Skillful management is one of the most important success factors for today’s farms. When a farm is well managed, it can generate funds for its sustainability. Grape is one of the most diffused fruits in the world and one of the most important cash crops with high potential of production in Afghanistan as well. While there are several organizations intervening for improvement of this cash crop, the quality and quantity are still not satisfactory for producers and external markets. The situation has not changed over the years. Therefore, a survey was conducted in 2017 with 60 grape growers, supported by questionnaires in Mirbachakot, Kalakan and Shakardara districts of Kabul province. The purpose was to get an understanding of the current socio-demographic characteristics of farmers, management methods, constraints, farm size, yield and contribution of grape farming to household income. Findings indicate that grape farming was predominant 83.3% male, 16.6% female and small-scale farmers were the main grape producers, 60% < 1 ha of land under grape production. Likewise, 50% had more than > 10 years and 33.3% between 1-5 years’ experience in grape farming. The high level of illiteracy and diseases had significant digit effect on growth, yield and quality of grapes. The results showed that vineyard management operations to protect grapes from mechanical damage are very poor or completely absent. Comparing developed countries, table grape is one of the fruits with the highest input of technology, while in developing countries the cost of labor is low but the purchase of the equipment is very high due to financial situation. Hence the low quality and quantity of grape are influenced by poor management methods, such as non-availability of experts and lack of technical guidance in the study site. Thereby, the study suggested that improved agricultural extension services and managerial skills could contribute to addressing the problems.
In light of the repercussions of the 2008 global economic crisis, the response of the United Arab Emirates economy and growth, and the vast construction activities that are undergoing, there is a need to investigate the relationship between construction activities and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This study aims to investigate the causality relationship between the construction industry in the United Arab Emirates and the GDP of the country in the last decade. For that, this study will investigate the relationship between the growth of the GDP and the growth of construction activities and their value addition to the economy. To ascertain this relationship, Granger Causality method is used to identify the causality between the time-dependent series.
Interest in the development of appropriate safety culture in the oil and gas industry has taken centre stage among stakeholders in the industry. Human behaviour has been identified as a major contributor to occupational accidents, where abnormal activities associated with safety management are taken as normal behaviour. Poor safety culture is one of the major factors that influence employee’s safety behaviour at work, which may consequently result in injuries and accidents and strengthening such a culture can improve workers safety performance. Nigeria oil and gas industry has contributed to the growth and development of the country in diverse ways. However, in terms of safety and health of workers, this industry is a dangerous place to work as workers are often exposed to occupational safety and health hazard. To ascertain the impact of employees’ safety and how it impacts health and safety compliance within the local industry, online safety culture survey targeting frontline workers within the industry was administered covering major subjects that include; perception of management commitment and style of leadership; safety communication method and its resultant impact on employees’ behaviour; employee safety commitment and training needs. The preliminary result revealed that 54% of the participants feel that there is a lack of motivation from the management to work safely. In addition, 55% of participants revealed that employers place more emphasis on work delivery over employee’s safety on the installation. It is expected that the study outcome will provide measures aimed at strengthening and sustaining safety culture in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The rapid industrialisation and population growth have led to a steady fall in freshwater supplies worldwide. As a result, water systems are affected by modern methods upon use due to secondary contamination. The application of novel adsorbents derived from natural polymer holds a great promise in addressing challenges in water treatment. In this study, the UV irradiation technique was used to prepare acrylamide (AAm) monomer, and acrylic acid (AA) monomer grafted xanthan gum (XG) copolymer. Furthermore, the factors affecting rhodamine B (RhB) adsorption from aqueous media, such as pH, dosage, concentration, and time were also investigated. The FTIR results confirmed the formation of graft copolymer by the strong vibrational bands at 1709 cm-1 and 1612 cm-1 for AA and AAm, respectively. Additionally, more irregular, porous and wrinkled surface observed from SEM of XG-g-AAm/AA indicated copolymerization interaction of monomers. The optimum conditions for removing RhB dye with a maximum adsorption capacity of 313 mg/g at 25 0C from aqueous solution were pH approximately 5, initial dye concentration = 200 ppm, adsorbent dose = 30 mg. Also, the detailed investigation of the isothermal and adsorption kinetics of RhB from aqueous solution showed that the adsorption of the dye followed a Freundlich model (R2 = 0.96333) and pseudo-second-order kinetics. The results further indicated that this absorbent based on XG had the universality to remove dye through the mechanism of chemical adsorption. The outstanding adsorption potential of the grafted copolymer could be used to remove cationic dyes from aqueous solution as a low-cost product.
