Publications by authors named "Abdul Rehman"

267 Publications

The Host Range and Risk Assessment of the Stem-Boring Weevil, (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) Proposed for the Biological Control of (Asteraceae) in Pakistan.

Insects 2021 May 17;12(5). Epub 2021 May 17.

Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), Opposite 1-A, Data Gunj Baksh Road Satellite Town, Rawalpindi 43600, Pakistan.

Parthenium, or , has extended its range in Pakistan throughout Punjab and into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Sindh Provinces. Without control measures against parthenium, the negative impacts of this weed will go unchecked having deleterious effects on native biodiversity, human and animal health, as well as crop productivity. The weevil was obtained and imported from the Plant Health and Protection of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC-PHP), in Cedara, South Africa, in April 2019. A total of 22 plant species or cultivars in the Asteraceae family were assessed during no-choice oviposition tests in Pakistan. During these tests, the only plant species accepted for oviposition were the 10 cultivars of that are grown in Pakistan. All cultivars were thus tested for development of from egg to adult. Only three cultivars were able to support some larval development, but at such low levels that it is unlikely to be the basis of a viable population. To support this, a risk assessment was conducted to ascertain the probability of being able to sustain viable populations in the field, the results of which concur with native (Argentina) and introduced (Australia) field host-range information where has never been recorded as a pest of sunflowers. The results of laboratory-based host-range trials, together with host records from its native and introduced range, indicate that is sufficiently specific to parthenium and is thus suitable for release in Pakistan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/insects12050463DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8156606PMC
May 2021

An asymmetrical analysis to explore the dynamic impacts of CO emission to renewable energy, expenditures, foreign direct investment, and trade in Pakistan.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 May 25. Epub 2021 May 25.

Faculty of Tourism, Anadolu University, Eskişehir, Turkey.

Carbon dioxide emission and GHGs are associated with fossil fuels which have adverse effects on the environment. The key intention of this paper was to determine the asymmetric effect of CO emission on expenditures, trade, FDI, and renewable energy consumption in Pakistan. An asymmetrical technique (nonlinear autoregressive distributed lag) was employed to validate the constructive and adverse relation among variables. Furthermore, the Granger causality test was also used to verify the unidirectional association amid variables. Study outcomes revealed that the adverse shocks of renewable energy consumption exposed expressively to upsurge CO emission in the short-run dynamics. Conversely, constructive shocks of renewable energy consumption display an adversative association with CO emission. Furthermore, the decreasing trend in foreign direct investment tends to impede the detrimental effects of CO emission. Additionally, the variable expenditures also create the non-eco-friendly impacts and manifest the positive linkage through CO emission. Trade possesses statistically insignificant linkage with environmental degradation. The results also disclose that positive as well as negative variations in the foreign direct investment expose to degrade the environmental eminence. Long-run results suggest the direct association between downward trend in renewable energy consumption and CO emission signifying that the pollution level decreases, and the upward trend in renewable energy consumption, however, demonstrates insignificantly positive effects. The results also disclose that positive as well as negative variations in the FDI lead to degrade the CO emission. Moreover, it is found that the expenditures soar the issue of pollution again in the long run. Finally, the consequence of trade on CO emission is adverse, as the outcome suggests. In order to improve the environmental policies for sustainable growth, the study provides direction toward a sustainable environment by reducing carbon dioxide emission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-14537-7DOI Listing
May 2021

Aerosol-assisted nanostructuring of nickel/cobalt oxide thin films for viable electrochemical hydrazine sensing.

Analyst 2021 May;146(10):3317-3327

Department of Chemistry, College of Science, University of Hafr Al Batin, PO Box 1803, Hafr Al Batin, 39524, Saudi Arabia.

Herein, we report the fabrication of NiO-CoO films for the electrochemical detection of hydrazine. An electrochemical sensor was devised where aerosol assisted chemical vapor deposition (AACVD) was employed as a nifty method for synthesizing NiO-CoO films over FTO electrodes. NiO-CoO-nanoparticle (NP) and NiO-CoO-nanowall (NW) films were fabricated over FTO substrates. The electrocatalytic analysis was performed in a standard three-electrode electrochemical setup. NiO-CoO-NW/FTO showed enhanced electro-oxidation for hydrazine at all concentrations tested. XRD, XPS, EDX, and FE-SEM techniques were used to characterize the structural, morphological, and elemental properties of NiO-CoO films. The results showed improved sensitivity, a large dynamic range, and good long-term stability of NiO-CoO-NW films. The amperometric response was used to measure the detection limit, and it was as low as 0.01 μM, and the sensitivity is ∼33 μA μM-1 cm-2. Besides, the NiO-CoO-NW/FTO electrodes showed significant selectivity towards hydrazine upon testing cross-sensitivity to other common interfering molecules. This strategy of using NiO-CoO-NW/FTO electrodes prepared via AACVD has great potential for the direct determination of hydrazine in environmental sensing applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d1an00222hDOI Listing
May 2021

Genome wide identification, classification and functional characterization of heat shock transcription factors in cultivated and ancestral cottons (Gossypium spp.).

Int J Biol Macromol 2021 May 7;182:1507-1527. Epub 2021 May 7.

Zhengzhou Research Base, State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450000, China; State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Institute of Cotton Research Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Anyang 455000, Henan, China. Electronic address:

Heat shock transcription factors (HSF) have been demonstrated to play a significant transcriptional regulatory role in plants and considered as an integral part of signal transduction pathways against environmental stresses especially heat stress. Despite of their importance, HSFs have not yet been identified and characterized in all cotton species. In this study, we report the identification of 42, 39, 67, and 79 non-redundant HSF genes from diploid cottons G. arboreum (A2) and G. raimondii (D5), and tetraploid cottons G. barbadense (AD2) and G. hirsutum (AD1) respectively. The chromosome localization of identified HSFs revealed their random distribution on all the 13 chromosomes of A and D genomes of cotton with few regions containing HSFs in clusters. The genes structure and conserved domain analysis revealed the family-specific conservation of intron/exon organization and conserved domains in HSFs. Various abiotic stress-related cis-regulatory elements were identified from the putative promoter regions of cotton HSFs suggesting their possible role in mediating abiotic stress tolerance. The combined phylogenetic analysis of all the cotton HSFs grouped them into three subfamilies; with 145 HSFs belong to class A, 85 to class B, and 17 to class C subfamily. Moreover, a detailed analysis of HSF gene family in four species of cotton elucidated the role of allopolyploid and hybridization during evolutionary cascade of allotetraploid cotton. Comparatively, existence of more orthologous genes in cotton species than Arabidopsis, advocated that polyploidization produced new cotton specific orthologous gene clusters. Phylogenetic, collinearity and multiple synteny analyses exhibited dispersed, segmental, proximal, and tandem gene duplication events in HSF gene family. Duplication of gene events suggests that HSF gene family of cotton evolution was under strong purifying selection. Expression analysis revealed that GarHSF04 were found to be actively involved in PEG and salinity tolerance in G. arboreum. GhiHSF14 upregulated in heat and downregulated in salinity whilst almost illustrated similar behavior under cold and PEG treatments and GhiHSF21 exhibited down regulation almost across all the stresses in G. hirsutum. Overwhelmingly, present study paves the way to better understand the evolution of cotton HSF TFs and lays a foundation for future investigation of HSFs in improving abiotic stress tolerance in cotton.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.05.016DOI Listing
May 2021

Estimating the connection of information technology, foreign direct investment, trade, renewable energy and economic progress in Pakistan: evidence from ARDL approach and cointegrating regression analysis.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 May 8. Epub 2021 May 8.

