Evans S.W.,University of Venda
Applied Geography | Year: 2017
Determining changes in land use/land cover (LULCC) can be used to assess and monitor habitat loss as one of the five global priority causes of biodiversity loss. In South Africa, two national land-cover (NLC) datasets have been developed from satellite imagery obtained in circa 1990 and 2013/2014. The Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (VBR), designated in 2009, is located in the north of the Limpopo Province in South Africa and has a surface area of 30,457 km2. The aim of biosphere reserves is to provide a landscape-scale framework for conservation and sustainable development of an area. The area within a biosphere reserve is prioritised by designating it into one of three zones 1) Core, 2) Buffer, and 3) Transitional Zones. Two national parks and six provincial reserves (PAs) are the current and form part of the proposed updated core areas (pCAs) of the VBR. Intensity analyses was used to assess LULCC in the VBR. The pCAs cover 39.7% of the surface area of the VBR. The PAs cover 39.7% and only 15.8% of the surface area of the pCAs and VBR respectively. Based on the NLC 2013/2014 a majority of the VBR, pCAs and PAs consisted of indigenous vegetation dominated by Woodland/Open bush, Grassland, and Thicket/Dense bush. The extent of transformed land in the VBR declined from 1990 to 2013 by 1697.7 km2. The total amount of change and mean annual change in the VBR was 53.1% and 2.31% respectively. The overexploitation of fuel wood by rural communities in rural areas of the VBR, was partly responsible for the targeted loss of Woodland/Open bush to Thicket/Dense bush and Grasslands. The unquantified presence of novel vegetation and alien invasive plants means that the NLC 1990 and 2013/2014 overestimates the quantity and distribution of the remaining indigenous vegetation in the VBR. In order to address this the distribution of alien and indigenous invasive plant species in the VBR needs to be determined and used to update future NLCs. Assuming a worse-case-scenario of all the coal deposits in the VBR, including the Kruger National Park, being mined it would amount to 24.7% of the surface area of the VBR. Only 6.8% of the area of all the coal deposits in the VBR was transformed with 93.2% currently remaining untransformed. It is recommended that transformation of indigenous vegetation to one of the seven transformed land cover categories and more specifically from coal mining should be restricted to the VBR's Transition Zones. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd
News Article | November 1, 2016
Author Khoza Mduduzi has long noticed the economic plight of the African people, wherein they are forced to scrape by on meager earnings while their own country is being ransacked by foreign powers. In “The West Stole Africa's Wealth” (published by Xlibris) the author opens readers' eyes to the truth on how western countries have been monopolizing South African resources for years. “The West Stole Africa's Wealth” is a truly informative read that shows the dark side of western interference with South African affairs. It documents and proves once and for all the avarice and cruelty of the west towards the African people and the African continent. It also shows how the western powers were able to hold on to their ill-gotten gains and positions by sowing discord in the African countries, thus preventing them from being a united force. The information contained in this highly immersive read was predominantly gathered from African countries such as Zimbabwe, countries that have had a history of being used by foreign powers. It also shows the long history of slave trade conducted within the African continent. The author’s main aim is to open the reader’s eyes to the many injustices suffered by the African people under western hands and to show the African people their potential for political and economic growth. About the Author Khoza Mduduzi holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Venda for Science and Technology and Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is an educator by profession and registered with the South African Council of Educators (SACE). He visited Zimbabwe prior the July 31, 2013 national elections and again visited Zimbabwe post the July 31, 2013 elections. He is a critical rationalist who has a keen interest in African politics and African affairs. This is his first book on the number of books that are still yet to be published. Xlibris Publishing, an Author Solutions, LLC imprint, is a self-publishing services provider created in 1997 by authors, for authors. By focusing on the needs of creative writers and artists and adopting the latest print-on-demand publishing technology and strategies, we provide expert publishing services with direct and personal access to quality publication in hardcover, trade paperback, custom leather-bound and full-color formats. To date, Xlibris has helped to publish more than 60,000 titles. For more information, visit xlibris.com or call 1-888-795-4274 to receive a free publishing guide. Follow us @XlibrisPub on Twitter for the latest news.