The main objective of this study is to find a suitable approach to monitor the land infrastructure growth over a period of time using multispectral satellite images. Bi-temporal change detection method is unable to indicate the continuous change occurring over a long period of time. To achieve this objective, the approach used here estimates a statistical model from series of multispectral image data over a long period of time, assuming there is no considerable change during that time period and then compare it with the multispectral image data obtained at a later time. The change is estimated pixel-wise. Statistical composite hypothesis technique is used for estimating pixel based change detection in a defined region. The generalized likelihood ratio test (GLRT) is used to detect the changed pixel from probabilistic estimated model of the corresponding pixel. The changed pixel is detected assuming that the images have been co-registered prior to estimation. To minimize error due to co-registration, 8-neighborhood pixels around the pixel under test are also considered. The multispectral images from Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 from 2015 to 2018 are used for this purpose. There are different challenges in this method. First and foremost challenge is to get quite a large number of datasets for multivariate distribution modelling. A large number of images are always discarded due to cloud coverage. Due to imperfect modelling there will be high probability of false alarm. Overall conclusion that can be drawn from this work is that the probabilistic method described in this paper has given some promising results, which need to be pursued further.
The rapid growth of oil palm industry in Indonesia raised many negative accusations from various parties, who said that oil palm plantation is damaging the environment and biodiversity, including birds. Since research on oil palm plantation impacts on bird diversity is still limited, this study needs to be developed in order to gain further learning and understanding. Data on bird diversity were collected in March 2018 in KJNP Estate, Riau Province using strip transect method on five different land cover types (young, intermediate, and old growth of oil palm plantation, high conservation value area, and crops field or the baseline). The observations were conducted simultaneously, with three repetitions. The result shows that the baseline has 19 species of birds and land cover after the oil palm plantation has 39 species. HCV (high conservation value) area has the highest increase in diversity value. Oil palm plantation has changed the composition of bird species. The highest similarity index is shown by young growth oil palm land cover with total score 0.65, meanwhile the lowest similarity index with total score 0.43 is shown by HCV area. Overall, the existence of oil palm plantation made a positive impact by increasing bird species diversity, with total 23 species gained and 3 species lost.
There has been a growing emphasis in elevating the teachers’ proficiency and competencies through continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities. In this era of a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) world, teachers are expected to be collaborative designers, critical thinkers and creative builders. However, many of the CPD structures are still revolving in the model of transmission, which stands in contradiction to the cultivation of future-ready teachers for the innovative world of emerging technologies. This article puts forward the framing of CPD through a Principle-Based, Technological-Driven Knowledge Building Approach grounded in the essence of andragogy and progressive learning theories where growth is best exemplified through an authentic immersion in a social/community experience-based setting. Putting this Knowledge Building Professional Development Model (KBPDM) in operation via a Professional Learning Team (PLT) situated in a Secondary School in Singapore, research findings reveal that the intervention has led to a fundamental change in the learning paradigm of the teachers, henceforth equipping and empowering them successfully in their pedagogical design and practices for a 21st century classroom experience. This article concludes with the possibility in leveraging the Learning Analytics to deepen the CPD experiences for educators.
