Articles 2015

Articles 2015

Effects of tannin-rich host plants on the infection and establishment of the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora

Itamar Glaze, Liora Salame, Levana Dvash, Hussein Muklada, Hassan Azaizeh, Raghda Mreny, Alex Markovics, Serge Yan Landau.

Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, Volume 128, June 2015, Pages 31-36



Parasitized animals can self-medicate. As ingested plant phenolics, mainly tannins, reduce strongyle nematode infections in mammalian herbivores. We investigated the effect of plant extracts known to be anthelmintic in vertebrate herbivores on the recovery of the parasitic entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora infecting African cotton leafworm (Spodoptera littoralis). Nematode infective juveniles (IJs) were exposed to 0, 300, 900, 1200, 2400 ppm of Pistacia lentiscus L. (lentisk), Inula viscosa L. (strong-smelling inula), Quercus calliprinos Decne. (common oak) and Ceratonia siliqua L. (carob) extracts on growth medium (in vitro assay). In control treatments, 50–80% of IJs resumed development to J4, young and developed adult hermaphrodites, whereas all extracts, except for Csiliqua at 300 ppm, impaired IJ exsheathment and development. The highest concentration of Iviscosa extract (2400 ppm) had the strongest effect, killing 95% of exposed nematodes. Surviving nematodes did not recover, remaining at the IJ stage. Over the whole cycle, Iviscosa extract inhibited recovery to 25% or less, and did not allow full development to adulthood, whereas 65% of IJs in the control treatment recovered and resumed development, 12% reaching complete maturation within 72 h of incubation. When herbivorous Slittoralis larvae were fed with different plant extracts in vivoIviscosa had the strongest effect at concentrations above 300 ppm, with 90% of insect-invading IJs not developing to parasitic stages, whereas in the control treatment, 85% of IJs resumed development. Exposure to Csiliqua extract also inhibited exsheathment and development of 75% of the IJs. Half of those that resumed development reached full maturation. Plentiscusand Qcalliprinos extracts also inhibited development of 50% IJs. Our results suggest that Hbacteriophora can be used to study herbal medication against parasites in animals.

Journal of Invertebrate Pathology Volume 128, June 2015, Pages 31-36


Treatment of winery wastewater with aerated cells mobile system 


M.I.Litaor, N.Meir-Dinar, B.Castro, H.Azaizeh, G.Rytwo, N.Levi, M.Levi, U.Mar Chaim.

Environmental Nanotechnology, Monitoring & Management, Volume 4, November 2015, Pages 17-26


Winery wastewater poses a serious environmental problem, especially for small wineries whose yearly wastewater production and/or financial resources may not be sufficient to warrant advanced treatment plants. We constructed an integrated mobile system comprised of a coago-flocculation module using nanocomposites to reduce TSS, and two series of aerated cells to reduce COD, N, polyphenols, and P concentrations so effluents could be discharged into a municipal wastewater treatment plant or under special conditions, recycled for irrigation. Each series consists of four portable containers (1.5 m3) filled with volcanic tuff of a decreasing progressive particle-size structure and equipped with a forced-air apparatus to keep a minimum soluble oxygen level of 1.5 mg L−1. The key feature of the aerated cells is constant air transfer through the substrate which greatly increases treatment capacity. The entire system was mounted on two flat lorry beds equipped with a special hook for easy transportation. We tested the system during two consecutive vintage seasons in 2013 and 2014. The nanocomposite module reduced the TSS by more than 95% while the aerated cells decreased the COD concentration to less than 700 mg L−1 at the discharge point (90–95% removal efficiency), which meets the stringent requirement for release to a municipal wastewater treatment plant. TP concentrations were reduced from a mean of 42 mg L−1 in the first cells to 2.2 mg L−1 in the outlet of the system with an overall reduction efficiency of 95%. The maximum COD loading rate was 8.66 kg m3 d−1, a remarkably high rate considering the minimal operating area. The aerated cells are susceptible to clogging, but we solved this problem with a ‘hoist-sack solution’ and/or treatment with a H2O2 solution that can be implemented easily without majorly impeding normal operation.