Ndogmo J.C.,University of Venda
Mathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences | Year: 2017
The equivalence group is determined for systems of linear ordinary differential equations in both the standard form and the normal form. It is then shown that the normal form of linear systems reducible by an invertible point transformation to the canonical form y(n)=0 consists of copies of the same iterative scalar equation. It is also shown that contrary to the scalar case, an iterative vector equation need not be reducible to the canonical form by an invertible point transformation. Other properties of iterative linear systems are also derived, as well as a simple algebraic formula for their general solution. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Mammino L.,University of Venda
Molecules | Year: 2017
Arzanol is a naturally-occurring prenylated acylphloroglucinol isolated from Helichrysum italicum and exhibiting anti-oxidant, antibiotic and antiviral activities. The molecule contains an α-pyrone moiety attached to the phloroglucinol moiety through a methylene bridge. The presence of several hydrogen bond donor or acceptor sites makes intramolecular hydrogen bonding patterns the dominant stabilising factor. Conformers with all the possible different hydrogen bonding patterns were calculated at the HF/6-31G(d,p) and DFT/B3LYP/6-31+G(d,p) levels with fully relaxed geometry in vacuo and in three solvents - chloroform, acetonitrile and water (these levels being chosen to enable comparisons with previous studies on acylphloroglucinols). Calculations in solution were performed with the Polarisable Continuum Model. The results show that the lowest energy conformers have the highest number of stronger intramolecular hydrogen bonds. The influence of intramolecular hydrogen bonding patterns on the other molecular properties is also analysed.
Ndogmo J.C.,University of Venda
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2017
Although every iterative scalar linear ordinary differential equation is of maximal symmetry algebra, the situation is different and far more complex for systems of linear ordinary differential equations, and an iterative system of linear equations need not be of maximal symmetry algebra. We illustrate these facts by examples and derive families of vector differential operators whose iterations are all linear systems of equations of maximal symmetry algebra. Some consequences of these results are also discussed. © 2017 Author(s).
Mammino L.,University of Venda
Molecular Physics | Year: 2017
Molecular structures containing bowl-shaped cavities are interesting for purposes such as hosting metal ions or a variety of molecules, including drug molecules. This study considers bowl-shaped structures formed from phloroglucinol (1,3,5-trihydroxybenzene) or acylphloroglucinols (its derivatives containing a COR group) and containing 3 or 4 identical monomeric units. The monomeric units are linked in the same way as in naturally occurring trimeric and tetrameric acylphloroglucinols, i.e. by a methylene bridge and two intermonomer hydrogen bonds. The representativeness of the structures considered is pursued by selecting different R chains. Two conformers were identified for each structure, differing by the orientation of the OH in para to the COR group. Calculations were performed at the HF/6-31G(d,p) and DFT/B3LYP/6-31+G(d,p) levels with fully relaxed geometry, and were complemented by single point MP2/HF/6-31G(d,p) calculations. Corresponding open structures were also calculated for comparison sake. The results indicate the presence of steric stress in trimeric bowl-shaped structures, whereas the geometry of tetrameric bowl-shaped structures is close to one of the local-minima geometries of corresponding open structures and appears free of steric stress. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
News Article | January 7, 2016
The famous Ötzi, a man murdered about 5,300 years ago in the Italian Alps, had what's now considered the world's oldest known case of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can cause ulcers and gastric cancer, a new study finds. It's unclear whether the ancient iceman did, in fact, have ulcers or gastric cancer because his stomach tissue didn't survive. Today, about half of the world's human population has H. pylori in their gut, but only one in 10 people develop a condition from the bacteria, the researchers said. However, an analysis of tissues from Ötzi's gastrointestinal tract shows that his immune system had reacted to the potentially virulent strain, suggesting he might have felt ill from H. pylori symptoms on the day he died. [Mummy Melodrama: Top 9 Secrets About Otzi the