In the context of sustainable development and climate change, the adaptation of buildings to the climatic context in hot climates is a necessity if we want to improve living conditions in housing and reduce the risks to the health and productivity of occupants due to thermal discomfort in buildings. One can find a wide variety of efficient solutions but with high costs. In developing countries, especially tropical countries, we need to appreciate a technology with a very limited cost that is affordable for everyone, energy efficient and protects the environment. Biosourced insulation is a product based on plant fibers, animal products or products from recyclable paper or clothing. Their development meets the objectives of maintaining biodiversity, reducing waste and protecting the environment. In tropical or hot countries, the aim is to protect the building from solar thermal radiation, a source of discomfort. The aim of this work is in line with the logic of energy control and environmental protection, the approach is to make the occupants of buildings comfortable, reduce their carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) and decrease their energy consumption (energy efficiency). We have chosen to study the thermo-physical properties of banana leaves and sawdust, especially their thermal conductivities, direct measurements were made using the flash method and the hot plate method. We also measured the heat flow on both sides of each sample by the hot box method. The results from these different experiences show that these materials are very efficient used as insulation. We have also conducted a building thermal simulation using banana leaves as one of the materials under Design Builder software. Air-conditioning load as well as CO2 release was used as performance indicator. When the air-conditioned building cell is protected on the roof by banana leaves and integrated into the walls with solar protection of the glazing, it saves up to 64.3% of energy and avoids 57% of CO2 emissions.
Although Europe is on the threshold of a new industrial revolution called Industry 4.0, many believe that this will increase the flexibility of production, the mass adaptation of products to consumers and the speed of their service; it will also improve product quality and dramatically increase productivity. However, as expected, all the benefits of Industry 4.0 face many of the inevitable changes and challenges they pose. One of them is the inevitable transformation of current competition and business models. This article examines the possible results of competitive conversion from the classic Bertrand and Cournot models to qualitatively new competition based on innovation. Ability to deliver a new product quickly and the possibility to produce the individual design (through flexible and quickly configurable factories) by reducing equipment failures and increasing process automation and control is highly important. This study shows that the ongoing transformation of the competition model is changing the game. This, together with the creation of complex value networks, means huge investments that make it particularly difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, the ongoing digitalization of data raises new concerns regarding legal obligations, intellectual property, and security.
Sustainability of construction projects is an important issue to be addressed since the sector will continue to be developed in the coming years, especially in developing countries. Thus, it is significant to discover approaches and solutions for improving sustainability. Currently, the construction industry is the largest consumer of natural resources. This is the same in other countries in the Gulf region, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has limited natural resources such as water, electricity, etc. Recently, the UAE has taken several actions in order to implement sustainable initiatives within its construction industry. Within the industry, the contractors’ role is significant in promoting sustainable development by taking the responsibility to minimize their negative impacts on the environment and society, and maximize their economic distribution. In this research, sustainability will be studied as an important key to bring competitive advantages to contracting organizations. The contractors should understand the need to improve their sustainable performance in order to expand their business competitiveness. Competitiveness at the construction project level refers to a contractor’s ability to compete for a project. There is less focus on how to improve contractors’ competitiveness by implementing sustainable construction practices. Based on an inclusive literature review on the relationship between sustainability performance and business competitiveness, this research will conduct a study of sustainable practice in the construction industry and the relationship between sustainability performance and business competitiveness in order to develop a framework for evaluating how contractors can improve their competitiveness in terms of more efficient processes, enhancements in productivity, and lower costs of compliance in order to reduce the initial project cost and obtain market opportunities in the UAE. The research findings will provide a framework that can be a useful guideline for contractors to develop their sustainability policy, strategy and practice for meeting the increased requirements for sustainable development in construction.