The potential of autochthonous microbial culture encapsulation in a confined environment for phenol biodegradation 

Hassan Azaizeh, Eyal Kurzbaum, Ons Said, Husain Jaradat, Ofir Menashe.

Environmental Science and Pollution Research, October 2015, Volume 22, Issue 19, pp 15179–15187



Olive mill wastewater (OMWW) is claimed to be one of the most polluting effluents produced by agro-food industries, providing high contaminants load that encase cytotoxic agents such as phenolic and polyphenolic compounds. Therefore, a significant and continuous stress episode is induced once the mixed liquor of the wastewater treatment plants (WWTP’s) is being exposed to OMWW. The use of bio-augmentation treatment procedures can be useful to eliminate or reduce such stress episodes. In this study, we have estimated the use of autochthonous biomass implementation within small bioreactor platform (SBP) particles as a bio-augmentation method to challenge against WWTPs stress episodes. Our results showed that SBP particles significantly reduced the presence of various phenolics: tannic, gallic and caffeic acid in a synthetic medium and in crude OMWW matrix. Moreover, the SBP particles succeeded to biodegrade a very high concentration of phenol blend (3000 mg L−1). Our findings indicated that the presence of the SBP microfiltration membrane has reduced the phenol biodegradation rate by 50 % compared to the same suspended culture. Despite the observed reduction in biodegradation rate, encapsulation in a confined environment can offer significant values such as overcoming the grazing forcers and dilution, thus achieving a long-term sufficient biomass. The potential for reducing stress episodes caused by cytotoxic agents through bio-augmentation treatment procedure using the SBP technology is discussed.

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

October 2015, Volume 22, Issue 19, pp 15179–15187


Subcritical hydrothermal pretreatment of olive mill solid waste for biofuel production 

Hiba Abu Tayeh, OdeliaLevy-Shalev, HassanAzaizeh, Carlos G.Dosoretz.


Bioresource Technology, Volume 199, January 2016, Pages 164-172


The hydrothermal pretreatment of olive mill solid waste amended with 0.6 M organic acids was studied at temperatures between 100 and 170 °C. Acetic and formic acids which are endogenous intermediates of hemiacetyl splitting at subcritical conditions were tested. Formic acid, with smaller molecular size and lower pKa, was found to be more effective than acetic in the entire range of temperatures tested. Yield of enzymatic hydrolysis was significantly enhanced (>2 folds) at temperatures above 140 °C. Concentration of aldehyde byproducts in the medium increased with temperature and pressure and addition of organic acids, however, the highest concentration detected (ca 1 g/L) did not surpass values reported as inhibitory of sugars fermentation to ethanol by either yeast or bacteria. Aldehyde production was more affected by temperature than by acid addition. Concluding, addition of formic acid to hydrothermal pretreatment at relatively mild temperatures (140–170 °C) and pressure (10–13 atm) improved saccharification yield while saving energy.

Bioresource Technology

Volume 199, January 2016, Pages 164-172

Seasonal variation in the effects of Mediterranean plant extracts on the exsheathment kinetics of goat gastrointestinal nematode larvae 

Azaizeha H., Mreny R., Markovics A., Muklada H., Glazer I., Landau S.Y.


Small Ruminant Research 88: 77–83.



The use of chemical drugs for the control of Gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs)

causes raid development of resistance to anthelmintics in worm populations. The possible
use of bioactive ingredients from plants has been identified as a valuable solution to
modulate the biology of parasitic nematodes and consequently to counteract the negative
effects in the hosts. However, the concentration of these bio-actives in anthelmintic plants
can be seasonal and we hypothesized that this may cause different anthelmintic bio-activity.

Enriching composite hydrophilic polyurethane foams with PAC to enhance adsorption of phenol from aqueous solutions 

Nedal Massalha, Asher Brenner, Chaim Sheindorf, Yuri Haimov, Isam Sabbah.