One of the aspects that are usually neglected during the design phase of an engine is the effect of the spark plug on the flow field inside the combustion chamber. Because of the difficulties in the experimental investigation of the mutual interaction between flow alteration and early flame kernel convection effect inside the engine combustion chamber, CFD-3D simulation is usually exploited in such cases. Experimentally speaking, a particular type of engine has to be used in order to directly observe the flame propagation process. In this study, a double electrode spark plug was fitted into an optically accessible engine and a high-speed camera was used to capture the initial stages of the combustion process. Both the arc and the kernel phases were observed. Then, a morphologic analysis was carried out and the position of the center of mass of the flame, relative to the spark plug position, was calculated. The crossflow orientation was chosen for the spark plug and the kernel growth process was observed for different air-fuel ratios. It was observed that during a normal cycle the flow field between the electrodes tends to transport the arc deforming it. Because of that, the kernel growth phase takes place away from the electrodes and the flame propagates with a preferential direction dictated by the flow field.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a multipurpose computer-based tool that provides a sophisticated ability to map and analyze data on different spatial layers. However, GIS is far more easily applied in some policy areas than others. This paper seeks to determine the areas of sustainable development, including environmental, economic, and social dimensions, where GIS has been used to date to support efforts to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to discuss potential areas where it might be used more. Based on an extensive analysis of published literature, we ranked the SDGs according to how frequently GIS has been used to study related policy. We found that SDG#15 “Life on Land” is most often addressed with GIS, following by SDG#11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, and SDG#13 “Climate Action”. On the other hand, we determined that SDG#2 “Zero Hunger”, SDG#8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, and SDG#16 “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions” are least addressed with GIS. The paper outlines some specific ways that GIS might be applied to the SDGs least linked to this tool currently.
The growth of the agricultural sector is known as an essential way to achieve development goals in developing countries. Urban agriculture is a way to reduce the vulnerability of urban populations of the world toward global environmental change. It is a sustainable and efficient system to respond to the environmental, social and economic needs of the city, which leads to urban sustainability. Today, many local and national governments are developing urban agriculture as an effective tool in responding to challenges such as poverty, food security, and environmental problems. In this study, we follow a perspective based on urban agriculture literature in order to indicate the urban agriculture’s benefits in environmental planning strategies in non-western countries like Iran. The methodological approach adopted is based on qualitative approach and documentary studies. A total of 35 articles (mixed quantitative and qualitative methods studies) were studied in final analysis, which are published in relevant journals that focus on this subject. Studies show the wide range of positive benefits of urban agriculture on food security, nutrition outcomes, health outcomes, environmental outcomes, and social capital. However, there was no definitive conclusion about the negative effects of urban agriculture. This paper provides a conceptual and theoretical basis to know about urban agriculture and its roles in environmental planning, and also conclude the benefits of urban agriculture for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who seek to create spaces in cities for implementation urban agriculture in future.
The growth and expansion of the industrial facilities comes proportional to the market increasing demand of products and services. Furthermore, raw material producers such as oil companies usually undergo massive revamping projects to maintain a synchronized supply. These revamping projects are usually delivered through challenging construction projects held and associated with daily site risks related to the construction process. Henceforth, a case study related to these risks and corresponding on-spot corrective measurements has been made on a certain number of construction project contractors at Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) to derive the benefits and overall effectiveness of the on-spot corrective measurements during the construction phase of a project, and how would the same help in avoiding major incidents, ensuring a smooth, cost effective and on time delivery of the project. Findings of this case study shall have an added value to the overall risk management process by minimizing the daily site risks that may affect the project lead time, resulting in an undisturbed on-site construction process.
Anaerobic batch experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of magnetite-supplementation (7 mM) on methane production from digested sludge undergoing two different microbial growth phases, namely fresh sludge (exponential growth phase) and degassed sludge (endogenous decay phase). Three different particle sizes were assessed: small (50 - 150 nm), medium (168 – 490 nm) and large (800 nm - 4.5 µm) particles. Results show that, in the case of the fresh sludge, magnetite significantly enhanced the methane production rate (up to 32%) and reduced the lag phase (by 15% - 41%) as compared to the control, regardless of the particle size used. However, the cumulative methane produced at the end of the incubation was comparable in all treatment and control bottles. In the case of the degassed sludge, only the medium-sized magnetite particles increased significantly the methane production rate (12% higher) as compared to the control. Small and large particles had little effect on the methane production rate but did result in an extended lag phase which led to significantly lower cumulative methane production at the end of the incubation period. These results suggest that magnetite produces a clear and positive effect on methane production only when an active and balanced microbial community is present in the anaerobic digester. It is concluded that, (i) the effect of magnetite particle size on increasing the methane production rate and reducing lag phase duration is strongly influenced by the initial metabolic state of the microbial consortium, and (ii) the particle size would positively affect the methane production if it is provided within the nanometer size range.