Research in predictive maintenance modeling has improved in the recent years to predict failures and needed maintenance with high accuracy, saving cost and improving manufacturing efficiency. However, classic prediction models provide little valuable insight towards the most important features contributing to the failure. By analyzing and quantifying feature importance in predictive maintenance models, cost saving can be optimized based on business goals. First, multiple classifiers are evaluated with cross-validation to predict the multi-class of failures. Second, predictive performance with features provided by different feature selection algorithms are further analyzed. Third, features selected by different algorithms are ranked and combined based on their predictive power. Finally, linear explainer SHAP (SHapley Additive exPlanations) is applied to interpret classifier behavior and provide further insight towards the specific roles of features in both local predictions and global model behavior. The results of the experiments suggest that certain features play dominant roles in predictive models while others have significantly less impact on the overall performance. Moreover, for multi-class prediction of machine failures, the most important features vary with type of machine failures. The results may lead to improved productivity and cost saving by prioritizing sensor deployment, data collection, and data processing of more important features over less importance features.
Gender is about equal rights that both males and females having access to responsibilities and opportunities in decision making is a fundamental human right. It is also a precondition for, and a mark of, sustainable people-oriented development. In Bangladesh, women have fewer opportunities than men do to access credit from banks and financial institutions. Entrenched patriarchal attitudes, unequal inheritance rights, and male-dominated hierarchies in the financial system, plus high interest rates and a lack of security/collateral, make it harder for women to obtain bank loans. Limited access to institutional credit is a serious restraint on the productivity and income of women entrepreneurs, (and the wider economy). These gender-biased and structural barriers inhibit women’s access to fundamental economic rights. Using a liberal feminist theoretical lens, this study provides some useful insights into the relationship between gender inequality and entrepreneurship, leading to a better understanding of women’s entrepreneurship development in Bangladesh. Recently, the Bangladesh Government, the United Nations Capital Development Fund, and Bangladesh Bank opened up the Women Entrepreneur Support Fund (WESF) ‒ Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) pilot project to cover collateral shortfalls for women entrepreneurs in the small and medium enterprise sector. The aim is to improve gender equality and advance women’s rights in relation to receiving credit. This article examines the challenges and prospects of the WESF-CGS, and suggests that implementation of measures in WESF-CGS policymaking, coupled with a combination of legislatory and regulatory reforms that implement the fundamental tenets of liberal feminism, can lead to a comprehensive and effective credit policy to boost women’s agency and economic empowerment. This may ultimately lead to more sustainable development in Bangladesh.
Depression, anxiety, and stress are associated with decreased role functioning, productivity, and quality of life. International students are more prone to psychological distress as they face many stressors while studying abroad. The objectives of the study were to determine the prevalence and associated factors of depression, anxiety, and stress among international students, their help-seeking behavior, and their awareness of the available on-campus mental support services. A cross-sectional study with a purposive sampling method was performed on 280 international students at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) between the age of 18 and 35 years. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) questionnaire was used anonymously to assess the mental health of students. Socio-demographic, help-seeking behavior, and awareness data were obtained. Independent sample t-test, one-way ANOVA test, and multiple linear regression were used to explore associated factors. The overall prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress among international students were 58.9%, 71.8%, and 53.9%, respectively. Age was significantly associated with depression and anxiety. Ethnicity showed a significant association with depression and stress. No other factors were found to be significantly associated with psychological distress. Only 9.6% of the international students had sought help from on-campus mental support services. Students who were aware of the presence of such services were only 21.4% of the participants. In conclusion, this study addressed the gap in the literature on the mental health of international students and provided data that could be used in intervention programs to improve the mental health of the increasing number of international students in Malaysia.