Chemical Engineering Journal, Volume 280, 15 November 2015, Pages 283-292


This paper summarizes physical and mechanical properties of composite hydrophilic polyurethane (HPU) foams, which were enriched with various additives, including dry biomass; clay; and powdered activated carbon (PAC). The composite foams were proposed to be used as biomass immobilization matrices in bioreactors, for physical and biological purification of contaminants. Foam morphology were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy. The PAC-enrichment capacities of the foams were measured, and the maximal capacity was found to be of the control foam: 27 mg PAC/cm3. Adsorption of phenol by enriched and non-enriched foams was investigated in batch experiments and adsorption results could be well described by a Langmuir model. The phenol adsorption capacity of the non-enriched foams was very low (2.8–5.4 mg/g foam). However, this capacity was improved by 5.8–7.3 folds following the enrichment process. An additional finding was that upon enrichment of the foams by immersing in PAC aqueous solution, the maximal adsorption capacity of the adhered PAC on the foam was about 65% lower in average compared to free PAC, while when PAC is embedded in the foam during the polymerization process, it loses almost its entire adsorption capacity. The proposed PAC enrichment process is unique, effective and friendly for immobilized biomass.


Application of immobilized and granular dried anaerobic biomass for stabilizing and increasing anaerobic bio-systems tolerance for high organic loads and phenol shocks.

Massalha NBrenner ASheindorf CSabbah I.


Bioresour Technol. 2015 Dec;197:106-12. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2015.08.060. Epub 2015 Aug .


This study focuses on the stability and tolerance of continuous-flow bioreactors inoculated with anaerobic methanogens in three different configurations: (R1) dried granular biomass immobilized in PAC-enriched hydrophilic polyurethane foam, (R2) dried granular biomass, and (R3) wet granular biomass. These systems were tested under two different organic loading rates (OLR) of 6.25 and 10.94 (gCOD/(Lreactor∗d)), using a glucose-based synthetic mixture. The effect of an instantaneous shock load of phenol (5g/L for three days), and of phenol inclusion in the feed (0.5g/L) were also tested. At the lower OLR, all reactors performed similarly, however, increasing the OLR lead to a significant biomass washout and failure of R3. Biomass in R1 was more tolerant to phenol shock load than R2, though activity was recovered in both systems after about one month. PAC provided protection and shortened the adaptation time for 0.5g/L phenol that continuously was fed.


Sequence Motif-Based One-Class Classifiers Can Achieve Comparable Accuracy to Two-Class Learners for Plant microRNA Detection 

Malik Yousef, Jens Allmer, Waleed Khalifa.

Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, Vol.08 No.10(2015), Article ID:60283,10 pages

DOI: 10.4236/jbise.2015.810065


microRNAs (miRNAs) are short nucleotide sequences expressed by a genome that are involved in post transcriptional modulation of gene expression. Since miRNAs need to be co-expressed with their target mRNA to observe an effect and since miRNAs and target interactions can be cooperative, it is currently not possible to develop a comprehensive experimental atlas of miRNAs and their targets. To overcome this limitation, machine learning has been applied to miRNA detection. In general binary learning (two-class) approaches are applied to miRNA discovery. These learners consider both positive (miRNA) and negative (non-miRNA) examples during the training process. One-class classifiers, on the other hand, use only the information for the target class (miRNA). The one-class approach in machine learning is gradually receiving more attention particularly for solving problems where the negative class is not well defined. This is especially true for miRNAs where the positive class can be experimentally confirmed relatively easy, but where it is not currently possible to call any part of a genome a non-miRNA. To do that, it should be co-expressed with all other possible transcripts of the genome, which currently is a futile endeavor. For machine learning, miRNAs need to be transformed into a feature vector and some currently used features like minimum free energy vary widely in the case of plant miRNAs. In this study it was our aim to analyze different methods applying one-class approaches and the effectiveness of motif-based features for prediction of plant miRNA genes. We show that the application of these one-class classifiers is promising and useful for this kind of problem which relies only on sequence- based features such as k-mers and motifs comparing to the results from two-class classification. In some cases the results of one-class are, to our surprise, more accurate than results from two-class classifiers.


Novel and cost-effective domestic wastewater treatment process: upgrading of wastewater treatment plants using innovative immobilized anaerobic bacteria.

Sabbah I., Massalha N., Aharoni A., Shmolovisch S., and Bleich S.,