Anthropometry helps in associating the physical properties of an individual with their racial, cultural, and psychological attributes. Numerous research studies have included different skeletal diameters as a variable. However, most of the studies suggest their inclusion describing specific characteristics/traits of the body. However, there seems to be a scarcity of literature related to the effect of any kind of longitudinal physical training on human skeletal diameters. Hence, the present investigation was conducted to study the variability of covariance of selected skeletal diameters of females in a longitudinal physical training programme. The sample for the study was 78 college going students of the University of Delhi, classified equally in three groups, i.e. viz. (a) Progressive load of training or conditioning group coded as PLT; (b) Constant load of training or non-conditioning group coded as CLT; and (c) No-load or control or sedentary group coded as NL. Collectively, mean age of the sample was 19.54±1.79 years. The randomly selected samples were given maximum consideration to maintain their homogeneity. The variables included biacromial diameter, biiliocristal diameter, bitrochantaerion diameter, humeral bicondylar, femoral bicondylar, wrist diameter, ankle diameter, and foot breadth. Multi-group repeated measure design was adopted for the experimentation. Each group was measured four times after completion of each of the three meso-cycles of six-weeks duration. The measurements were taken following the standard landmarks and procedures. Mean, standard deviation, analysis of co-variance and its post-hoc analysis were computed to analyze the data statistically. The study concluded that both the progressive and constant load of physical training bring changes in the selected skeletal diameters of females. It also reflected the increase due to growth also along with training.
Uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lung in the form of tumor can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Patients with Lung Cancer (LC) have an average of five years life span expectancy provided diagnosis, detection and prediction, which reduces many treatment options to risk of invasive surgery increasing survival rate. Computed Tomography (CT), Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for earlier detection of cancer are common. Gaussian filter along with median filter used for smoothing and noise removal, Histogram Equalization (HE) for image enhancement gives the best results without inviting further opinions. Lung cavities are extracted and the background portion other than two lung cavities is completely removed with right and left lungs segmented separately. Region properties measurements area, perimeter, diameter, centroid and eccentricity measured for the tumor segmented image, while texture is characterized by Gray-Level Co-occurrence Matrix (GLCM) functions, feature extraction provides Region of Interest (ROI) given as input to classifier. Two levels of classifications, K-Nearest Neighbor (KNN) is used for determining patient condition as normal or abnormal, while Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) is used for identifying the cancer stage is employed. Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT) algorithm is used for the main feature extraction leading to best efficiency. The developed technology finds encouraging results for real time information and on line detection for future research.
Heteropoly acid nanoparticles anchored on graphene oxide based on UiO-66 were synthesized via in-situ growth hydrothermal method and tested for photodegradation of a tetracycline as critical pollutant. Results showed that presence of graphene oxide and UiO-66 with high specific surface area, great electron mobility and various functional groups make an excellent support for heteropoly acid and improve photocatalytic efficiency up to 95% for tetracycline. Furthermore, total organic carbon (TOC) analysis verified 79% mineralization of this pollutant under optimum condition.
This paper presents a multi-objective framework for sustainable urban development. The proposed framework aims to address different aspects of sustainability in urban development planning. These aspects include, but are not limited to education, health, job opportunities, architecture, culture, environment, mobility, energy, water, waste, and so on. Then, the proposed framework is applied to the Brackenridge Tract (an area in downtown Austin, Texas), to redevelop that area in a sustainable way. The detail of the implementation process is presented in this paper. The ultimate goal of this paper is to develop a sustainable area in downtown Austin with ensuring that it locally meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social, environmental, health as well as cultural aspects. Moreover, it helps the city with the population growth problem by accommodating more people in that area.
