Stingless bee farming is a new and potential booming industry in Malaysia. A study was conducted on stingless bee species preferred by meliponiculturists in Malaysia. External nest characteristics of the stingless bee species were also described. Sampling of 161 stingless bee colonies at a bee farm in Kelantan, Malaysia (06°07’N, 102°19’E) revealed five species of stingless bees and one unidentified species. The species included Trigona itama, Trigona thoracica, Trigona terminata, Trigona laeviceps, and Hypotrigona scintillans and one unidentified meliponid that accounted for 83.2%, 11.2%, 2.5%, 1.9%, 0.6% and 0.6%, respectively. The external nest characteristics, including the height of tree trunk, the trunk circumference at the top and bottom, and the height of the entrance tube from the bottom, were measured together with the size and description of entrance tube for each species. It was apparent that of 17-32 known species of stingless bees in Malaysia, only T. itama and T. Thoracica were mostly used in meliponiculture.
Effect of organic manures and chemical fertilizers on maize (cv. DMR-ESR-Yellow) was studied in a degraded upland soil. Four levels (0, 1, 3, and 5 t ha-1) of palm kernel and barley residues and a recommended rate of chemical fertilizers were tested in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Plant height, stem diameter, number of leaves, ear leaf area, 1000 grain weight, and grain yield increased with the increase rate of manures, but the increase was higher in palm kernel than the barley residue. The 3 and 5t ha-1 rates of palm kernel residue were the best treatments due largely to higher supply of N, P, K, Ca and Mg as. Under high rainfall, grain yield increased likely by reducing days to tasseling and silking and anthesis silking interval (ASI). Under low rainfall, both organic manures, which may have maintained more favourable soil moisture and temperature regimes, gave considerably higher yield than the recomended fertilizer rate (NPK 15:15:15). Organic manure treated plants, especially under palm kernel residue with higher N supply reached 50% tasseling and silking earlier and had shorter ASI and longer grain-filling period than inorganic fertilizer. The use of 3 to 5t ha-1 of palm kernel residue manure could substantially increase grain yield in Sierra Leone. However, the increase in yield with application rate showed that the highest rate used was not the optimum. Therefore, higher rates should be included in subsequent trials to obtain maize response curves for both manures.
Broiler chicks were subjected to early feed restriction (EFR) on d3-5 post-hatch to determine the day that confers the best thermal tolerance during acute heat stress episode at market age. In Experiment I, 160 Marshall chicks were allotted to 4 treatments. One group received feed ad libitum (CONTROL), while others received no feed for a period of 24 hours on d3 (D3), d4 (D4) and d5 (D5), respectively. Each group had 4 replicates with a total of 10 birds per replicate. On d55 of age, rectal temperature (RT) was monitored and blood samples were taken from the birds before and 1h after exposure to temperature 37±2oC and 50% relative humidity. There were a total of 120 chicks in Experiment II and they were divided into 3 groups which were either fed ad libitum (CONTROL) or had feed withdrawn for 12h (D512) or 24h (D524) on d5 to determine the length of feed restriction that best conferred thermotolerance on the birds. RT and blood sampling were also done as described above. In Experiment I, haematological parameters were (P>0.05) similar among the treatments before and after exposure. Prior to the exposure to heat stress, RT was not affected (P>0.05) by feeding regimen but it was significantly (P<0.05) affected by the treatment after the exposure. D5 chickens had significantly (P<0.05) lower temperature than control. However, it was not different from D3 and D4 chickens. In Experiment II, initial RT did not differ among the 3 treatment groups although RT was (P<0.05) affected by the feeding regimen after 60 minutes of exposure. The control chickens had similar RT with that of D512. However, RT in control birds (P<0.05) was higher than RT in D524. Thus, applying EFR in broilers on D5 of post-hatch for 24 hours may help reduce hyperthermia during heat spell at market age.
rectal temperature, acute heat stress, broilers, H:L, early feed restriction
Silt pit is one of the recommended soil water conservation practices in oil palm plantations. It is commonly regarded that the larger and deeper the silt pit, the more effective the pit would be to conserve soil water. This hypothesis was tested in this paper, where the effectiveness of four silt pit dimensions on conserving soil water in the oil palm active rooting zone was simulated using the HYDRUS 2D model. These silt pits had different sizes and total wet wall-to-floor area ratio (W:F): H1 silt pit (1x1x1 m of width, length, and depth, respectively, and W:F ratio of 4.0), H2 (1.5x1x1 and W:F of 2.5), H3 (2x1x0.5 and W:F of 1.5) and H4 (2×1×2 and W:F of 1.5). Simulations showed that silt pits with larger W:F ratios could store water for longer periods and feed water to a farther horizontal distance within the soil compared to silt pits with smaller W:F ratios. H1 took the longest to dry out, whereby it took 14 to 19 hours longer to dry out compared to than H2, H3 and H4. H1 and H3 could feed water as far as 80 cm away from the pit more than H2 and H4 (60 and 50 cm, respectively). This is because silt pits with larger W:F ratios had larger horizontal water flow than the vertical water flow. Meanwhile, the depth of a silt pit should not be below the oil palm active rooting depth, which water would flow out of reach by the roots. This study is a preliminary work to a field experiment where simulations from this paper would be validated against measurements obtained in the field before recommending the use of silt pits and their size to be constructed in oil palm plantations.
