Featured Papers

June Edition, 2017 (Vol. 5 No. 1)

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    Review of Palm Kernel Oil Processing And Storage Techniques In South East Nigeria

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Okeke CG, Oluka SI
  • subjectCategory: Engineering
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    An assessment of palm kernel processing and storage in South-Eastern Nigeria was carried out by investigative survey approach. The survey basically ascertained the extent of mechanization applicable in the area to enable the palm kernel processors and agricultural policy makers, device the modalities for improving palm kernel processing in the area. According to the results obtained from the study, in Abia state, 85% of the respondents use mechanical method while 15% use manual method in cracking their kernels. In Imo state, 83% of the processors use mechanical method while 17% use manual method. In Enugu and Ebonyi state, 70% and 50% of the processors respectively use mechanical method. It is only in Anambra state that greater number of the processors (50%) use manual method while 45% use mechanical means. It is observable from the results that palm kernel oil extraction has not received much attention in mechanization. The ANOVA of the palm kernel oil extraction technique in South- East Nigeria showed significant difference in both the study area and oil extraction techniques at 5% level of probability. Results further revealed that in Abia State, 70% of the processors use complete fractional process in refining the palm kernel oil; 25% and 5% respectively use incomplete fractional process and zero refining process. In Anambra, 60% of the processors use complete fractional process and 40% use incomplete fractional process. Zero refining method is not applicable in Anambra state.  In Enugu sate, 53% use complete fractional process while 25% and 22% respectively use zero refining and incomplete fractional process in refining the palm kernel oil. Imo state, mostly use complete fractional process (85%) in refining palm kernel oil. About 10% use zero refining method while 5% of the processors use incomplete fractional process. Plastic containers and metal drums are dominantly used in most areas in south-east Nigeria for the storage of palm kernel oil.

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    Performance Characteristics of Agricultural Field Machineries In South- East Nigeria

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Oduma O, Oluka SI
  • subjectCategory: Engineering
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    The field performances of agricultural field machineries in South -East agricultural zone of Nigeria were assessed, to enable farmers and agriculturists select suitable farm machines/implements based on soil conditions/characteristics for their agricultural activities. The various implements studied include; disc plough, 2-gang tandem disc harrow, ridger, rotovator and 6-row combine seed planter. Three different makes and models of tractors namely: New Holland (model-NH5610SE and capacity-55.9kw), Massey Ferguson (model-MF430E and capacity-55.2kw) and Mahindra (model-NH7570E and capacity-55.9kw) with 3- point hitch systems and average age of 1.3 years were used to study the field performances of each of the implements, in five different states that made up the study area. The field performances studied include; implement’s working speed, operation time, depth of cut, effective and theoretical field capacities, field efficiency, fuel consumption rate, implement power requirements, and wheel slippage, under different soil conditions. Results obtained revealed that the disc plough had field efficiency range of 85.74% to 88.55%, effective and theoretical field capacities range of 0.846 to 1.164ha/hr and 0.961 to 1.319ha/hr respectively; and the highest field (ploughing) efficiency was obtained in loamy-sandy soil when the plough was operated with the Massey Ferguson tractor. Harrow recorded field efficiency range of 80.17 to 91.38%, effective and theoretical field capacities range of 0.931 to 1.458ha/hr and 1.151 to 1.667 ha/hr respectively; and the highest field (harrowing) efficiency was obtained on sandy-clay soil by New Holland tractor. Ridger recorded 83.65 to 88.82% field efficiency, 0.932 to 1.322ha/hr effective capacity and 1.073 to 1.504ha/hr theoretical field capacity; and sandy-clay gave the highest field (ridging) efficiency when operated with a New Holland tractor. The rotovator had field efficiency range of 81.10 to 89.81%, effective and theoretical field capacities range of 0.759 to 0.902ha/hr and 0.758 to1.039ha/hr respectively; and the highest pulverizing efficiency was achieved on the clay-loam soil with a Massey Ferguson tractor. The planter recorded 80.63 to 89.37 field efficiency,1.012 to1.481ha/hr effective field capacity and theoretical field capacity of 1.22 to 1.716ha/hr. Ploughing gave the highest average fuel consumption rate of 22.72L/ha (8.89L/hr), followed by harrowing with average consumption of 19.57L/ha (8.04L/hr), ridging recorded 19.42L/ha (7.97L/hr), rotovator had 16.79L/ha (7.19L/hr) and least was planter with average consumption rate of 15.10L/ha (6.26L/hr). More so, all implements recorded highest tyre slippage in sandy-clay soil, followed by loamy-sandy and the least slippage was recorded in the clay-loam soil. Results finally revealed that the highest draft force (10.8kN/m) was obtained by the plough, followed by the harrow and ridger with equal draft force values of 10.5kN/m respectively and least draft was recorded by the rotovator (5.1kN/m).