Faculty of Tourism, Anadolu University, Eskişehir, Turkey.

The present study aims to investigate the effects of information and communication technology, foreign direct investment, trade and renewable energy use with GDP growth in Pakistan using time series data ranging from 1985 to 2017. Stationarity of data was verified by using unit root tests including ADF and P-P, while an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) model was used to check the dynamic association amid prescribed variables with long- and short-run analysis. Furthermore, cointegrating regression analysis with FMOLS, DOLS and CCR was applied to validate the variables causality. The outcomes during long-run analysis show that ICTE, trade and renewable energy have constructive linkage to GDP growth, while foreign direct investment has adverse influence to GDP growth in Pakistan. Similarly, the outcomes from cointegrating regression technique exposed that all variables including foreign direct investment, ICTE and trade have positive and constructive association with GDP growth except renewable energy that causes the adverse association to GDP growth in Pakistan. On the basis of outcomes, we will discuss the policy recommendations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-14303-9DOI Listing
May 2021

Heavy Metal Tolerance Trend in Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase Encoding Strains Recovered from Food Samples.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 04 28;18(9). Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of the Punjab, Lahore 54590, Pakistan.

This study evaluates bacteriological profiles in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods and assesses antibiotic resistance, extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production by gram-negative bacteria, and heavy metal tolerance. In total, 436 retail food samples were collected and cultured. The isolates were screened for ESBL production and molecular detection of ESBL-encoding genes. Furthermore, all isolates were evaluated for heavy metal tolerance. From 352 culture-positive samples, 406 g-negative bacteria were identified. Raw food samples were more often contaminated than refined food (84.71% vs. 76.32%). The predominant isolates were ( = 76), ( = 58), and ( = 56). Overall, the percentage of ESBL producers was higher in raw food samples, although higher occurrences of ESBL-producing ( = 0.01) and ( = 0.02) were observed in processed food samples. However, the prevalence of ESBL-producing in raw food samples was high ( = 0.03). Among the isolates, 55% were , 26% were , and 19% were . Notably, heavy metal resistance was highly prevalent in ESBL producers. These findings demonstrate that retail food samples are exposed to contaminants including antibiotics and heavy metals, endangering consumers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094718DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8124721PMC
April 2021

Do industrialization, energy importations, and economic progress influence carbon emission in Pakistan.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Apr 21. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Cag University, 33800, Mersin, Turkey.

The largest challenge still remains in enhancing the living conditions and economic progress, while growing the environmental footprint is related to energy. The move towards renewable sources means that energy utilization can be increased and environmental impacts reduced. The key purpose of the present analysis was to investigate the CO2 emissions interaction to industrialization, energy imports, carbon intensity, economic progress, and gross capital formation by using time span data ranging from 1971 to 2019. Variable stationarity was confirmed by utilizing the unit root tests, while quantile regression analysis was utilized to check the CO2 emission influence on the independent variables. Outcomes showed that industrialization has constructive influence with CO2 emission having coefficient (0.161636) with probability value (0.0000). Similarly the variable energy imports, carbon intensity, and gross capital formation have positive coefficients (0.206843), (0.895212), and (0.442922) with probability values (0.2171), (0.0004), and (0.0002) correspondingly that exposed the positive interaction with CO2 emission in Pakistan. The variable economic progress exposed an adverse impact to CO2 emission with having coefficient (-0.002841) with probability value (0.8795). In directive to improve the economic progress, the government of Pakistan should take future action to minimize carbon dioxide emission from different sectors that cause the climate change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-13916-4DOI Listing
April 2021

Association between Intercanine Width and Mandibular Dental Arch Forms.

J Coll Physicians Surg Pak 2021 Apr;30(4):478-480

Department of Orthodontics, Karachi Medical and Dental College, Karachi, Pakistan.

A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the association between intercanine width and the mandibular arch form in 109 dentate subjects, who visited Orthodontics Department from October 2018 to December 2019. Using Vernier caliper, the intercanine width was measured as the distance between the left and right canines on each cast with the arch form, also categorized as tapered, square or ovoid, using predefined criteria. Spearman's rank correlation demonstrated highly significant association between intercanine width and mandibular dental arch forms, with p value of 0.005. Key Words: Dentate subjects, Mandibular arch forms, Inter-canine width, Sexual dimorphism, Mandibular dental cast.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.29271/jcpsp.2021.04.478DOI Listing
April 2021

Geochemical fractionation and spectroscopic fingerprinting for evaluation of the environmental transformation of potentially toxic metal(oid)s in surface-subsurface soils.

Environ Geochem Health 2021 Apr 15. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Sustainable Development Study Centre, Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan.

The contamination of soil by toxic metal(oid)s has emerged as a major concern worldwide, particularly in developing countries. A metals behavior in the soil environment is influenced by organic matter, mineral phases, and oxidation states in which a particular metal exists. However, the spectroscopic evidence of metal(oid)s interactions in soil with organic matter and mineral phases can induce an extensive understanding. The surface and sub-surface soils (0-50 cm) from four sites of upper Indus basin, Pakistan, were collected and analyzed by using FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy), XRD (X-ray diffraction) and XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) in addition to ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) and geochemical fractionation. Geochemical fractionation of metal(oid)s indicated that As, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn were mostly found in the potentially bioavailable fractions. However, an increase in the residual fraction was observed from top to bottom. The absorption bands of FTIR spectra were divided into three spectral regions 700-400, 1700-800, and 3700-2800 cm. The soil was found rich in organic matter and capable of retaining metals as abundant peaks were observed in the mid-infrared region. The mineralogical analysis of soil samples testified silicon oxides and zeolite as major mineral phases. The XPS spectra showed broad peaks of As(III), AsO, AsS, PbO, and PbCo. The study concludes that the source identification of metal(oid)s in the upper Indus is crucial to find out the particular source of contamination in the soil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10653-021-00932-zDOI Listing
April 2021

State-of-the-art IoV trust management a meta-synthesis systematic literature review (SLR).

PeerJ Comput Sci 2020 14;6:e334. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Computing Fundamental Department, FPT University, Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, Hanoi, Vietnam.