Native plants are better adapted to the local environment providing a more natural effect on landscape projects; their use will both conserve natural resources and produce sustainable greenery. Continuation of evaluation of additional native plants is essential to increase diversity of plant resources for greenery projects. Therefore, in this project an effort was made to study the mass multiplication of further native plants for greenery applications. Standardization of vegetative propagation methods is essential for conservation and sustainable utilization of native plants in restoration projects. Moreover, these simple propagation methods can be readily adapted by the local nursery sector in Kuwait. In the present study, various treatments were used to mass multiply selected plants using vegetative parts to secure maximum rooting and initial growth. Soft or semi-hardwood cuttings of selected native plants were collected from mother plants and subjected to different treatments. Pennisetum divisum can be vegetatively propagated by cuttings/off-shoots. However, Tamarix aucheriana showed maximum number of rooted cuttings and stronger vigor seedlings with the lowest growth hormone concentration. Standardizing the propagation techniques for the native plant species will add to the rehabilitation and landscape revegetation projects in Kuwait.
This study investigated factors affecting the price of cement in Nigeria, and developed a mathematical model that can predict future cement prices. Cement is key in the Nigerian construction industry. The changes in price caused by certain factors could affect economic and infrastructural development; hence there is need for proper proactive planning. Secondary data were collected from published information on cement between 2014 and 2019. In addition, questionnaires were sent to some domestic cement retailers in Port Harcourt in Nigeria, to obtain the actual prices of cement between the same periods. The study revealed that the most critical factors affecting the price of cement in Nigeria are inflation rate, population growth rate, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate. With the use of data from United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and Central Bank of Nigeria databases, amongst others, a Multiple Linear Regression model was formulated. The model was used to predict the price of cement for 2020-2025. The model was then tested with 95% confidence level, using a two-tailed t-test and an F-test, resulting in an R2 of 0.8428 and R2 (adj.) of 0.6069. The results of the tests and the correlation factors confirm the model to be fit and adequate. This study will equip researchers and stakeholders in the construction industry with information for planning, monitoring, and management of present and future construction projects that involve the use of cement.
In Egypt, there is continuous housing demand as a result of rapid population growth. In 1979, this forced the government to establish new urban communities in order to decrease stress around delta. New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) was formulated to take the responsibly of this new policy. These communities suffer from social life deficiency due to their typology, which is separated island with barriers. New urban communities’ typology results from the influence of neoliberalism movement and modern city planning forms. The lack of social interaction in these communities at present should be enhanced in the future. On a global perspective, sustainable development calls for creating more sustainable communities which include social, economic and environmental aspects. From 1960, planners were highly focusing on the promotion of the social dimension in urban development plans. The research hypothesis states: “It is possible to promote social interaction in new urban communities through a set of socio-spatial recommended strategies that are tailored for Greater Cairo Region context”. In order to test this hypothesis, the case of El-Sherouk city is selected, which represents the typical NUCA development plans. Social interaction indicators were derived from literature and used to explore diﬀerent social dynamics in the selected case. The tools used for exploring case study are online questionnaires, face to face questionnaires, interviews, and observations. These investigations were analyzed, conclusions and recommendations were set to improve social interaction.
Kolkata, the City of Joy, is a greying metropolis not only in respect of its concrete jungle but also because of the largest population of 60-plus residents that it shelters among all other cities in India. Declining birth and death rates and a negative growth of population indicate that the city has reached the last stage of demographic transition. Thus, the obvious consequence has been the ageing of its population. With this background, the present paper attempts to study the demographic and socio-economic status of the elderly population in Kolkata. Analysis and findings have been based on secondary data obtained from Census of India of various years, Sample Registration System Reports and reports by HelpAge India. Findings show that the elderly population is increasing continuously. With respect to gender, the male elderly outnumbers the female elderly population. The percentage of households having one elderly member is more in the city due to the emergence of the nuclear families and erosion of joint family system. With respect to socio-economic status, those elderly who are the heads of the family are lower in percentages than those in the other age groups. Also, male elderly as head of the family are greater in percentage than female elderly. Elderly in the category of currently married records the highest percentage followed by widowed, never married and lastly, separated or divorced. Male elderly outnumber the female elderly as currently married, while female elderly outnumbers the male elderly in the category of widowed. In terms of living status, the percentage of elderly who are living alone is highest in Kolkata and the reason for staying alone as no support from children also happens to be highest in this city. The literacy rate and higher level of education is higher among the male than female elderly. Higher percentages of female elderly have been found to be with disability. Disability in movement and multiple disabilities have been found to be more common among the elderly population in Kolkata. Percentages of male literate pensioners are highest than other categories. Also, in terms of levels of education male elderly who are graduate and above other than technical degree are the highest receivers of pension. Also, in terms of working status, elderly as non-workers are higher in percentages with the population of elderly females outnumbering the males. The old age dependency ratio in the city is increasing continuously and the ratio is higher among females than male. Thus, it can be stated that Kolkata is witnessing continuous and rapid ageing of its population. Increasing dependency ratio is likely to create pressure on the working population, available civic, social and health amenities. This requires intervention in the form of planning, formulation and implementation of laws, policies, programs and measures to safeguard and improve the conditions of the elderly in Kolkata.