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    Academic Performance of Primary School Children with Asthma

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Nduagubam OC, Oguonu TA, Ojinnaka N, Ibekwe RC
  • subjectCategory: Clinical Sciences
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    The academic performance of children with asthma may differ from that of their non-asthmatic colleagues. Reports on the academic performance of children with asthma are limited and the findings are inconsistent. The academic performance of children with asthma in Enugu, Nigeria is determined in this study. Children with asthma aged 5–11 years were recruited consecutively at the weekly asthma clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, Nigeria. Their age-, sex- and socio-economic- matched non- asthmatic classmates were recruited as controls. Academic performance was assessed overall using the average of the overall scores in the three term examinations of same session as well as specifically using the performance in four key subjects (English, mathematics, Social Studies and Sciences). Socio-economic status was determined using the occupational status and educational attainment of each parent. The median (range) overall academic scores for the children with asthma 79.04% (36.08% - 99.57%) was not significantly different from those of controls 80.01% (50.65% - 97.47%) (U = 6804, p = 0.461). We concluded that the academic performance of children with asthma compares favorably with that of children without asthma. 

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    POST-TRANSFUSION INFECTIONS IN SOUTH-EASTERN NIGERIA: CO-INFECTION OF HIV/HCV AMONG BLOOD DONORS IN ABAKALIKI URBAN.

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Ogbodo SO, Chukwurah EF
  • subjectCategory: Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    One of the major problems in transfusion medical practice in the developing countries is the incidences of transfusion transmissible infections, especially viral infections. Some of these viral infections share similar transmission pathways, making co-infections of these viruses a possibility. We investigated the possible co-infection of two viral infections-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 1,490 blood donors in a Teaching Hospital in a south-eastern state of Nigeria. This number was made up of 1384(92.9%) males and 106(7.1%) females. Antibodies to these viruses were detected using ELISA methods. Our results showed that 12(0.81%), 9(0.60%), and 2(0.13%) were positive for HIV, HCV, and both HIV and HCV respectively. Greater percentage of females than males were positive for both HIV and HCV (2.8% and 0.65% for HIV and 2.8% and 0.43% for HCV) while age group 21-30 showed highest frequency (38.5%). We advocate for wider mandatory pre-screening of blood donors, increased public health education and enlightenment on modes of transmission of these viral infections, as well as counseling of donors before screening.

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    SELECTED PHYSICAL AND AERODYNAMIC PROPERTIES OF AFRICAN BREADFRUIT (Treculia africana) SEEDS FROM SOUTH EASTERN NIGERIA.

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Igwillo UC, Eze PC, Eze CN
  • subjectCategory: Engineering
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    Physical and aerodynamic properties of African breadfruit (Treculia africana) seeds were studied at four moisture levels: 12.50, 15.00, 17.50 and 20.10% dry base (w.b). As moisture content increased from 10.50 to 20.10% (w.b), the average weight, major diameter, minor diameter, intermediate diameter, geometric mean diameter, arithmetic mean diameter of the seeds ranged from 0.35±0.08 to 0.60g±0.04g, 8.08±0.90 to 10.05±0.60mm, 4.04±0.53 to 5.00±0.10mm, 2.96±0.43 to 4.60±0.40mm, 4.52±0.45 to 6.03±0.20mm, 5.03±0.45 to 6.55±0.50mm respectively. Also the equivalent diameter, surface area, sphericity, projected area and aspect ratio of the seeds ranged from 4.75±0.42 to 6.03±0.41mm, 64.19±12.64 to 114.25±10.00mm2, 56±8.00 to 60±6.00%, 25.64±5.10 to 39.47 ± 3.80mm2, and 50±0.08 to 50±0.01mm respectively. The volume ranged from 0.35 ± 0.014 to 0.73 ± 0.014cm3, while the true and bulk densities ranged from 1.099 ± 0.141 to 1.110±0.424g/cm3 and 0.835±0.43 to 0.938±0.21g/cm3. Porosity decreased from 15.01±1.5 to 5.60±0.4% as moisture content increased from 10.50 to 20.10% (w.b). The angle of repose ranged from 39.80 to 60.10o with increase in moisture content. The optimum parboiling time, temperature and moisture content for hulling African breadfruit seeds were determined as 7.5minutes, 57.5oC and 20.10% (w.b) respectively. The terminal velocity of the seeds and kernels ranged from 12.5 to 17.02m/s and 11.40 to 13.36m/s. Drag coefficient and drag force of the hulls ranged from 0.1 to 0.7 and 0.518×10-4 to 0.858 ×10-4N, while the drag coefficient and drag force of the seeds and kernels ranged from 0.09 to 0.2, 4.50 ×10-4 to 6.00×10-4N; 0.2 to 0.3 and 4.0×10-4 to 5.10×10-4N respectively. This indicates that optimum separation can be achieved effectively without any loss of the seeds if the results obtained are properly applied in processing of African breadfruit.