In the near future, the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) is foreseen to become an inviolable part of smart cities. The integration of vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs) into the IoV is being driven by the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and high-speed communication. However, both the technological and non-technical elements of IoV need to be standardized prior to deployment on the road. This study focuses on trust management (TM) in the IoV/VANETs/ITS (intelligent transport system). Trust has always been important in vehicular networks to ensure safety. A variety of techniques for TM and evaluation have been proposed over the years, yet few comprehensive studies that lay the foundation for the development of a "standard" for TM in IoV have been reported. The motivation behind this study is to examine all the TM models available for vehicular networks to bring together all the techniques from previous studies in this review. The study was carried out using a systematic method in which 31 papers out of 256 research publications were screened. An in-depth analysis of all the TM models was conducted and the strengths and weaknesses of each are highlighted. Considering that solutions based on AI are necessary to meet the requirements of a smart city, our second objective is to analyze the implications of incorporating an AI method based on "context awareness" in a vehicular network. It is evident from mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) that there is potential for context awareness in ad hoc networks. The findings are expected to contribute significantly to the future formulation of IoVITS standards. In addition, gray areas and open questions for new research dimensions are highlighted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj-cs.334DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7924676PMC
December 2020

Comparison of High-Resolution Computed Tomography and Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction in Diagnosis of COVID-19 Pneumonia in Intensive Care Unit Population.

Cureus 2021 Feb 28;13(2):e13602. Epub 2021 Feb 28.

Medicine, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi, PAK.

Introduction The efficacy of high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) chest in common respiratory infections is well-established; however, its use in the diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia is less popular. The previous studies have failed to establish the efficacy of HRCT in the diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia. Objective The current study aimed to assess the efficacy of HRCT as compared to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in diagnosing COVID-19 pneumonia in patients in our setting. Methodology A prospective observational study was conducted at the Department of Chest Medicine, Shifa International Hospital from April 2020 to December 2020. A total of 250 patients were admitted to medical intensive care units. Findings of HRCT and PCR were documented. The accuracy of HRCT compared with PCR was assessed. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 24 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY). Results COVID-19 infection was more prevalent in male patients (62.8% vs 37.2%). The mean age was 60 years (interquartile range, IQR, 49-72). Sensitivity and specificity of HRCT segregated into typical, indeterminate, and atypical HRCT were (94.8%, 56.8%), (92.7%, 47.2%), and (91.7%, 76.8%), respectively. The positive predictive value for typical HRCT was 84.3% (p≤0.001). Conclusion We concluded that typical HRCT findings have diagnostic utility in the diagnosis of COVID pneumonia. Similarly, a negative HRCT chest reliably excludes the possibility of COVID pneumonia. HRCT chest is a reliable alternative to RT-PCR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.13602DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8008368PMC
February 2021

An Epidemiological Survey Regarding Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases among Livestock Owners in Punjab, Pakistan: A One Health Context.

Pathogens 2021 Mar 18;10(3). Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Public Health, Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.

Recent global changes have led to an increase in the spread of ticks and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) affecting domestic ruminants and humans, with an annual loss of US $13.9-$18.7 billion. The current study determined the perception and practices of livestock farmers regarding tick infestation. A total of 112 livestock farms were surveyed in Punjab, Pakistan, among which animals from 42 (37.5%) farms were infested with ticks. Only 28.6% ( = 32) of the dairy farmers were consulting veterinarians for ticks control, while 86.7% ( = 97) of the respondents did not consider biosecurity measures in the control of tick transmission. Most of the respondents, 71.4% ( = 80), did not consider manual tick removal from their animals (i.e., by hand, followed by physically crushing) as a risky practice for spreading zoonotic diseases. Improper disposal of bottles of acaricides in the farm drainage was also observed, putting the environment and aquatic life at risk. These wrong practices may contribute to high disease burdens and economic losses, increasing the possibility of transmission of zoonotic TBDs and pollution of the environment. Therefore, an integrated One Health approach is required for the control of TBDs through environmentally friendly approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10030361DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8003106PMC
March 2021

Green Synthesis of Nickel Oxide Nanoparticles from Stem for Investigating Bioactivities.

Molecules 2021 Mar 11;26(6). Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad 45320, Pakistan.

Green synthesis of nanomaterials is advancing due to its ease of synthesis, inexpensiveness, nontoxicity and renewability. In the present study, an eco-friendly biogenic method was developed for the green synthesis of nickel oxide nanoparticles (NiONPs) using phytochemically rich stem (BBS) extract. The BBS extract was rich in phenolics, flavonoids and berberine. These phytochemicals successfully reduced and stabilised the NiNO (green) into NiONPs (greenish-gray). BBS-NiONPs were confirmed by using UV-visible spectroscopy (peak at 305 nm), X-ray diffraction (size of 31.44 nm), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (identified -OH group and Ni-O formation), energy dispersive spectroscopy (showed specified elemental nature) and scanning electron microscopy (showed rhombohedral agglomerated shape). BBS-NiONPs were exposed to multiple in vitro bioactivities to ascertain their beneficial biological applications. They exhibited strong antioxidant activities: total antioxidant capacity (64.77%) and 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (71.48%); and cytotoxic potential: Brine shrimp cytotoxicity assay with IC (10.40 µg/mL). BBS-NiONPs restricted the bacterial and fungal pathogenic growths at 1000, 500 and 100 µg/mL. Additionally, BBS-NiONPs showed stimulatory efficacy by enhancing seed germination rate and seedling growth at 31.25 and 62.5 µg/mL. In aggregate, BBS extract has a potent antioxidant activity which makes the green biosynthesis of NiONPs easy, economical and safe. The biochemical potential of BBS-NiONPs can be useful in various biomedical and agricultural fields.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules26061548DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999609PMC
March 2021

First Record of Chaetomium globosum Causing Leaf Spot of Pomegranate in Pakistan.

Plant Dis 2021 Mar 31. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Lahore, Pakistan;

Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is a non-climacteric and a favorite fruit of tropical, sub-tropical and arid regions of the world. During a survey in autumn 2019, leaf lesions were observed on plants (cv. Kandhari) in different orchards of Muzaffargarh (30°4'27.7572″ N, 71°11'4.7544″ E), a major pomegranate-producing region in Punjab Province. Disease incidence ranged from 17 to 20%. Leaf lesions were initially small (1 to 3 mm in diameter), round, purple or reddish-brown, scattered spots. At later stages, spots increased in size and the centers of mature lesions became dark red or black with fungal sporulation. To isolate the pathogen, samples of leaf (5 × 5 mm) were cut from the junction of diseased and healthy tissue, surface disinfected in 75% alcohol for 30 s, sterilized with 6% sodium hypochlorite for 3 min, washed with sterile distilled water three times, air dried in laminar flow hood, and cultured on potato dextrose agar (PDA). After one week of incubation at 25 ± 2°C with a 12-h photoperiod, fungal colonies developed, which were initially white and became pale yellow with olivaceous green mycelium after 20 days. On PDA, ascomata were olivaceous green, with a papillate ostiole, globose or ovoidal to obovoidal (155 to 220 × 120 to 240 µm, n=50). Terminal and lateral setae were abundant, brown, and tapering toward the tips (4 to 6 µm, n=50). Asci were greenish and lemon-shaped (6 to 8 × 9 to 13.5 µm, n=50). Ascospores were limoniform and olivaceous gray-brown (10 to 11.5 × 7 to 9 µm, n=50). These morphological characteristics were consistent with the morphology of Chaetomium globosum (Lan et al. 2011; Wang et al. 2016). Genomic DNA was extracted from two isolates and identification of the pathogen was confirmed by amplification and sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) and the partial translation elongation factor 1-α (TEF1) gene using ITS1/ITS4 (White et al. 1999) and EF1-983F/EF1-2218R primers (Wang et al. 2016), respectively. The sequences of the PCR products were deposited in GenBank with accession numbers MW522514, MW522352 (ITS), and MW530423, MW530424 (TEF1). BLAST results of the obtained sequences of the ITS and TEF1 genes revealed 100% (513/513 bp) and 99.78% (927/929 bp) similarity with those of C. globosum in GenBank (ITS: KX834823 and KT898637, and TEF1: MG812564 and KC485028). To confirm pathogenicity, inoculum was prepared by harvesting conidia from 10-day-old culture grown in PDA. The surface-disinfected (70% ethyl alcohol, 30 s) leaves of ten 1-year-old seedlings (cv. Kandhari) were sprayed with a spore suspension (1×106 conidia/ml). Leaves of ten seedlings sprayed with sterile distilled water served as controls. All seedlings were covered with plastic bags and placed in a greenhouse at 26°C with 12 h photoperiod. After eight days, symptoms on inoculated leaves were similar to those observed in the orchards; no symptoms were observed on controls. The fungus was reisolated from all symptomatic tissues. C. globosum has been reported on Punica granatum (Guo et al. 2015), Cannabis sativa (Chaffin et al. 2020) and Brassica oleracea (Zhu et al. 2020). This is the first report of C. globosum causing leaf spot on pomegranate in Pakistan. This finding suggests a potential threat to pomegranate production in Pakistan and further studies should focus on effective prevention and control practices of this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-01-21-0200-PDNDOI Listing
March 2021

Exploring the dynamic interaction of CO2 emission on population growth, foreign investment, and renewable energy by employing ARDL bounds testing approach.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Mar 23. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

College of Economics and Management, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

Greenhouse gases are considered an immense threat for the environment and humanity on the planet, and also cause the climatic change. The present analysis key aim was to explore the effect of CO2 emission on foreign investment, renewable energy utilization, and population growth in Pakistan. The ARDL bounds testing technique was applied to investigate the variables' interaction via short- and long-run analysis. Furthermore, pairwise Granger causality method was also utilized to check the causal relation amid the study variables. Outcomes expose that CO2 emission has an adverse interaction with renewable energy with probability value (0.5497), while the variable foreign investment and population growth exposed a constructive association with carbon dioxide emission with probability values (0.3548) and (0.4217) consistently. Similarly, the results through long-run analysis expose that CO2 emission has an adverse influence to renewable energy usage with P-value (0.4646). Moreover, the results also uncovered that foreign investment and population growth has positive interaction with CO2 emission and having probability values (0.3577) and (0.5715). Solid steps are required from the Pakistani government regarding the demonization of CO2 emission in order to upsurge the economic progress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-13502-8DOI Listing
March 2021

First Record of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides Causing Anthracnose of Banana in Pakistan.

Plant Dis 2021 Mar 17. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Lahore, Pakistan;

Banana (Musa spp.) is one of the most widely grown and consumed fruits in Pakistan and all around the world due to their distinct aroma and taste. In 2018, anthracnose symptoms were observed on banana fruit harvested from different plantations of Sindh- a major banana producing Province of Pakistan. Approximately, 25% of banana fruit collected from different plantations were infected. The symptoms consisted of small brown to reddish-brown spots on the fruit surface and then became sunken lesions as the disease progressed. To identify the pathogen, infected tissues (5 mm in diameter) from the margin of the lesions were surface sterilized by dipping in 1% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) for 2 min, 70% ethanol for 30 s, and then rinsed twice with sterile distilled water, plated onto potato dextrose agar (PDA), and incubated at 27°C for 5 days with 12 h light and darkness cycle. Colonies with a similar pattern were consistently isolated and all colonies were sub-cultured using the single-spore method. Colonies first appeared with white colored mycelium and later turned to dark gray. Conidia produced in acervuli were cylindric, hyaline, straight, and aseptate, with both ends rounded. Conidia measured 14.0 ± 0.5 × 3.4 ± 0.6 μm. Conidiomata were dark brown and spherical. On the basis of morphological characterization, the pathogen was identified as Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (Penz.) Penz. & Sacc. (Weir et al. 2012). Two independent isolates (PDL2031 and PDL2032) were used for further genetic analysis. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and chitin synthase 1 (CHS-1) gene were amplified from genomic DNA using primer pairs of ITS1/ITS4 and CHS-79F/CHS-345R, respectively (White et al. 1990; Damm et al. 2012). The GenBank accession numbers (MW493198, MW504711 for ITS and MW530421, MW530422 for CHS-1) of the sequences exhibited 99% to 100% identity to multiple sequences of C. gloeosporioides. To conduct a pathogenicity test, 10 healthy fruits were selected and surface sterilized with 70% ethanol followed by a wash of sterilized water. The fruits were stabbed with a sterile needle and a drop of 20 µl of spore suspension (106 spores/ml) was placed on each wound independently. Meanwhile 10 fruits inoculated with sterile water were treated as controls. The fruits were incubated at 27°C with 90% relative humidity for 10 days. Inoculated fruits exhibited symptoms similar to the original infection. No visible lesions appeared on control fruit. C. gloeosporioides was successfully reisolated from the inoculated fruit, confirming Koch's postulates. Anthracnose of banana is known to be caused by C. musae, C. gloeosporioides, C. siamense, C. tropicale, C. chrysophilum, C. theobromicola, and C. scovillei (Kumar et al. 2017; Peres et al. 2001; Vieira et al. 2017; Zakaria et al. 2009; Zhou et al. 2017). To our knowledge, this is first report of anthracnose of banana caused by C. gloeosporioides in Pakistan. The new disease primarily reduces the quality and yield of Banana. Effective measures should be taken to manage this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-01-21-0215-PDNDOI Listing
March 2021

First Report of Lasiodiplodia pseudotheobromae Causing Stem End Rot of Mango Fruit in Pakistan.