The evolution in mobile broadband technologies has allowed to increase the download rates in users considering the current services. The evaluation of technical parameters at the link level is of vital importance to validate the quality and veracity of the connection, thus avoiding large losses of data, time and productivity. Some of these failures may occur between the eNodeB (Evolved Node B) and the user equipment (UE), so the link between the end device and the base station can be observed. LTE (Long Term Evolution) is considered one of the IP-oriented mobile broadband technologies that work stably for data and VoIP (Voice Over IP) for those devices that have that feature. This research presents a technical analysis of the connection and channeling processes between UE and eNodeB with the TAC (Tracking Area Code) variables, and analysis of performance variables (Throughput, Signal to Interference and Noise Ratio (SINR)). Three measurement scenarios were proposed in the city of Bogotá using QualiPoc, where two operators were evaluated (Operator 1 and Operator 2). Once the data were obtained, an analysis of the variables was performed determining that the data obtained in transmission modes vary depending on the parameters BLER (Block Error Rate), performance and SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio). In the case of both operators, differences in transmission modes are detected and this is reflected in the quality of the signal. In addition, due to the fact that both operators work in different frequencies, it can be seen that Operator 1, despite having spectrum in Band 7 (2600 MHz), together with Operator 2, is reassigning to another frequency, a lower band, which is AWS (1700 MHz), but the difference in signal quality with respect to the establishment with data by the provider Operator 2 and the difference found in the transmission modes determined by the eNodeB in Operator 1 is remarkable.
Hydroponic greenhouses systems (production of the artificial substrate without soil) are becoming popular in the world. Mostly the system is used to grow vegetables and berries. Different countries are taking action to participate in the development of hydroponic technology and solutions such as EU members, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Scandinavian countries, etc. Many vegetables and berries are grown by hydroponics in Europe. As a result of our research, we have obtained material containing manganese and nitrogen. It became possible to produce this fertilizer by means of one-stage thermal processing, using industrial waste containing manganese (ores and sludges) and mineral substance (ammonium nitrate) that exist in Georgia. The received material is usable as a micro-fertilizer with economic efficiency. It became possible to turn practically water-insoluble manganese dioxide substance into the soluble condition from industrial waste in an indirect way. The ability to use the material as a fertilizer is predetermined by its chemical and phase composition, as the amount of the active component of the material in relation to manganese is 30%. At the same time, the active component elements presented non-ballast sustained action compounds. The studies implemented in Poland and in Georgia by us have shown that the manganese-containing micro-fertilizer- Mn(NO3)2 can provide the plant with nitrate nitrogen, which is a form that can be used for plants, providing the economy and simplicity of the application of fertilizers. Given the fact that the application of the manganese-containing micro-fertilizers significantly increases the productivity and improves the quality of the big number of agricultural products, it is necessary to mention that it is recommended to introduce the manganese containing fertilizers into the following cultures: sugar beet, corn, potato, vegetables, vine grape, fruit, berries, and other cultures. Also, as a result of the study, it was established that the material obtained is the predominant fertilizer for vegetable cultures in the soil. Based on the positive results of the research, we consider it expedient to conduct research in hydroponic systems, which will enable us to provide plants the required amount of manganese; we also introduce nitrogen in solution and regulate the solution of pH, which is one of the main problems in hydroponic production. The findings of our research will be used in hydroponic greenhouse farms to increase the fertility of vegetable crops and, consequently, to get bountiful and high-quality harvests, which will promote the development of hydroponic greenhouses in Georgia as well as abroad.
This study presents a small-scale water pumping system utilizing a fuzzy logic inference system attached to a renewable energy source. The fuzzy logic controller was designed and simulated in MATLAB fuzzy logic toolbox to examine the properties and characteristics of the input and output variables. The result of the simulation was implemented in a microcontroller, together with sensors, modules, and photovoltaic cells. The study used a grand rapid variety of lettuce, organic substrates, and foliar for observation of the capability of the device to irrigate crops. Two plant boxes intended for manual and automated irrigation were prepared with each box having 48 heads of lettuce. The observation of the system took 22-31 days, which is one harvest period of the crop. Results showed a 22.55% increase in agricultural productivity compared to manual irrigation. Aside from reducing human effort, and time, the smart irrigation system could help lessen some of the shortcomings of manual irrigations. It could facilitate the economical utilization of water, reducing consumption by 25%. The use of renewable energy could also help farmers reduce the cost of production by minimizing the use of diesel and gasoline.