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    Haematological responses to stress of transportation and acclimation on the African catfish, Heterobranchus bidorsalis (Geoffrey, Saint Hilare)

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Okafor AI
  • subjectCategory: Biological Sciences
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    Stress due to transportation and one week laboratory acclimation on the African catfish, Heterobranchus bidorsalis procured from New Calabar River, Aluu in Rivers State  of  Nigeria caused significant reduction of Red Blood Cell (RBC), Blood Platelet (BP) counts, Packed Cell Volume (PCV) as well as haemoglobin contents (HC ) p<0.05. Conversely, stress of transportation and acclimation led to significant elevation of total leucocyte (TL) counts, mean corpuscular volume (MCV) indices, blood osmolality and glucose levels (p<0.05).The reduction in erythrocyte and thrombocyte counts is as a result of reduced activity of haematopoietic organs due to stress of transportation and acclimation. The elevated glucose and white cell counts is attributed to alarm reaction, preparing the fish to defend itself against invading pathogens. Consequently, the body builds up a reserve of energy which ought to be expended. The stress of transportation and acclimation (handling, sorting, injury, overcrowding,) and poor water quality normally damage the mucous or slime layer that surrounds the fish. Under such a circumstance, H. bidorsalis, being a freshwater species, absorbs much of the acclimation water and this contributes substantially to the reduced haematocrit and elevated osmolality observed.

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    Bisphenol A (BPA) Increases Blood Triglycerides and Low Density Lipoproteins in Albino Wistar Rats

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Oguazu CE, Ezeonu FC
  • subjectCategory: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    Bisphenol A (BPA) is a component of polycarbonate and other plastics including resins that line food and beverage containers. BPA is known to leach from these products into containerized foods and drinks, and is therefore thought to be routinely ingested. In this present study the possible effect of BPA on blood lipid metabolism were investigated in rats. Female albino Wistar rats were administrated oral doses of 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 µg BPA/kgbw/day once to determine effect of acute exposure and repeatedly for seven days in another set of test animals to determine the effects of sub-chronic exposure. Following the treatment, serum levels of lipid parameters were examined using the Chemwell Chemical Analyser. All data were expressed as means ± SD. The result of the study revealed that BPA increased blood triglycerides and LDL of exposed rats at both acute and sub-chronic phases.

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    Haematological Changes in Patients with Human Tuberculosis.

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Okafor AI
  • subjectCategory: Clinical Sciences
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    Some haematological alterations due to active cases of tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis were investigated in Enugu Urban of South East, Nigeria. The results revealed thrombocythaemia, leucocytosis and elevated Erythrocyte sedimentation rates (p<0.05). There was oligocythaemia, as well as reduced haematocrit and haemoglobin concentrations (p<0.05). The significant oligocythaemia, anaemia, reduced packed cell volume found in active TB positive persons are all attributed to invasion of haematopoietic organs by any of the Mycobacteria tuberculosis complex (MTBC) namely: M tuberculosis, M. bovis, M africanum, M. canetti, M. microti, and M. leprae, which reduced substantially the rate of erythropoiesis. The invasion of lymphoid organs such as lymph nodes, thymus and tonsils by MTBC stimulated the synthesis of leucocytes leading to leucocytosis (p<0.05). This could be an inflammatory response which prepared the victim to defend itself  against any of the MTBC that invaded the lungs and might even invade other extrapulmonary organs. Thrombocythaemia in active TB is attributed to haemoptysis, since the latter occurs whenever there is a wound or a threat to tissue injury or damage. When these changes in haematological parameters are used in combination with other tests, microscopic and clinical methods, TB diagnosis and treatment could be well improved.