Iceman] "We showed the presence of marker proteins which we see today in patients infected with Helicobacter," study lead author Frank Maixner, a microbiologist at the European Academy in Bozen/Bolzano in Italy, said in a statement. The researchers also analyzed the specific H. pylori strain that Ötzi carried. They found that, although it was unique, it was strikingly similar to a strain seen in ancient Asia but not to those in northern Africa as the researchers had suspected. Hikers discovered Ötzi's mummified body in a glacier in 1991, and his remains now reside at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. Studies on the Copper Age man suggest that Ötzi likely lived with aches and pains — during his lifetime, he had bad teeth and knees; a genetic predisposition to heart disease; lactose intolerance; arthritis; a possible case of Lyme disease; and wounds indicating that he suffered from an arrow injury and a blow to the head before he died at somewhere between 40 and 50 years old. Despite these maladies, Ötzi probably would have lived for another 10 to 20 years if he hadn't been murdered, study co-author Albert Zink, the head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy, said during a news conference yesterday (Jan. 6). The researchers were curious about whether Ötzi carried the ancient form of H. pylori, which research suggests has existed in humans for at least 100,000 years. But the new study was no easy undertaking. The scientists defrosted the heavily tattooed mummy and used an incision made by an earlier inspection of Ötzi to take tissue samples. The team extracted 12 biopsy samples from the stomach and intestine, and analyzed the genetic material from each. "We had to separate the Helicobacter pylori sequences from the other genetic material," which included the DNA from the iceman himself, food he had eaten, soil bacteria that invaded the body, and other material, study co-senior author Thomas Rattei, the head of the Division of Computational Systems Biology at the University of Vienna in Austria, said at the news conference. "This was like searching [for] a needle in the haystack." But they did find it. Moreover, Ötzi's H. pylori strain was heavily fragmented because of degradation, providing more evidence that it wasn't the result of modern contamination but rather the actual ancient strain that had infected him during the Copper Age, Rattei said. [Album: A New Face for Ötzi the Iceman Mummy] After sequencing the ancient H. pylori strain, the researchers compared it to other known strains of the pathogen. Interestingly, scientists can use H. pylori as a tool to study human migration. The human genome typically mutates slowly over time, but H. pylori mutates quickly. It changes so fast, in fact, that it's usually unique to each geographic population. What's more, if one group of people encounters another — by migrating to a new area, for instance — their H. pylori strains can mix, leaving genetic clues about the mixed strain's background. Furthermore, these H. pylori strains infect only humans, so it can't be carried by other animals, the researchers said. "That is why we studied Helicobacter pylori and why it's so important for illustrating all of these wonderful prehistoric human migrations," said co-senior author Yoshan Moodley, a professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Venda in South Africa.
Bhat R.B.,University of Venda
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge | Year: 2014
An ethnobotanical survey was carried out in the former Transkei homeland to document the unwritten knowledge related to traditional uses of medicinal plants. The indigenous people of Transkei, Eastern Cape, South Africa depend on the natural plant resources from their environment for medicine, food, pastoral, cultural and religious needs. This area, mainly inhabited by the Xhosa people, has remained ethnobotanically unexplored until recently. The present investigation among the herbalist, traditional doctors, herb traders, tribal priests and other knowledgeable local people documented medicinal and other uses of 35 species of traditional medicinal plants belonging to 34 genera and 26 families. The study recorded the local, scientific and family names of the medicinal plants. The plant parts used and method of administration are also presented in this paper. This firsthand information points out the importance of local flora to tribal groups and non-tribal people of Transkei. In spite of western influence, the Xhosa people of Transkei still believe in the efficacy of herbal medicine, and prefer to use these traditional remedies. Further, scientific study will be required for validation of these ethnomedicines.