Despite being one of the most significant economic contributors of the country, Canada’s construction industry is lagging behind other sectors when it comes to labor productivity improvements. The construction industry is very collaborative as a general contractor, will hire trade contractors to perform most of a project’s work; meaning low productivity from one contractor can have a domino effect on the shared success of a project. To address this issue and encourage trade contractors to improve their productivity tracking methods, an investigative study was done on the productivity views and tracking methods of various trade contractors. Additionally, an in-depth review was done on four standard tracking methods used in the construction industry: cost codes, benchmarking, the job productivity measurement (JPM) standard, and WorkFace Planning (WFP). The four tracking methods were used as a baseline in comparing the trade contractors’ responses, determining gaps within their current tracking methods, and for making improvement recommendations. 15 interviews were conducted with different trades to analyze how contractors value productivity. The results of these analyses indicated that there seem to be gaps within the construction industry when it comes to an understanding of the purpose and value in productivity tracking. The trade contractors also shared their current productivity tracking systems; which were then compared to the four standard tracking methods used in the construction industry. Gaps were identified in their various tracking methods and using a framework; recommendations were made based on the type of trade on how to improve how they track productivity.
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.
In the past, we could increase profit by increasing product prices. But in the new decade, a competitive market does not let us to increase profit with increase prices. Therefore, the only way to increase profit will be reduce costs. A significant percentage of production costs are the maintenance costs, and analysis of these costs could achieve more profit. Most maintenance strategies such as RCM (Reliability-Center-Maintenance), TPM (Total Productivity Maintenance), PM (Preventive Maintenance) etc., are trying to reduce maintenance costs. In this paper, decreasing the maintenance costs of Concentration Plant of Golgohar Company (GEG) was examined by using of MTBF (Mean Time between Failures) and MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) analyses. These analyses showed that instead of buying new machines and increasing costs in order to promote capacity, the improving of MTBF and MTTR indexes would solve capacity problems in the best way and decrease costs.
Evaluation of organizational performance is among the most important measures that help organizations and entities continuously improve their efficiency. Organizations can use the existing data and results from the comparison of units under investigation to obtain an estimation of their performance. The Malmquist Productivity Index (MPI) is an important index in the evaluation of overall productivity, which considers technological developments and technical efficiency at the same time. This article proposed a model based on the multistage MPI, considering limited data (Grey’s theory). This model can evaluate the performance of units using limited and uncertain data in a multistage process. It was applied by the electricity market manager to Iran’s electric power supply chain (EPSC), which contains uncertain data, to evaluate the performance of its actors. Results from solving the model showed an improvement in the accuracy of future performance of the units under investigation, using the Grey’s system theory. This model can be used in all case studies, in which MPI is used and there are limited or uncertain data.
Desalination using solar energy coupled with membrane techniques such as vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) is considered as an interesting alternative for the production of pure water. During this work, a developed model of a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) hollow fiber membrane module of a VMD unit of seawater was carried out. This simulation leads to establishing a comparison between the effects of two different equations of the vaporization latent heat on the membrane surface temperature and on the unit productivity. Besides, in order to study the effect of putting membrane modules in series on the outlet fluid temperature and on the productivity of the process, a simulation was executed.
Our research shows the use of the mobile phone that consolidates the relationship between veterinarians, and that between breeders and veterinarians. On the other hand it asserts that the tool in question is a means of economic development. The results of our survey reveal a positive return to the veterinary community, which shows that the mobile phone has become an effective means of sustainable development through the transfer of a rapid and punctual information inheritance via social networks; including many Internet applications. Our results show that almost all veterinarians use the mobile phone for interprofessional communication. We therefore believe that the use of the mobile phone by livestock operators has greatly improved the working conditions, just as the use of this tool contributes to a better management of the exploitation as long as it allows limit travel but also save time. These results show that we are witnessing a growth in the use of mobile telephony technologies that impact is as much in terms of sustainable development. Allowing access to information, especially technical information, the mobile phone, and Information and Communication of Technology (ICT) in general, give livestock sector players not only security, by limiting losses, but also an efficiency that allows them a better production and productivity.