Wild almond is a woody species, which is difficult to propagate either generatively by seed or by vegetative methods (grafting or cuttings) and also considered as Endangered (EN) in Albania based on IUCN criteria. As a wild relative of cultivated fruit trees, this species represents a source of genetic variability and can be very important in breeding programs and cultivation. For this reason, it would be of interest to use an effective method of in vitro mid-term conservation, which involves strategies to slow plant growth through physicochemical alterations of in vitro growth conditions. Multiplication of wild almond was carried out using zygotic embryos, as primary explants, with the purpose to develop a successful propagation protocol. Results showed that zygotic embryos can proliferate through direct or indirect organogenesis. During subculture, stage was obtained a great number of new plantlets identical to mother plants derived from the zygotic embryos. All in vitro plantlets obtained from subcultures underwent in vitro conservation by minimal growth in low temperature (4ºC) and darkness. The efficiency of this technique was evaluated for 3, 6, and 10 months of conservation period. Maintenance in these conditions reduced micro cuttings growth. Survival and regeneration rates for each period were evaluated and resulted that the maximal time of conservation without subculture on 4ºC was 10 months, but survival and regeneration rates were significantly reduced, specifically 15.6% and 7.6%. An optimal period of conservation in these conditions can be considered the 5-6 months storage, which can lead to 60-50% of survival and regeneration rates. This protocol may be beneficial for mass propagation, mid-term conservation, and for genetic manipulation of wild almond.
Dairy by-products are a fairly good environment for microorganisms due to their composition for their growth. Microbial populations have a significant impact in the production of cheese, butter, yogurt, etc. in terms of their organoleptic quality and at the same time some also cause their breakdown. In this paper, the microbiological contamination of soft cheese, butter and yogurt produced in the country (domestic) and imported is assessed, as an indicator of hygiene with impact on public health. The study was extended during September 2018-June 2019 and was divided into three periods, September-December, January-March, and April-June. During this study, a total of 120 samples were analyzed, of which 60 samples of cheese and butter locally produced, and 60 samples of imported soft cheese and butter productions. The microbial indicators analyzed are Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Analyzes have been conducted at the Food Safety Laboratory (FSIV) in Tirana in accordance with EU Regulation 2073/2005. Sampling was performed according to the specific international standards for these products (ISO 6887 and ISO 8261). Sampling and transport of samples were done under sterile conditions. Also, coding of samples was done to preserve the anonymity of subjects. After the analysis, the country's soft cheese products compared to imports were more contaminated with S. aureus and E. coli. Meanwhile, the imported butter samples that were analyzed, resulted within norms compared to domestic ones. Based on the results, it was concluded that the microbial quality of samples of cheese, butter and yogurt analyzed remains a real problem for hygiene in Albania. The study will also serve business operators in Albania to improve their work to ensure good hygiene on the basis of the HACCP plan and to provide a guarantee of consumer health.