Sibiya J.E.,University of Venda
International journal of environmental research and public health | Year: 2013
This study assessed the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of learners on issues related to water, sanitation and hygiene in selected schools in Vhembe District, South Africa. The methodology relied on a questionnaire, an inspection of sanitary facilities and discussion with the school authorities. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science. The study revealed that the level of knowledge about waterborne diseases was relatively high (76.7 ± 1.75%), but knowledge on transmission routes was inadequate. The majority of the respondents had no knowledge when it comes to water-based diseases and their prevention (78.4 ± 1.71%).The attitude and practice on hygiene was also found to be high (91.40 ± 1.16%). Some schools from the urban area had proper handwashing facilities, but there was no soap available. The borehole water quality for rural schools appeared clear, but the microbial quality was unknown. The water supply and sanitation facilities were inadequate in rural schools, with no handwashing areas and no sanitary bins for girls. Some schools had toilets with broken doors which did not offer privacy. The only water tap, located at the centre of the school premises, was not enough for the whole school community.
News Article | January 8, 2016
Researchers have detected a familiar pathogen in 5,300-year-old ice mummy Ötzi, raising speculations that the iceman had suffered from a stomach bug when he had been murdered. How does this hint at waves of human migration that are previously unknown? A paper published in the journal Science on Jan. 7 found that Ötzi was infected with Helicobacter pylori, which also currently affects humans. H. pylori bacteria are carried by about half of all modern humans and causes ulcers and stomach cancer in a small population. The iceman’s corpse was uncovered in 1991 by backpackers in Italy’s Tyrolean Alps, sheathed in ice at an altitude exceeding 3,000 meters. He is believed to have died from an arrow shot in the back, but studies also revealed that he suffered from cavities, hardened arteries and a range of other health issues. Back in 2010, researchers examining Ötzi's CT scan noticed that his stomach had been preserved, revealing that his last meal included ibex and wild grains. A team of researchers led by biomolecular archaeologist Albert Zink in Bolzano, Italy, further decided to probe the iceman's stomach and gut. In what was left of his digestive tract, the team found DNA from H. pylori, whose pattern of age-induced damage showed that the bacteria colonized the living Ötzi rather than his corpse. Too bad for Ötzi, the strain he carried was not the normally harmless one, but a type of H. pylori linked to abdominal inflammation and stomach disorders found in modern humans. Zink and his team used purification techniques to obtain genetic material from the iceman's stomach and discovered that it matched 92 percent of the modern bacterium's genome containing 1.6 million letters. The H. pylori bacterium in the iceman's stomach was found to have cellular toxin-producing genes which enable the modern bacterium to cause ulcers. The finding also showed that the iceman's stomach contains protein fragments similar to those seen in inflamed stomach tissues of infected people. Yoshan Moodley, study co-author and geneticist at the University of Venda in South Africa, said this bacterium was likely the original strain that resided in the stomach of the first Europeans. "This ancient HP strain has allowed us what is perhaps a unique opportunity to discover what populations of Helicobacter pylori existed in Europe during this copper age," he explained. Previous research has confirmed, for instance, that he was of European descent, with his closest kin now living in Sardinia and Corsica. He had brown hair and brown eyes, and the copper in his hair suggests that he might have worked in a metal or weapons production involving the use of copper. More importantly, the latest find may have solved a crucial question about the evolutionary movement of the H. pylori strain. Based on DNA amplification and targeted genome capture, scientists identified Ötzi's H. pylori infection as a certain Asian strain, which has only been detected three times in modern Europeans. This finding is the first proof that the strain had already inhabited Central Europe during the Copper Age, or from the fifth and third millennia BC. As the infection is more closely associated with Asian strains than with Asian-African hybrid strains existing today, the results suggested that Asian and African strains had yet to mix during the iceman’s lifespan. “We can say now that the waves of migration bringing African H. pylori into Europe had not occurred in earnest by the time the Iceman was around,” said Moodley, adding that the bacterium DNA in the wonderfully preserved specimen may not be extracted again elsewhere. The discovery is only a single sample detected in Ötzi, but it may be a piece of the complicated puzzle of research on other mummies worldwide. This does not involve ancient Egyptian mummies, though, as their stomachs are removed during mummification.