Lactobionic acid is a disaccharide formed from gluconic acid and galactose, and produced by oxidation of lactose. Productivity of lactobionic acid by microbial synthesis can be affected by various factors, and one of them is a presence of potassium, magnesium and manganese ions. In order to extend lactobionic acid production efficiency, it is necessary to increase the yield of lactobionic acid by optimising the fermentation conditions and available substrates for Pseudomonas taetrolens growth. The object of the research was to determinate the application of K2HPO4, MnSO4, MgSO4 × 7H2O salts in different concentration for effective lactose oxidation to lactobionic acid by Pseudomonas taetrolens. Pseudomonas taetrolens NCIB 9396 (NCTC, England) and Pseudomonas taetrolens DSM 21104 (DSMZ, Germany) were used for the study. The acid whey was used as the study object. The content of lactose in whey samples was determined using MilcoScanTM Mars (Foss, Denmark) and high performance liquid chromatography (Shimadzu LC 20 Prominence, Japan). The content of lactobionic acid in whey samples was determined using the high performance liquid chromatography. The impact of studied salts differs, Mn2+ and Mg2+ ions enhanced fermentation instead of K+ ions. Results approved that Mn2+ and Mg2+ ions are necessary for Pseudomonas taetrolens growth. The study results will help to improve the effectiveness of lactobionic acid production with Pseudomonas taetrolens NCIB 9396 and DSM 21104.
In order to evaluate the growth and yield properties of two Sorghum-Sudangrass hybrids under different irrigation levels, an investigation was done in the experiment site of Collage of Agriculture, University of Duhok, Kurdistan region of Iraq (36°5´38⸗ N, 42°52´02⸗ E) in the years 2015-16. The experiment was conducted under Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications, which main factor was irrigation treatments (I100, I75 and I50) according to evaporation pan class A and type of Sorghum-Sudangrass hybrids (KH12SU9001, G1) and (KH12SU9002, G2) were factors of subplots. The parameters studied were: plant height (cm), number of green leaves per plant; leaf area (m2/m2), stem thickness (mm), percent of protein, fresh and dry biomass (ton.ha-1) and also crop water productivity. The results of variance analysis showed that KH12SU9001 variety had more amount of leaf area, percent of protein, fresh and dry biomass yield in comparison to KH12SU9002 variety. By comparing effects of irrigation levels on vegetative growth and yield properties, results showed that amount of plant height, fresh and dry biomass weight was decreased by decreasing irrigation level from full irrigation regime to 5 o% of irrigation level. Also, results of crop water productivity (CWP) indicated that improvement in quantity of irrigation would impact fresh and dry biomass yield significantly. Full irrigation regime was recorded the highest level of CWP (1.28-1.29 kg.m-3).
Yeast cells are generally used as a model system of eukaryotes due to their complex genetic structure, rapid growth ability in optimum conditions, easy replication and well-defined genetic system properties. Thus, yeast cells increased the knowledge of the principal pathways in humans. During fermentation, carbohydrates (hexoses and pentoses) degrade into some toxic by-products such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF or HMF) and furfural. HMF influences the ethanol yield, and ethanol productivity; it interferes with microbial growth and is considered as a potent inhibitor of bioethanol production. In this study, yeast single cell behavior under HMF application was monitored by using a continuous flow single phase microfluidic platform. Microfluidic device in operation is fabricated by hot embossing and thermo-compression techniques from cyclo-olefin polymer (COP). COP is biocompatible, transparent and rigid material and it is suitable for observing fluorescence of cells considering its low auto-fluorescence characteristic. The response of yeast cells was recorded through Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP) tagged Nop56 gene product, which is an essential evolutionary-conserved nucleolar protein, and also a member of the box C/D snoRNP complexes. With the application of HMF, yeast cell proliferation continued but HMF slowed down the cell growth, and after HMF treatment the cell proliferation stopped. By the addition of fresh nutrient medium, the yeast cells recovered after 6 hours of HMF exposure. Thus, HMF application suppresses normal functioning of cell cycle but it does not cause cells to die. The monitoring of Nop56 expression phases of the individual cells shed light on the protein and ribosome synthesis cycles along with their link to growth. Further computational study revealed that the mechanisms underlying the inhibitory or inductive effects of HMF on growth are enriched in functional categories of protein degradation, protein processing, DNA repair and multidrug resistance. The present microfluidic device can successfully be used for studying the effects of inhibitory agents on growth by single cell tracking, thus capturing cell to cell variations. By metabolic engineering techniques, engineered strains can be developed, and the metabolic network of the microorganism can thus be manipulated such that chemical overproduction of target metabolite is achieved along with the maximum growth/biomass yield.
