV2 if I am not mistaken. It was an environmentally animated series.I find it was interesting with its characters like Captain Planet which always saves the Earth from destruction done by Eco-Villains and Captain Pollution. Captain Planet is supported by a group of teenagers which are the chosen Planeteers. Somehow, though I was so small at that time I could understand the bad effects of pollution and damages to Earth will affects the whole living matters.

Then, my learning journey continues to the next level. When I was in my primary years in SK Convent Butterworth especially during year Four, Five and Six, I really love Science subject a lot as during that time, the subject only be taught starting standard four. I enjoyed studying life matters as I was very keen to be a doctor that time which I never thought to be more challenging that I could barely imagine during my childhood. Because of my love towards Science, I had involved many activities that my Science teacher organized though some of my fellow friends did not show any interest to it. My understanding on food chain’s concept begins to develop when I was initially being introduced with that term during those years in primary school. My teacher proposed the song back, and I was able to recalled and relate the song which I used to sang before with new understanding about food chain. A part from that, I still remember when there was an event where ‘’Eco Friends’’ mascots which I am unable to memorize their names, came to our school to promote Environmental and Earth’s Day. A part from being excited to meet those fancy mascots, they gave us a talk on our natural ecosystem that had been disturbed by vigorous human activities. The consequences when one part of the ecosystem been destroyed or harmed would eventually affect the whole ecosystem. For instance, the excessive poaching tigers for their skins as such, may reduce the quantity of it and hence, brought impacts toward the food cycle.

Our field trip to Cameron Highlands
Then, as I continued my secondary level studies in SMS Tun Syed Sheh Shahabudin , I began to open my mind towards the surrounding and alert with environmental issues. During lower forms, food chain concept that I achieved previously had widen to food web where many food chains correlates in a huge relationship until reach to humans which is usually on top of the ranking as humans are the fittest organism. Then, further to upper forms, I started to understand the flows f energy and its cycles in every food chain. The energy circulates and cycles around us. Other than that, I also had been introduced with terms like niche, ecosystem, interaction and much more. During my secondary years that I managed to harvest inputs and basic knowledge regarding ecology especially during Biology subject.

Our Biology Lab Session
The journey goes on as I further to Perlis Matriculation College. To be honest, during secondary years the loves towards Biology especially in upper forms begins to reduce as I rarely understand with my teacher’s teaching. But, things get different as I stepped into my Biology’s lecture where my lecturer really taught us Biology in a fun and humorous way. For ecology chapter, my lecturer did stressed on it compare during secondary years. From here, I now knew about biomes, first and second thermodynamic law, tropic structures and so on.

Biodiversity's Symposium
I further my higher studies here in UPSI. But, it does not means that my learning journey ends here. Instead, the journey is just newly begun as I entered my ecological class. Base on my prior knowledge during years behind, I began to diverge my thoughts and views. I now, understand that there are many subs under ecology for instance like quantitative ecology, population ecology, as well as behavioral ecology. Together with my fellow team mates, we proposed and started a mini project about water quality. A part from that, me and my classmates as well had field trips and formed realistic investigation on behaviors as well as population ecology. Other than that, I also understand there many sampling methods can be done other than just quadrat which I had never did it before as my teachers and lecturers before just thought us theoretically , we did not have chances to performed it. On top of that as well, the na├»ve understanding of food chain from ‘Bangau oh Bangau’ develops at its most. In a food chain, there are preys and predators, decomposers, first, second consumers and so on, producer, as well as energy flows. From a food chain, combines with others will form food web where there are many relationships and correlations in a community.

Overall, I actually did not realize that ecology in me had started long before I studied it. From little, we had been exposed with its concept without noticing it correlates with what we are focusing and studying now. In a nutshell, I hope my learning journey does not stops here, instead develops more and more as learning is a continues study throughout our life time.