Recent rapid progress in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) has advanced the penetration of sensor networks (SNs) and their attractive applications. Agriculture is one of the fields well able to benefit from ICT. Plant factories control several parameters related to plant growth in closed areas such as air temperature, humidity, water, culture medium concentration, and artificial lighting by using computers and AI (Artificial Intelligence) is being researched in order to obtain stable and safe production of vegetables and medicinal plants all year anywhere, and attain self-sufficiency in food. By providing isolation from the natural environment, a plant factory can achieve higher productivity and safe products. However, the biggest issue with plant factories is the return on investment. Profits are tenuous because of the large initial investments and running costs, i.e. electric power, incurred. At present, LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are being adopted because they are more energy-efficient and encourage photosynthesis better than the fluorescent lamps used in the past. However, further cost reduction is essential. This paper introduces experiments that reveal which color of LED lighting best enhances the growth of cultured radish sprouts. Radish sprouts were cultivated in the experimental environment formed by a hydroponics kit with three cultivation shelves (28 samples per shelf) each with an artificial lighting rack. Seven LED arrays of different color (white, blue, yellow green, green, yellow, orange, and red) were compared with a fluorescent lamp as the control. Lighting duration was set to 12 hours a day. Normal water with no fertilizer was circulated. Seven days after germination, the length, weight and area of leaf of each sample were measured. Electrical power consumption for all lighting arrangements was also measured. Results and discussions: As to average sample length, no clear difference was observed in terms of color. As regards weight, orange LED was less effective and the difference was significant (p < 0.05). As to leaf area, blue, yellow and orange LEDs were significantly less effective. However, all LEDs offered higher productivity per W consumed than the fluorescent lamp. Of the LEDs, the blue LED array attained the best results in terms of length, weight and area of leaf per W consumed. Conclusion and future works: An experiment on radish sprout cultivation under 7 different color LED arrays showed no clear difference in terms of sample size. However, if electrical power consumption is considered, LEDs offered about twice the growth rate of the fluorescent lamp. Among them, blue LEDs showed the best performance. Further cost reduction e.g. low power lighting remains a big issue for actual system deployment. An automatic plant monitoring system with sensors is another study target.
The unmanned aerial system (UAS) industry is growing at a rapid pace. This growth has increased the demand for low cost, custom made and high strength unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The area of most growth is in the area of 25 kg to 200 kg vehicles. Vehicles this size are beyond the size and scope of simple wood and fabric designs commonly found in hobbyist aircraft. These high end vehicles require stronger materials to complete their mission. Traditional aircraft construction materials such as aluminum are difficult to use without machining or advanced computer controlled tooling. However, by using general aviation composite aircraft homebuilding techniques and materials, a large scale UAV can be constructed cheaply and easily. Furthermore, these techniques could be used to easily manufacture cost made composite shapes and airfoils that would be cost prohibitive when using metals. These homebuilt aircraft techniques are being demonstrated by the researchers in the construction of a 75 kg aircraft.
Comparative research has been conducted to allow us to determine the content of macro and microelements in the vegetative and reproductive organs of grass pea and the quality of grass pea seeds, as well as to identify the possibility of grass pea growth on soils contaminated by heavy metals. The experiment was conducted on an agricultural field subjected to contamination from the Non-Ferrous-Metal Works (MFMW) near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The experimental plots were situated at different distances of 0.5 km and 8 km, respectively, from the source of pollution. On reaching commercial ripeness the grass pea plants were gathered. The composition of the macro and microelements in plant materials (roots, stems, leaves, seeds), and the dry matter content, sugars, proteins, fats and ash contained in the grass pea seeds were determined. Translocation factors (TF) and bioaccumulation factor (BCF) were also determined. The quantitative measurements were carried out through inductively-coupled plasma (ICP). The grass pea plant can successfully be grown on soils contaminated by heavy metals. Soil pollution with heavy metals does not affect the quality of the grass pea seeds. The seeds of the grass pea contain significant amounts of nutrients (K, P, Cu, Fe Mn, Zn) and protein (23.18-29.54%). The distribution of heavy metals in the organs of the grass pea has a selective character, which reduces in the following order: leaves > roots > stems > seeds. BCF and TF values were greater than one suggesting efficient accumulation in the above ground parts of grass pea plant. Grass pea is a plant that is tolerant to heavy metals and can be referred to the accumulator plants. The results provide valuable information about the chemical and nutritional composition of the seeds of the grass pea grown on contaminated soils in Bulgaria. The high content of macro and microelements and the low concentrations of toxic elements in the grass pea grown in contaminated soil make it possible to use the seeds of the grass pea as animal feed.