Plant Dis 2021 Mar 3. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Plant Pathology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan;

Mango (Mangifera indica L.) is considered a desirable fruit in international markets and is grown throughout tropical and sub-tropical countries around the world (Alemu, 2014). Stem end rot is the most damaging and complex postharvest disease of mango, resulting in losses of up to 40% in Pakistan, which is the leading producer and exporter (Alam et al. 2017). A field survey was conducted in June of 2017 and 2018 in the Rahim Yar Khan and Multan- major mango producing regions of Punjab Province. After mature but unripe mango fruit (cv. Samar Bahisht Chaunsa) were stored at 12°C for 2 weeks to permit ripening, water-soaked, dark brown to purplish black decay began to appear around the stem end portion. The decay gradually enlarged and covered the whole fruit after 7 days. Disease incidence was estimated at 30%. Small pieces (3 to 4 mm2) from the periphery of 15 diseased fruit were surface disinfected with 1% sodium hypochlorite for 2 min, rinsed three times in sterilized distilled water, air dried, and then placed aseptically onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium and incubated at 25°C under a 12-h light/dark photoperiod for 7 days. Twelve single-spore isolates with similar morphology were isolated from the infected tissues. Initially the fungus produced thick, fluffy and greyish-white aerial mycelium, that later turned into dark gray colonies. Conidia were unicellular, ellipsoidal, and initially hyaline, but with age became dark brown and developed a central septum. Conidia measured 24.5 to 31.5 × 11.4 to 15.7 µm (n = 60). Conidiophores were inflated at their base with one diaphragm which reduced to conidiogenous cells. Conidiogenous cells were hyaline and cylindrical. On the basis of morphological characteristics, the fungus was tentatively identified as Lasiodiplodia sp., a member of the family Botryosphaeriaceae (Alves et al. 2008). For molecular identification, genomic DNA was extracted from mycelium following the CTAB method. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA and translation elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF1-α) gene were amplified using ITS1/ITS4 (White et al. 1990) and EF1-728F/EF1-986R primer sets (Carbone and Kohn 1999), respectively. BLASTn searches of sequences revealed 99% to 100% identity with the reference sequences of various Lasiodiplodia pseudotheobromae isolates (GenBank accession nos. MH057189 for ITS; MN638768 for TEF-1a). The sequences were deposited in GenBank (accession nos. MW439318, MW433883 for ITS; and MW463346, MW463347 for TEF-1a). To fulfill Koch's postulates, a suspension of 105 conidia/ml from a 7-day-old culture of L. pseudotheobromae was used to inoculate fully mature but unripe mango fruit (cv. Samar Bahisht Chaunsa). Fruit were pricked with a sterilized needle to a depth of 4 mm at the stem end portion, injected with 50 μl of the prepared spore suspension (Awa et al. 2012), and stored at 12°C for 3 weeks under 70 to 80% RH. Twenty mango fruit were inoculated, and 10 were inoculated with sterile water only. After 15 days, most fruit showed typical symptoms at the stem end. Reisolations from symptomatic fruit following the procedures described above for isolating and identifying the fungal cultures from infected field samples, consistently yielded a fungus identical to L. pseudotheobromae. Control fruit remained disease-free. Although L. pseudotheobromae was previously reported on several forest and fruit trees (Alves et al. 2008; Awan et al. 2016), this is the first report of the pathogen causing stem end rot disease of mango in Pakistan. This report is important for the new studies aiming at management of stem end rot disease of mango caused by L. pseudotheobromae in Pakistan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-01-21-0099-PDNDOI Listing
March 2021

Do inward foreign direct investment and economic development improve local environmental quality: aggregation bias puzzle.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Mar 3. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

College of Economics and Management, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

Since preceding several decades, the carbon emissions based standard Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) has been tested and supported by a plethora of studies in countries around the globe. The current study estimated the inward foreign direct investment (IFDI)-augmented EKCs for China's 27 provincial divisions employing the advanced econometric methodologies involving cross-sectional dependence, slope heterogeneity, and second generation-based estimation procedures. The study has further contributed through a modification to "Stochastic Influence by Regression on Population, Affluence, and Technology" (STIRPAT) in terms of including IFDI to the standard model. Accordingly, this work estimated the standard EKC (involving economic development-carbon emissions linkage) as well as IFDI-carbon emissions linkage within the STIRPAT framework, by employing a panel vector error-correction-based estimation procedure. The findings revealed that (1) the conventional EKC estimates for national and regional samples (i.e., aggregate samples) presented linkages differing from the EKC links for the provincial divisions. It suggested that the EKC at the aggregated levels is likely the consequence of aggregation bias problem. (2) The links between IFDI (in power and non-power sector) and carbon emissions provided inverse U shape for the aggregate samples, while the provincial divisions presented heterogeneous results. This is perhaps because of the aggregation bias. Hence, the aggregation bias puzzle is unriddled. (3) Also, heterogeneous patterns are found in terms of turning points, degree of impact, and nature of the association of income and IFDI with carbon emissions. The meaningful policies can be extracted for the large countries encompassing varied economic development levels, such as China, if the EKC is evaluated at the disaggregate scales.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12734-yDOI Listing
March 2021

Modulating the Biomechanical Properties of Engineered Connective Tissues by Chitosan-Coated Multiwall Carbon Nanotubes.

Int J Nanomedicine 2021 15;16:989-1000. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Background: Under certain conditions, the physiological repair of connective tissues might fail to restore the original structure and function. Optimized engineered connective tissues (ECTs) with biophysical properties adapted to the target tissue could be used as a substitution therapy. This study aimed to investigate the effect of ECT enforcement by a complex of multiwall carbon nanotubes with chitosan (C-MWCNT) to meet in vivo demands.

Materials And Methods: ECTs were constructed from human foreskin fibroblasts (HFF-1) in collagen type I and enriched with the three different percentages 0.025, 0.05 and 0.1% of C-MWCNT. Characterization of the physical properties was performed by biomechanical studies using unidirectional strain.

Results: Supplementation with 0.025% C-MWCNT moderately increased the tissue stiffness, reflected by Young's modulus, compared to tissues without C-MWCNT. Supplementation of ECTs with 0.1% C-MWCNT reduced tissue contraction and increased the elasticity and the extensibility, reflected by the yield point and ultimate strain, respectively. Consequently, the ECTs with 0.1% C-MWCNT showed a higher resilience and toughness as control tissues. Fluorescence tissue imaging demonstrated the longitudinal alignment of all cells independent of the condition.

Conclusion: Supplementation with C-MWCNT can enhance the biophysical properties of ECTs, which could be advantageous for applications in connective tissue repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S289107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7901244PMC
March 2021

First report of Alternaria alternata causing fruit rot on Fig (Ficus carica) in Pakistan.