HYDRUS 2D, oil palm, silt pit, soil water conservation
Properties of materials play important role in the development of processing, storing and handling equipment. Genetic diversity is one of the important tools to qualify genetic variability in both cross and self-pollinated crops. Through this study, efforts were made to find out variability and relationship between paddy cultivars of various economically important traits. Paddy of twenty two selected genetically diverse strains was evaluated for physical and optical characteristics. The moisture content of kernels of selected paddy cultivars ranged from 7.89 to 14.15% (DWB). Multivariate classification techniques were applied to determine the coherent physical and optical characteristics in order to reduce dimensionality problems. The properties heavily loaded on different components are dimensional with frictional in first principal component, dimensional and optical in the second component and optical with gravimetric in the third components found responsive for major variations (79.36%) in the Eigen analysis of data. The observed physical and optical characteristics differed significantly and found to be cultivar dependent, which has paved the way for the classification of selected paddy cultivars on the basis of principal component and cluster analysis. Accordingly, the dominating similar prominent physical and optical characters formed at least three verifiable distinct separate and coherent clusters of paddy cultivars, indicating the usefulness multivariate analysis in identifying promising cultivars with the appropriateness in design and development of agricultural and processing equipment based on opto-physical characteristics.
Paddy, oryza sativa, physical properties, principal component analysis, cluster analysis.
To identify the foraging plants by honeybees and determine apicultural potential, a sample collection of species was carried out with the commencement of rangeland plants at 6 different stations in the Freidan summer rangelands during 2010. Attractive index (AI) of each plant was determined by direct observations based on the average number of bees visiting and the length of time that each bee spents on the flowers. By using ordinate method, the AI data were classified into four main groups. The most import vegetation families utilized by the bees in the area were Compositae Labiatae, Umbeliferae, Cruciferae, Gramineae, Liliaceae and Caryophyllaceae. The results of the assessment carried out on the plant diversity showed that between 88 plant species, 70 species were utilized by the bees. These species were unpalatable for grazing animals and were dominant in degraded rangelands. The Class I group comprised of Papaver dubium, Onobrychys sativa, Astragalus gossipianus, Thymus kotschyanus, Eryngium billardieri, Echinops cephalotes and Alhagi camelorum. The Class II group comprised of Eremurus persicus, Peganum harmala, Astragalus sp., Centaurea sp., Scariola orientalis, Medicago lupulina, Ferula gummosa and Mentah longifolia. The Classes III and IV comprised of the species, Euphorbia, Tragopagon caricifolius, Centaurea, Salvia sp, Acantholimon erinaceum, Convolvulus arvensis, Achillea falcate and Cynodon dactylon. The results indicated that the more extensive uses of the pollen of these plants by the honeybees were associated with the higher attractiveness of the flowers and the presence of more nutritive materials in the pollen and nectar.
Multivariate, Cluster analysis, Attractive index (AI), beekeeping, Apis mellifera persica
For effective management and control of yellowing disease, inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers were employed to investigate genetic diversity among 34 isolates of Fusarium solani, which had been isolated from major growing areas of black pepper in Malaysia. Over 15 primers, with fragment sizes ranging from 200 bp to 3600 bp, and a total of 253 amplified loci were amplified in all 34 isolates, with an average of 17 bands per primer; among which 248 (98.02 %) were polymorphic. High genetic diversity at species level was revealed (Nei’s gene diversity h = 0.2671 and Shannon information index I = 0.4134, respectively). Sarikei population was found to have a higher degree of polymorphism compared to other populations. The dendrogram generated from UPGMA cluster analysis categorized the 34 F. solani isolates into two major clusters based on Jaccard’s similarity coefficients. Cluster I contained a unique isolate. Cluster II contained 33 isolates which were split into two different subclusters. Results showed that the clusters were not related to geographic origins. Meanwhile, ISSR fingerprinting generated highly polymorphic markers that could be used to study genetic characterization of F. solani and to clarify phylogenic relationships, as well as useful for efficient management of yellowing disease and finding breeding programmes to find cultivars of black pepper that are resistant to F. solani.
Survey results of two populations of Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda at a fishing ground and within a protected area were compared so as to establish effects of human activities on the species. Tachypleus tridentatus and Tachypleus gigas were also found in both sites but in substantially less abundance. The operational sex ratios were male-biased at both sites; 5.50 (n = 52) at the fishing ground (Site 1) and 2.58 (n = 68) at the protected area (Site 2). Size distributions at both sites were similar of which females were approximately 16% larger than males. A captive experiment was conducted where pair-forming behaviour of C. rotundicauda was observed for 30 days. Amplexus were most frequently formed when the sex ratio was balanced, lasting for 2.44 ± 2.03 days, and eight days maximum. Female body size and amplex-forming frequency were positively correlated ( r = 0.678, n = 7, p = 0.10), attributable to fitness projected by the phenotype. Solitary males did not exhibit aggression towards paired males, allowing the latter to retain mate exclusivity for considerable periods. Anthropogenic pressures caused an unnatural shift in the population structure of local horseshoe crabs that could lower their reproductive success, making eventual extirpation possible.