Programming is one of the challenging subjects in the field of computing. In the higher education sphere, some programming novices’ performance, retention rate, and success rate are not improving. Most of the time, the problem is caused by the slow pace of learning, difficulty in grasping the syntax of the programming language and poor logical skills. More importantly, programming forms part of major subjects within the field of computing. As a result, specialized pedagogical methods and innovation are highly recommended. Little research has been done on the potential productivity of the WhatsApp platform as part of a blended learning model. In this article, the authors discuss the WhatsApp group as a part of blended learning model incorporated for a group of programming novices. We discuss possible administrative activities for productive utilisation of the WhatsApp group on the blended learning overview. The aim is to take advantage of the popularity of WhatsApp and the time students spend on it for their educational purpose. We believe that blended learning featuring a WhatsApp group may ease novices’ cognitive load and strengthen their foundational programming knowledge and skills. This is a work in progress as the proposed blended learning model with WhatsApp incorporated is yet to be implemented.
A field experiment was conducted at Ido town in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo state, Nigeria to determine the effects of intercropping maize (Zea mays L.) with Jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis L.) at different spacing and weeding regimes on crops productivity. The treatments were 2 x 2 x 3 factorial arrangement involving two spatial crop arrangements. Spacing of 75 cm x 50 cm and 90 cm x 42 cm (41.667 cm) with two plants per stand resulted in plant population of approximately 53,000 plants/hectare. Also, Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with two cropping patterns (sole and intercrop), three weeding regimes (weedy check, weeds once, and weed twice) with three replicates was used. Data were analyzed with SAS (Statistical Analysis System) and statistical means separated using Least Significant Difference (LSD) (P ≤ 0.05). Intercropping and crop spacing did not have significant influence on the growth parameters and yield parameters. The maize grain yield of 1.11 t/ha obtained under sole maize was comparable to 1.05 t/ha from maize/jack beans. Weeding regime significantly influenced growth and yields of maize in intercropping with Jack beans. Weeding twice resulted in significantly higher growth than that of the other weeding regimes. Plant height at 6 Weeks After Sowing (WAS) under weeding twice regime (3 and 6 WAS) was 83.9 cm which was significantly different from 67.75 cm and 53.47 cm for weeding once (3 WAS) and no weeding regimes respectively. Moreover, maize grain yield of 1.3 t/ha obtained from plots weeded twice was comparable to that of 1.23 t/ha from single weeding and both were significantly higher than 0.71 t/ha maize grain yield obtained from the no weeding control. The dry matter production of Jack beans reduced at some growth stages due to intercropping of maize with Jack beans though with no significance effect on the other growth parameters of the crop. There was no effect on the growth parameters of Jack beans in maize/jack beans intercrop based on cropping spacing while comparable growth and dry matter production in Jack beans were produced in maize/Jack beans mixture with single weeding.