Plant Dis 2021 Feb 22. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Faisalabad, Pakistan;

Fig (Ficus carica L.) is among the earliest and widely cultivated fruit trees in the world due to its easy adaptation to diverse climates (Solomons et al. 2006). In July 2020, a rot disease was observed on multiple orchards located in Faisalabad- a region of Punjab Province. The symptoms appeared as light brown, circular to oval, and water-soaked lesions (4-8 mm in diameter). In more advanced stages of the disease, the lesions enlarged in size and leading to rot of the entire fruit. Disease incidence on fruit across the fields ranged from 23 to 29%. To isolate the causal agent, segments (5 mm2) were excised from 15 symptomatic fruit, surface disinfested with 70% ethanol for 1 min, washed in three changes of sterilized water, air dried, transferred aseptically to plates containing potato dextrose agar (PDA), and incubated at 25°C for 7 days with a 12-h photoperiod. Nine single spore isolates with similar morphology were isolated from the infected tissues. The cultured isolates consistently yielded dark brown to black colonies on PDA. Conidia were in chains (average conidial dimension 20 to 28 × 8 to 10 μm), olivaceous to dark brown, with a short conical beak with both transversal (two to five) and longitudinal (one to three) septa. Conidiophores were short, septate, hyaline to olivaceous brown, either branched or unbranched, 20 to 52 μm long, and 1 to 3 μm wide. These cultural and morphological characteristics were consistent with the descriptions of Alternaria alternata (Simmons 2007). The genomic DNA from three isolates was extracted using a PrepMan Ultra kit according to the manufacturer's protocol and amplified using universal primers ITS1/4 (White et al. 1990) and the endopolygalacturonase gene using primers PG3/PG2b (Andrew et al. 2009), and sequenced. The amplified PCR products were deposited in GenBank (accession nos. MW261786, MW433689, MW439319 for ITS and MW249057, MW463344, MW463345 for PG3/PG2b). Blast searches against GenBank showed 99%-100% nucleotide identity with the reference sequences of various A. alternata isolates. The pathogenicity of the representative isolate (PDL 2021) was tested on Fig fruit cv. "Black Mission". For that, 20 asymptomatic and mature fruit were surface-disinfected with 75% ethanol solution for 30 s. The fruit were inoculated by spraying a spore suspension (106 spores/ml) of A. alternata and stored at 25°C and 80% relative humidity. An equal number of fruit inoculated with sterile water were used as negative controls. Symptoms similar to those on the naturally infected fruits began after 4-5 days of inoculation. The negative controls remained healthy. Koch's postulates were fulfilled by reisolating (100%) A. alternata from only the inoculated fruit. Previously, the pathogen has been reported to cause fruit rot of Lychee, Peach and Pomegranate in Pakistan (Alam et al 2017a; 2019b; 2019c). The pathogen has been reported to cause fig fruit rot in California (Michailides et al. 1994). Keeping in view the extent of disease on many fruits, further studies are needed on management options to combat the disease in Punjab Province of Pakistan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-01-21-0090-PDNDOI Listing
February 2021

How do climatic change, cereal crops and livestock production interact with carbon emissions? Updated evidence from China.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Feb 16. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

School of Economics, Quaid I Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Carbon dioxide emission and climatic variation have a detrimental influence on the atmosphere as well as on agriculture production. The key aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of carbon dioxide emission on livestock, cereal crops production, rainfall and temperature in China by utilizing the vector autoregressive model and Granger causality test for the period 1988-2017. Variables stationarity was verified by using ADF, P-P and KPSS unit root tests. The outcomes through long-run dynamics exposed that agriculture value added and rainfall have a positive influence on carbon dioxide emission, while cereal crops production, livestock production and temperature have an adverse interaction with carbon dioxide emission. Similarly, the results of the short-run analysis also demonstrate that agriculture value added, cereal crops production, livestock production, rainfall and temperature have a significant influence on carbon dioxide emission with their p-values (0.0488), (0.0885), (0.0263), (0.0096) and (0.5141) respectively. Furthermore, the Granger causality test outcomes also exposed a unidirectional linkage amid the variables. In order to improve agricultural productivity, the Chinese government should take potential steps to minimize the carbon dioxide emission from various industries that trigger climate change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12948-0DOI Listing
February 2021

Role of Macrophages in the Endocrine System.

Trends Endocrinol Metab 2021 Apr 14;32(4):238-256. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Anesthesiology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Macrophages are cells of the innate immune system that play myriad roles in the body. Macrophages are known to reside in endocrine glands, and a body of evidence now suggests that these cells interact closely with endocrine cells. Immune-endocrine interactions are important in the development of endocrine glands and their functioning during physiological states, and also become key players in pathophysiological states. Through gene expression profiling, diverse subpopulations of tissue macrophages have been discovered within endocrine organs; this has important implications for disease pathogenesis and potential pharmacotherapy. The molecular basis for the crosstalk between macrophages and endocrine cells is being unraveled, and allows the identification of multiple points for pharmacologic intervention. Macrophages in adipose tissue and pancreatic islets are key players in the process of metaflammation (metabolic inflammation) that underlies the development of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In the ovary, they play important roles in ovarian folliculogenesis and ovulation, whereas in the male reproductive tract they regulate spermatogenesis through the regulation of steroidogenesis by Leydig cells. We summarize the diverse roles played by macrophages in the endocrine system and identify potential targets for pharmacotherapy in endocrine disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2020.12.001DOI Listing
April 2021

Comparative Analysis of Nasal Smear Eosinophilia and Serum IgE Levels for the Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis.

J Coll Physicians Surg Pak 2020 Dec;30(12):1297-1300

Department of Pathology, Mayo Hospital / KEMU, Lahore, Pakistan.

Objective: To compare and determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of nasal smear eosinophilia and serum IgE levels for the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis (AR).

Study Design: Analytical study.

Place And Duration: ENT and Pathology Departments, KEMU/Mayo Hospital, Lahore from January 2018 to December 2019.   Methodology: Two hundred and twenty-one patients presenting with recurrent rhinitis were included in the study. They were divided into two groups: group 1 presented with history suggestive of allergy for more than four weeks and confirmed to be AR on skin prick tests; group 2 patients with negative skin prick tests taken as controls. Both groups were subjected to serum IgE levels and nasal smear for eosinophilia. Prick test was taken as gold standard, and p<0.05 was taken statistically significant.

Results: One hundred and twenty-one patients diagnosed as allergic rhinitis on skin prick tests in group 1 and 100 patients as controls in group 2 had negative skin prick tests. Ninety-one (75.2%) patients had AR on nasal smear eosinophilia in group 1 and 89 (73.6%) patients had AR on serum IgE levels in group 1. Sixty-eight patients (56.2%) were males and 53 (43.8%) were females in group 1. In group 2, 51 (51%) were males and 49 (49%) were females. Mean difference in nasal smear eosinophil count and serum IgE levels in AR and control group was statistically significant (p<0.001). Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of nasal smear  eosinophilia was 77.8%,71.2%, 75.2%, and 74%; and of IgE level was 82.4%, 71.7%, 73.6%, and 81%, respectively.