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    DETERMINATION OF SOME PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF HORSE EYE BEAN (mucuna sloanei) FROM SOUTH EASTERN NIGERIA.

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Eze PC, Eze CN
  • subjectCategory: Engineering
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    Selected physical and mechanical properties of horse eye bean (mucuna sloanei) were studied at different moisture content levels of 11.5%, 13% and 17% (db). Compression strength characteristics were conducted under quasi-static compressive force at longitudinal and latitudinal (lateral) loading positions and the rupture forces, compressive strength, modulus of deformability, toughness, stiffness and force at bio-yield point determined as the mechanical properties. Results indicated that volume (20.137 - 21.856 mm3), surface area (598.362 - 720.208 mm2), geometric mean diameter (24.98 - 27.12 mm), and weight (7.625 - 9.203 g) of the velvet bean seed increased linearly with increase in moisture content. Also, the bulk density, specific gravity (0.378 - 0.421 g/mm3), sphericity (0.882 - 0.831) and aspect ratio (0.974 - 0.726) decreased linearly with increase in moisture content. These indicate that Velvet beans have wide size ranges and no single sample of the grains can effectively represent the other. In the case of the force-deformation characteristics, result indicates that the force and corresponding deformation to rupture of velvet bean seeds were found to vary from 400N - 2500N and 3mm - 10.25mm in longitudinal loading positions and 800N - 2800N, 3.5mm - 11.5mm  in lateral loading positions at the various moisture contents. The bio-yield force, compressive strength, stiffness and toughness of the velvet bean seeds varied from 400N - 1000N, 1.30N/mm2 - 8.03 N/mm2, 120N/mm - 833N/mm and 142.072 J/mm3 - 656.570 J/mm3 respectively in longitudinal loading positions to 600N - 2100N, 2.221 N/mm2 - 9.047 N/mm2, 57.14N/mm2 - 800 N/mm2 and 486.666 N/mm2 - 857.046 N/mm2 respectively in lateral loading position at the various moisture contents. Generally, the compressive strength of the horse eye bean seeds is higher at lateral loading position than at the longitudinal loading position.

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    Determinants of Survival in Low Birth Weight Infants at a Tertiary Healthcare Facility in the South Eastern Nigeria

  • person_outlineAuthor(s): Ekwochi U, Ifediora C, Osuorah CDI, Ndu IK, Asinobi IN, Amadi OF, Agwu S, Okeke IB
  • subjectCategory: Clinical Sciences
  • access_time19 June, 2017
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    Low birth weight (LBW) babies account for a large number of neonatal deaths globally, with over 90% of these occurring in developing countries with low resources. Identifying factors that determine survival in these sub-groups of babies in such a low-resource setting will help clinicians prioritize care and improve outcomes. This study aims to bridge some knowledge gaps in this regard. This was a 45-month prospective study carried out at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH), Enugu, Nigeria. All eligible newborns weighing between 500g and <2500g that were seen in this period were enrolled and monitored. Data collected were analysed with SPSS Version 24, and significant associations identified using logistic regression models. A total of 166 LBW neonates were enrolled, and 68.2% of them survived. Asphyxia and episodes recurrent apnoea were recorded at least once in 78.8% and 68.4% of the babies respectively, with about two-thirds requiring respiratory support at one time or the other. Survival in these LBW newborns was negatively associated with gestational age at birth of less than 32 weeks (OR 0.17; CI 0.03-0.50; P<0.01) as well as with episodes of recurrent apnoea (OR 0.07; CI 0.02-0.34; P<0.01). However, intra-uterine exposure to malaria was associated with a 15 times higher likelihood of survival (OR 15.41; CI 2.22-106.91; P=0.01). No significant associations was found between survival and attendances to antenatal care, mode of delivery, birth weight and a number of neonatal morbidities like necrotizing enterocolitis, hypothermia, hypoglycaemia, septicaemia, anaemia and neonatal jaundice. Survival rate among low birth weight neonates in a low resource setting is decreased with delivery at less than 32 weeks completed gestation as well as recurrent episodes of apnoea, but is increased with in-utero exposure to malaria. 

December Edition, 2017 (Vol. 5 No. 2)

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