Mega construction projects create buildings and major infrastructure to respond to work and life requirements while playing a vital role in promoting any nation’s economy. However, the industry is often criticised for not balancing economic, environmental and social dimensions of their projects, with emphasis typically on one aspect to the detriment of the others. This has resulted in many negative impacts including environmental pollution, waste throughout the project lifecycle, low productivity, and avoidable accidents. The identification of comprehensive Social Responsibility (SR) indicators, which combine social, environmental and economic aspects, is urgently needed. This is particularly the case in the context of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), which often has mega public construction projects. The aim of this paper is to develop a set of wide-ranging SR indicators which encompass social, economic and environmental aspects unique to the KSA. A qualitative approach was applied to explore relevant indicators through a review of the existing literature, international standards and reports. A list of appropriate indicators was developed, and its comprehensiveness was corroborated by interviews with experts on mega construction projects working with SR concepts in the KSA. The findings present 39 indicators and their metrics, covering 10 economic, 12 environmental and 17 social aspects of SR mapped against their references. These indicators are a valuable reference for decision-makers and academics in the KSA to understand factors related to SR in mega construction projects. The indicators are related to mega construction projects within the KSA and require validation in a real case scenario or within a different industry to demonstrate their generalisability.
Machine vision has been widely used in recent years in agriculture, as a tool to promote the automation of processes and increase the levels of productivity. The aim of this work is the development of a path recognition algorithm based on image processing to guide a terrestrial robot in-between tree rows. The proposed algorithm was developed using the software MATLAB, and it uses several image processing operations, such as threshold detection, morphological erosion, histogram equalization and the Hough transform, to find edge lines along tree rows on an image and to create a path to be followed by a mobile robot. To develop the algorithm, a set of images of different types of orchards was used, which made possible the construction of a method capable of identifying paths between trees of different heights and aspects. The algorithm was evaluated using several images with different characteristics of quality and the results showed that the proposed method can successfully detect a path in different types of environments.
Sandy soils under arid and semi-arid conditions are characterized by poor physical and biochemical properties such as low water retention, rapid organic matter decomposition, low nutrients use efficiency, and limited crop productivity. Addition of organic amendments is crucial to develop soil properties and consequently enhance nutrients use efficiency and lessen organic carbon decomposition. Two years field experiments were developed to investigate the feasibility of using poultry manure and its derived biochar integrated with different levels of N fertilizer as a soil amendment for newly reclaimed sandy soils in Western Desert of El-Minia Governorate, Egypt. Results of this research revealed that poultry manure and its derived biochar addition induced pronounced effects on soil moisture content at saturation point, field capacity (FC) and consequently available water. Data showed that application of poultry manure (PM) or PM-derived biochar (PMB) in combination with inorganic N levels had caused significant changes on a range of the investigated sandy soil biochemical properties including pH, EC, mineral N, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic N (DON) and quotient DOC/DON. Overall, the impact of PMB on soil physical properties was detected to be superior than the impact of PM, regardless the inorganic N levels. In addition, the obtained results showed that PM and PM application had the capacity to stimulate vigorous growth, nutritional status, production levels of wheat and sorghum, and to increase soil organic matter content and N uptake and recovery compared to control. By contrast, comparing between PM and PMB at different levels of inorganic N, the obtained results showed higher relative increases in both grain and straw yields of wheat in plots treated with PM than in those treated with PMB. The interesting feature of this research is that the biochar derived from PM increased treated sandy soil organic carbon (SOC) 1.75 times more than soil treated with PM itself at the end of cropping seasons albeit double-applied amount of PM. This was attributed to the higher carbon stability of biochar treated sandy soils increasing soil persistence for carbon decomposition in comparison with PM labile carbon. It could be concluded that organic manures applied to sandy soils under arid and semi-arid conditions are subjected to high decomposition and mineralization rates through crop seasons. Biochar derived from organic wastes considers as a source of stable carbon and could be very hopeful choice for substituting easily decomposable organic manures under arid conditions. Therefore, sustainable agriculture and productivity in newly reclaimed sandy soils desire one high rate addition of biochar derived from organic manures instead of frequent addition of such organic amendments.