Conclusion: Serum IgE and nasal smear eosinophilia levels are helpful in diagnosing allergic rhinitis; however, serum IgE level has better sensitivity and higher NPV than smear eosinophilia. Specificity of both tests is comparable. Key Words: Allergic rhinitis, Nasal smear eosinophilia, Serum IgE level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.29271/jcpsp.2020.12.1297DOI Listing
December 2020

Asymmetric investigation to track the effect of urbanization, energy utilization, fossil fuel energy and CO emission on economic efficiency in China: another outlook.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Apr 4;28(14):17319-17330. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

School of Economics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China.

The accelerated urbanization in China was already coupled with a steadily increasing demand for energy usage. The present study major aim was to determine the asymmetric influence of urbanization, energy utilization, fossil fuel energy and CO emission on economic progress in China by using an annual time series data varies from 1975 to 2017. Stationarity amid variables was verified by applying the unit root tests, while non-linear autoregressive distributed lag (NARDL) bounds testing model was used to examine the asymmetric impacts on variables with short- and long-run dynamics. Outcomes revealed that via short-run estimates, the negative shocks of energy usage cause significantly to increase the economic efficiency, but positive shocks of energy utilization display the adverse linkage with the economic progress. Similarly, the negative shocks of GDP per capita growth demonstrate a substantial upsurge in the economic progress, and the positive shocks establish the adverse influence towards economic growth. Further, the outcomes of short-run dynamics also exposed the negative shocks of urbanization significantly affected the economic growth, but positive shocks exposed the adversative influence on economic growth. The outcomes display that fossil fuel energy consumption showed a constructive impact to economic progress, and additionally, the variable CO emission also uncovered a positive shocks having significant impact on economic progress. Furthermore, the outcomes of long-run analysis express that energy utilization has negative and positive shocks that expose the adverse influence on economic progress of China. GDP per capita growth exposed the constructive influence on the economic growth in both shocks. The negative and positive shocks of urbanization demonstrate a noteworthy influence on economic growth. The variable fossil fuel energy consumption also exposed an optimistic influence on economic progress, and finally the influence of CO emission on economic growth is insignificant as the results exposed. The reducing carbon alteration target aims to be reached for China, and in the next several decades, it will encourage the green energy options in order to decrease carbon dioxide emission to avoid environmental pollution by raising its energy intensity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-12186-wDOI Listing
April 2021

Effects of immunization against inhibin α-subunit on ovarian structures, pregnancy rate, embryonic and fetal losses, and prolificacy rate in goats where estrus was induced during the non-breeding season.

Anim Reprod Sci 2021 Jan 20;224:106654. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

Department of Theriogenology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore 54000, Pakistan. Electronic address:

The objectives of the study were to determine the dose-dependent effects of active immunization against inhibin α-subunit (AIINHA) on ovarian dynamics, concentrations of progesterone (P), pregnancy rate (PR), embryonic and fetal losses (EFL), and prolificacy during the non-breeding season when there was imposing of a progestin-based treatment regimen to induce estrus in Beetal goats. Goats (n = 30) were randomly assigned into following groups: 1) saline (G-CON-0 mg; n = 10), 2) small dose (G-AIINHA-0.5 mg; n = 10), and 3) large dose (G-AIINHA-1 mg; n = 10). The primary administration of inhibin immunogen was administered at Day -48, followed by another administration at Day -20, and subsequently there was induction of estrus using a progestin based treatment regimen that included a single administration of progestin-containing sponge and PGF at Day -8. The sponge was removed, and GnRH was administered at Day -3 followed by breeding (Day 0) at standing estrus. Results indicated mean diameter of the follicles, size of pre-ovulatory follicles and corpora lutea, and post-breeding P concentrations were greater (P < 0.05) in the goat does of the G-AIINHA-0.5 than G-CON-0 group. The PR, and EFL, however, did not differ (P> 0.05) among groups, whereas prolificacy rate was greater (P = 0.04) in goat does of the G-AIINHA-0.5 than G-CON-0 groups. The data from this study indicate G-AIINHA-0.5 is the recommended dose of inhibin immunogen to enhance the reproductive performance during non-breeding season in Beetal goats when estrus is induced using a progestin-based treatment regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2020.106654DOI Listing
January 2021

Morpho-chemical characterization and source apportionment of potentially toxic metal(oid)s from school dust of second largest populous city of Pakistan.

Environ Res 2021 05 19;196:110427. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Advanced Laboratory for Functional Agriculture, Suzhou Institute for Advanced Study, University of Science and Technology of China, Suzhou, 215123, Jiangsu, China. Electronic address:

Interior settled dust is one of the greatest threats of potentially toxic metal(oid)s (PTMs) exposure to the children, especially in the school environment. Therefore, it is more worthy of having in-depth knowledge of compositional characteristics of school dust. Forty schools were selected of Lahore city for dust sampling. The school dust was analyzed to determine the PTMs (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ge, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sn, Sr, V, and Zn) concentrations using ICP-MS. The morphological characteristics, PTMs speciation, and mineralogy of school dust were examined using SEM with EDS, XPS, and XRD, respectively. Moreover, the geo-accumulation index (I), potential ecological risk index (PERI), and multivariate statistical analysis were employed to assess the pollution levels, ecological risk, and source identification of PTMs, respectively. The I indicated a heavily-extreme pollution level of Cd (I = 4.92), moderate-heavy pollution of Zn (I = 3.22), and Pb (I = 2.78), and slight-moderate pollution of Cr (I = 1.62), and Cu (I = 1.53). The ecological risk has been found extremely high for Cd and moderately high for Pb and As, while potential ecological risk found extremely high posed by cumulatively all selected PTMs. Multivariate statistical analysis showed that sources of PTMs comprise of natural processes as well as several anthropogenic processes like vehicular emissions, agricultural and industrial activities. The SEM, XRD, and XPS analyses demonstrated the presence of airborne particles and PTMs containing minerals with several toxic chemical species in school dust. This study can help to develop strategies to reduce school indoor pollution and hence to establish an eco-friendly learning environment for children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.110427DOI Listing
May 2021

Stylized heterogeneous dynamic links among healthcare expenditures, land urbanization, and CO emissions across economic development levels.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jan 9;753:142228. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

School of Economics and Management, North China Electric Power University, Beijing 102206, China. Electronic address:

This research examines the heterogeneous dynamic links among healthcare expenditures, land urbanization, and CO emissions across the development levels of China. To this end, data of 27 Chinese provinces are considered from 1999 to 2018. Theoretically, this research developed a healthcare expenditures-augmented Stochastic Impacts of Regression by Population, Affluence, and Technology (STIRPAT) model to incorporate healthcare expenditures as a determinant of affluence. Empirically, this research established a system of simultaneous equations based on the healthcare expenditures-augmented STIRPAT model to estimate the links among the variables. As a pre-analysis, second-generation Westerlund cointegration is applied and found the long-term equilibrium association among the variables. The long-run estimations and short-run causality are done by employing dynamic common correlated effects mean group method (DCCEMGM) and Dumitrescu-Hurlin causality. A heterogeneous long-run equilibrium linkage is confirmed to exist among the variables of interest. Concerning the long-run estimates, firstly, the healthcare expenditures growth and land urbanization exhibited a bilateral positive link. Secondly, CO emissions and healthcare expenditures growth manifested the existence of a bilateral positive link. And thirdly, a unilateral positive (negative) link is revealed to exist from a linear term (squared term) of land urbanization to CO emissions. Concerning the short-run results, firstly, a bilateral causal bond exists between the land urbanization and healthcare expenditures growth. Secondly, a bilateral causal bond prevails between CO emissions growth and healthcare expenditures growth. Finally, a unilateral causal bond is operational from land urbanization to CO emissions growth. In terms of the nature of the link, the long-run findings are consistent across the data samples. However, considering the degree of influence, heterogeneity is confirmed across the development levels for both long- and short-run. It infers that relatively more (less) developed regions showed relatively strong (weak) influence. Based on empirical findings, relevant policies are recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142228DOI Listing
January 2021

Systematic Review of Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens of Small Ruminants in Pakistan.

Pathogens 2020 Nov 11;9(11). Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Melbourne Veterinary School, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Werribee 3030, VIC, Australia.

Ticks and tick-borne diseases (TTBDis) are a major constraint to the health and production of small ruminants in Pakistan. Despite being the subject of intermittent studies over the past few decades, comprehensive information on the epidemiology and control of TTBDis is lacking. Herein, we have systematically reviewed the current knowledge on TTBDis of small ruminants in Pakistan. Critical appraisal of the selected 71 articles published between 1947 to 2020 revealed that morphological examination had been the most widely used method for the identification of TTBDis in Pakistan. Tick fauna comprise at least 40 species, mainly belonging to , and . The prevalence of ticks is the highest in summer (June-September) and it is also higher in goats than sheep. , and spp. are the major tick-borne pathogens (TBPs), and their prevalence is usually higher in sheep than goats. Spatio-temporal distribution, genetic diversity and control of ticks and TBPs of small ruminants as well as the competence of tick vectors for various TBPs remain to be explored. Therefore, coordinated and focused investigations are required to fill knowledge gaps in these areas to maximise the health, production and welfare of small ruminants and minimise economic losses associated with TTBDis in Pakistan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9110937DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696454PMC
November 2020

Variations in rifampicin and isoniazid resistance associated genetic mutations among drug naïve and recurrence cases of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Int J Infect Dis 2021 Feb 9;103:56-61. Epub 2020 Nov 9.

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of the Punjab, Lahore, 54590, Pakistan. Electronic address:

Background: The resistance to first-line drugs can increase the risk of treatment failure and development of resistance to other anti-TB drugs. In TB endemic settings, a considerable rate of recurrence cases exhibited each, year which adds significant burden to the prevalence of disease worldwide.

Methods: A total of 562 sputum samples were collected from presumptive positive clinical cases of MDR tuberculosis. Treatment history and demographic data of the patients were obtained after informed consent. Xpert MTB/RIF assay was performed for simultaneous detection of MTB and rifampicin resistance. The mutation patterns of isoniazid and rifampicin were observed after multiplex PCR and reverse hybridization by Genotype® MTBDRplus version 2.0 assay.

Results: A total of 73 of 97 cases (75.2%) of treatment failure were found positive for MDR-TB, whereas 79.6% newly diagnosed and 72.9% default cases were MDR in our isolates. The mutation of rpoB S531L was slightly higher in new treatment cases (89.3%) as compared to the default (80.4%) and failure cases (84.8%), whereas rpoB D516V mutation was more prevalent in default cases (19.6%) with complete absence of rpoB 526 mutation, which was observed in the other two types of cases. The mutation pattern of katG resistance differed among drug naïve and recurrence cases. The resistance in newly diagnosed cases was mostly conferred by katG 315 (49.1%) whereas in default (70.8%) and failure cases (63.3%) isoniazid resistance was commonly associated with katG S315T1 mutation. Mutations in inhA promoter region occurred at nucleotide position -8 and -15. In new cases the rate of mutation of C-15T was 3.7% and T-8A was 1.5% while in treatment failure cases the frequency for C-15T and T-8C was 2.5 and 3.8% respectively. However, no inhA promoter region mediated mutations were detected in default treatment cases.

Conclusion: Retreated cases are at more risk of developing hot spot mutations. An unusual difference in mutation pattern was determined in naïve and recurrence cases. Some mutations were exclusively associated with the retreatment of 35anti-TB drugs which suggest the increased risk of resistance with poor treatment outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.11.007DOI Listing
February 2021

Synergistic Nanocomposites of Different Antibiotics Coupled with Green Synthesized Chitosan-Based Silver Nanoparticles: Characterization, Antibacterial, in vivo Toxicological and Biodistribution Studies.

Int J Nanomedicine 2020 13;15:7841-7859. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi 75510, Pakistan.

Purpose: The present study reports chitosan functionalized green synthesized CS-AgNPs, conjugated with amoxicillin (AMX), cefixime (CEF), and levofloxacin (LVX) for safe and enhanced antibacterial activity.

Methods: The CS-AgNPs and conjugates CS-AgNPs+AMX CS-AgNPs+CEF, and CS-AgNPs+LVX were characterized by UV-Vis, FTIR, SEM, TEM, EDX spectroscopy. The size distribution and zeta potential were measured using the dynamic light scattering (DLS) technique. The interaction between CS-AgNPs and antibiotic molecules was also investigated using UV-Vis spectroscopy at the concentrations of 5, 50, 500, and 5000 µM for each antibiotic. Antibacterial activity and synergism were assessed by the Fractional Inhibitory Concentration (FIC) index. The mechanism for synergistic activity was investigated by the detection of hydroxyl species based on the chemiluminescence of luminol. The biocompatibility index (BI) was calculated from IC using the HeLa cell line. In vivo toxicity and tissue distribution of silver ions were evaluated on Sprague Dawley rats. Physical interactions of antibiotics and significant (P<0.05) antibacterial activity were observed after loading on CS-AgNPs surfaces.

Results: The spherical shape nanocomposites of CS-AgNPs with different antibiotics were prepared with mean size ranges of 80-120 nm. IC of antibiotics-conjugated CS-AgNPs decreased compared to CS-AgNPs. The biocompatibility (BI) index showed that antibiotics-conjugated CS-AgNPs have high antibacterial potential and low toxicity. Highly significant (P<0.005) increase in the generation of hydroxyl species indicated the radical scavenging mechanism for synergistic activity of CS-AgNPs after combined with different antibiotics. Biochemical analysis and histopathological examinations confirmed low toxicity with minor hepatotoxicity at higher doses. After oral administration, extensive distribution of Ag ion was observed in spleen and liver.

Conclusion: The study demonstrates positive attributes of antibiotics-conjugated CS-AgNPs, as a promising antibacterial agent with low toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S274987DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7568684PMC
November 2020